India.Arie
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life and Relationship


4.5
superb

Review

by Mr. Lean Mug USER (112 Reviews)
June 28th, 2006 | 24 replies | 6,800 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Personally, I find it to be rather irksome when artists go on “soul searching" missions, and then use said mission as an excuse for making music. Usually inane, emotionless, and altogether rather silly music. It’s just very annoying, is all. It happens a lot, too, unfortunately. Modern music is full of artists that try too hard to be “deep" or “sensitive," and usually just wind up creating an album full of substandard, clichéd, and ultimately boring material. Good thing absolutely none of that applies to Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, the third album of multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter India.Arie.

Rather than going in for the whole “woe is me" approach with her latest release, Arie instead chose to explore some of the more upsetting sides of human emotion - particularly the end of relationships, closure, and eventual forgiveness - crafting these thoughts together into an extremely polished package. One thing that you can say for sure about Testimony is that Arie put a lot of work into it. She had a little help, though. Akon joins her on the album’s first single, a pseudo-pop tune by the name of “I Am Not My Hair." Arie finds side-by-side with the likes of Rascal Flatts and Victor Wooten on string-slinging joy of “Summer." Rachelle Ferrell, Keb' Mo', Mark Batson, and Bonnie Raitt also make cameo roles throughout Testimony Surrounded by this much talent, how could Arie possibly fail? Well, not only does she not, she also proves quite handily that she isn’t in need of much - if any - assistance to make fine music.

For what it’s worth, Arie is quite the capable musician. She finds herself playing an acoustic guitar for much of Testimony, but also tickles the ivories every once in a while (which makes for a real treat). All of this is helped, of course, by Arie’s beautiful voice. The lady has a powerful set of pipes, to be sure. Arie’s crystal clear vocal-work is the defining factor of Testimony, and it makes her stick out like a sore thumb (try to apply the term “sore thumb" in a good way). Arie certainly makes for a package deal by being a talented lyricist, as well. From the longing desires of “Better Man," to the central-theme reminiscent “These Eyes" or “The Heart of the Matter," to the jazz-influenced “I Choose," Arie lets fly wonderfully-constructed wordplay, covering a wide range of topics. Everything from her own life experiences, to current world issues, and even anecdotal and metaphorical examples in how nice assonance and alliteration can be when applies to musical terms, fuel Arie’s creative fires. Arie is the type of musician that likes to keep everything personal, yet isn’t afraid to let her feelings overflow into her songwriting. This fact is blatantly obvious on Testimony, and is actually quite refreshing. This record can take a lot out of you in a listen, and for what it is, that’s a good thing.

Testimony’s division into several section by way of an introduction (“Loving“), two interludes (“Living" and “Great Grandmother" respectively), and an outro (“Learning"), add a sense of scope and depth to the album. It also allows Testimony to go through its paces, and subtly change itself over time, while maintaining the general mood of the album on the whole. You see, one of Arie’s greatest strengths is her ability to appeal to fans of genres ranging from hip-hop and neo-soul/R&B, to folk, and the blues. The wide range of sounds and songwriting styles that Arie employs on Testimony should appeal to just about anyone whose listening falls into those categories, and beyond. The only minor drawback to Testimony is it can be a little too boring at times. The album, on the whole, does quite a bit to hold the listener’s interest, but some songs seem like they were placed in poor positions on the track list. Otherwise, the album is pretty near perfect.

India.Arie continues to impress and mystify with her third studio album. I can honestly say that Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships is one of the best albums to be released thus far in 2006. Arie has already won plenty of Grammy Awards in the past for her efforts, as well as having been rewarded with several gold and platinum releases. If she keeps up work of this level of quality, I see no reason why she can’t become one of the most successful mainstream artists of the new millennium. Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships is a fantastic album, that is sure to garner much in the ways of positive accolades. Give it a listen sometime soon.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
La Revolucion
June 28th 2006



1060 Comments


Good review. I think I'll buy this.

Two-Headed Boy
June 28th 2006



4527 Comments


Do you have any outside interests? Have you ever been outside?

Nice kajillionth review this month, mate.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006



16083 Comments


I have a rather strong distaste for the genre in general, so I'll probably never even look at the case. But good review anyways!

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006



16083 Comments


My post was more important and relevent. ihu.

The Jungler
June 28th 2006



4827 Comments


I'll probably test this out on Rhapsody soon, good review.

morrissey
Moderator
June 28th 2006



1688 Comments


I definitely need to pick this up, I remember loving a couple of her singles a few years ago but never exploring deeper into her catalogue. Good review as if I need to mention it.

Zebra
Moderator
June 28th 2006



2647 Comments


Hmmmm this sounds kind of fun but I just don't know. The review was great as usual, but some recommended albums would be nice.

The Jungler
June 29th 2006



4827 Comments


I saw the first video for this on VH1, it's pretty cool.

btw, congrats on your 60th review.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 29th 2006



4405 Comments


Good review, dude.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2006



17920 Comments


because it looks kewl.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2006



17920 Comments


thats a shame. its quite good.

morrissey
Moderator
June 29th 2006



1688 Comments


I negged it, I hate people with dots in their name. No Goddamn dots in the name. Hey, it's my rules; I make them up.

(George Carlin jokes don't translate well)

morrissey
Moderator
June 29th 2006



1688 Comments


LMAO at who negged it

metallicaman8
June 29th 2006



4677 Comments


Another fabulous review. Well done Hep.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 29th 2006



4405 Comments


Who was it (I ask as if you'll actually tell me)?

morrissey
Moderator
June 29th 2006



1688 Comments


Privileged information B-[

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 29th 2006



3995 Comments


Hep Kat, I'll tell you. How much will you pay?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 29th 2006



3995 Comments


Platitudessssssssssssssssssssssssss omg. You could say for that reason alone "this review was [not] well written." Beyond that though things don't get much better.This Message Edited On 06.29.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2006



16083 Comments


It was me who negged. You shouldn't have won rotm!
/dramatics

STLMiguel
June 29th 2006



335 Comments


OH MY GOD SOMEBODY NEGGED HEP, THE WORLD IS ENDING



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