16 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Despite the rather serious title, GRAMMY-winning India.Arie's follow-up to Testimony Vol.1 is just as soothing, with beachfront beats, gently plucked acoustic guitars, sympathetic strings, and weightless pianos alluding to a sweeter life than the one she often observes. Even a track such as "Ghetto," versed in life's travesties, still manages to keep its chin up with a benevolent groove that proves this young R&B star always puts the music first. A variety of guests add their own touches  — reggae artist Gramps Morgan on "Therapy," soul artist Musiq Soulchild on "Chocolate High," rapper MC Lyte on "Psalms 23" and African singer Dobet Gnahore on a cover of Sade's "Pearls" — but Arie is perfectly capable of handling things on her own. "He Heals Me" opens with a simple piano figure that leaves her plenty of room to weave an intricate melody. Still, Arie obviously enjoys the collaborative moments. Bluesman Keb' Mo' guests on the electric stomper "Better Way" and R&B stylist Terrell Carter adds his shadings to the more reflective "Yellow." They bring a sense of community and humility to her music that makes it quite inventive and endearing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Despite the rather serious title, GRAMMY-winning India.Arie's follow-up to Testimony Vol.1 is just as soothing, with beachfront beats, gently plucked acoustic guitars, sympathetic strings, and weightless pianos alluding to a sweeter life than the one she often observes. Even a track such as "Ghetto," versed in life's travesties, still manages to keep its chin up with a benevolent groove that proves this young R&B star always puts the music first. A variety of guests add their own touches  — reggae artist Gramps Morgan on "Therapy," soul artist Musiq Soulchild on "Chocolate High," rapper MC Lyte on "Psalms 23" and African singer Dobet Gnahore on a cover of Sade's "Pearls" — but Arie is perfectly capable of handling things on her own. "He Heals Me" opens with a simple piano figure that leaves her plenty of room to weave an intricate melody. Still, Arie obviously enjoys the collaborative moments. Bluesman Keb' Mo' guests on the electric stomper "Better Way" and R&B stylist Terrell Carter adds his shadings to the more reflective "Yellow." They bring a sense of community and humility to her music that makes it quite inventive and endearing.

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