Album Review: India.Arie - Testimony: Vol. 2 Love & Politics

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 12:21 PM

Artist: India.Arie
Album: Testimony Vol.2: Love and Politics
Release Date: 2.10.09

Soul singer India Arie is back with her 4th studio album Testimony Vol.2: Love and Politics. So here’s the deal: there are messages in this album that everyone needs to hear, but not everyone will understand. India Arie is best known for albums with content that reaches far beyond the superficial themes of today’s mainstream music. With this new project, she delves into two topics that probably shouldn’t mix, but have effects that change the world: love and politics.

At such a historic yet tumultuous time, India Arie tackles issues of politics, but beyond the limited scope of US – she dives into world political issues as well. On The Cure, she teams up with Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu, to highlight what she feels is a major source of the world’s devastation – the absence of love and the abundance of hate. Better Way has more of the “wake-up-call” feel to it, while Ghetto (one of my personal favorites) discusses the issues regarding the stereotypes of the word, its connotations and highlights the fact that the same characteristic features of a “ghetto” appear in countries all over the world - and vice versa.

Highlights on the album begin with the opening track, the acoustic guitar-driven Therapy which is also the follow-up single to Chocolate High, the mellower of the two. He Heals Me sounds like a sequel to one of Arie’s earlier hits, Ready for Love, bringing the story full circle. I’d also recommend Yellow, a dialogue about love in a metaphoric parade of colors and my top choice, The Long Goodbye. I love that track for its use of poetry and symbolism, topped off with India’s soaring vocals, the track is just all around excellent. Try as I might, I couldn’t really get into Psalms 23 with hip-hop’s elite lady Mc Lyte. While I enjoyed the message, something just didn’t quite fit with the song for me. The same case applies to Pearls; while I get the concept, the song as a whole just didn’t quite work well for me.

Overall, this is a commendable project especially for its content, but isn’t India’s best work. She tries a few new things here and it’s mostly okay, but musically it isn’t as great as some of her previous albums. Still, there’s a lot to be said for an artist whose focus is greater than herself, her wealth, and her sexuality. Such is (and has always been) the case with India Arie, which is why her music, despite its few shortcomings here, will always speak to the soul.

Sound-Savvy officially rates Testimony Vol. 2: Love and Politics with 3 out of 5 platinum headphones.

1 Comment

  1. Carrie Said,

    Posted on March 12, 2009 at 2:17 PM


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