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VINE VOICEon February 14, 2009
India.Arie is just one of those artists who I can always rely on for consistently excellent music. In my honest opinion, Testimony Volume 1: Life & Relationship is her greatest achievement thus far. It is cohesive, sincere (sans the Akon appearance, as we have learned from interviews), daring, creative, a bit experimental, incredibly well-written, and--oh!--did she have some things to say. The fact that many India.Arie fans prefer Volume 2 over her last effort is completely baffling to me. It makes me feel a bit guilty that I am not in this group, especially since I am now aware of how Love & Politics is her first escape from the creative struggle between her and Motown. But maybe India needs a little bit of guidance from a record executive every once in awhile, because this album, to me, is very hit and miss, a bit misguided, and a bit all-over-the-place. One of the points of the album is for India to collaborate with people from all different parts of the world and all different genres. She succeeded. Here, she works with everyone from hip hop pioneer MC Lyte, to reggae artist Gramps Morgan, to Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu. But this makes the whole album feel divided, which I guess is just another result of the iPod generation. It also doesn't help that the types of songs included here range from stadium-rock-soul hybrids ("Long Goodbye"), to a Sade re-make ("Pearls), to a first single that half-heartedly chases the mainstream ("Therapy"). The lack of cohesiveness aside, this isn't a bad album, but I definitely believe it's India's worst album to date. Quite a few of these songs, in my opinion, should simply remain as B-sides. The lyrics to "Yellow" are sincere, but quite cheesy, and there aren't any musical emebellishments to make the track more enjoyable. "Long Goodbye" is too dramatic for my tastes, "Ghetto" is underwhelming, and "River Rise," which initially sounds like a promising track, falls short. The excellent tracks completely override the duller moments, though. "Chocolate High" is a sweet and refreshing duet with Musiq Soulchild. "He Heals Me," a gospel-infused love ballad, is one of the best songs of India's a career so far. "Better Way" is the Southern-fried lovechild of "Better People" and "I Choose" from Testimony: Volume 1. "Psalms 23" is an inspirational recount of the artist's trials and tribualtions and the middle-Eastern tinged "The Cure" is very enjoyable, also. The "Grains" interludes were also excellent, and I wish she would've fused them into a complete song. Overall, Testimony: Volume 2 is a good album, and it is also a triumph, at least for the simple fact that India.Arie is now free to be creative without ever having to answer to a major lablel. Still, there are quite a few flaws--it is most cerainly not a superb album from start to finish, like the first volume--and I would definitely recommend her other three albums before buying this.
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on February 10, 2009
India.Arie first came to my attention through an appearance on Oprah during the time her debut CDAcoustic Soul. I thought at the time she was an important breath of fresh air,considering the by then deadly dull shuffling variety of New Jack Swing and early Pro Tools-styled production were all over the place and impossible to get away from.Arie's "acoustic soul" seemed a nice companion to Neo Soul.Since then.....well I have listened to new music but somehow stopped paying attention to India.Arie. Well it's eight years later and the world has been through the toughest near decade I've ever seen anyone had to endure. And even if the debate that this artist's advocacy of "naturalness" in music will save R&B......well even at this point it is apparent even she has begun to move on in her musical adventure.This is the second volume in a set of albums starting with 2006's Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship and continues here. But this volume is Love & Politics.The songs deal with both issues but also shows how they are intertwined.To emphasize that I have to go towards the end of the album to a song called "The Cure".The epic "ballad",I guess really it pointed out that hate is our worse disease as a society-more then AIDS even.And of course the "cure" is love.Simplistic yes but,fact is people often try to overlook the simple things in life,complicating things in order to appear more mature. And that,in a word in a them with most of the album how "love and politics" aren't in fact the seperate issues they appear.They also find India.Arie stepping lightly outside her signiture sound to create some new hybrids to keep things fresh.On "Therapy",for one the production is more oriented around modern day electronics rather then anything overly natural but neither are lost and the lyrics,as typical with her is definately uplifting.One thing this albums has a lot of are ballads,of course being something she does quite well.Some such as "Pearls","River Rise","He Heals Me" and "Long Goodbye" contain character sketches either relating to romance or the how the difficult lives of woman in third world countries are perceived differently to them."Chocolate High",featuring Musiq Soulchild is the only conventional R&B kind of ballad,comparing the joys of sensuality to the joyful highs of confections. Well there are also a lot of edgier songs here that point to new directions.India's albums are not free of uptempo songs but,on the other hand "Better Way" is a downright scatching political funk-rock with some harsher guitar riffs and more assured vocals from Arie.MC Lyte's electronically weaving rap does a similar thing to Arie's abstract funky take on "Psalms 23". Another most telling song here is "Ghetto",pointing to an important point my buddy Henrique and I once discussed regarding how people who live in a ghetto may not even know there are other ghetto's in other areas of the country and the world and that all environments again interelate-that LA might as well be Bombay as the lyric states. There's a bonus track at the end of all this-"A Beautiful Day"-again kind of a modern song with a totally optimisitc outlook. The liner notes of this album provide no lyrics but instead her own self written liner nots and some snapshots of India in various colorful clothes. It will be awhile before we see how this will progress in time.But her debut and her last album were multiple Grammy winners and huge artistic success.And if the winds of society in general swing the way they seem to I see yet more wonders in India.Arie's future.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 20, 2009
Five BIG Stars!!! Beautiful, remarkable, personal songs of love, pain, joy, faith, and life from triple Grammy-winning (with 16 nominations) singer/songwriter/musician India.arie. Musical barriers evaporate in her hands!! Using a versatile voice of liquid incandescent beauty, India.arie drops a fabulous new CD: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, the followup to Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship. After 2 years of semi-retirement in Hawaii, away from the disappointing hassles of the music industry, she returns to create fresh, soulful music based on new songs and a new commitment in terms of "finding a way to do it that suits me". If you need an area code for India.arie, think of a young lady nearing mid-career who is approaching the singing swagger and songwriting versatility of a Stevie Wonder, she is that great.

The flowing "River Rise" is a powerful ballad that 'shows the way' to a different level of personal understanding for India.arie. The Latin rhythm-tinged "Ghetto" shows her ability to take a familiar topic and expand it to a beautiful world-wide message (and it went to my iPod). The Grammy-winning "Pearls" (with Dobet Gnahore) is pure musical beauty and thoughtful songwriting, with a timely message for the women of the world. "Psalm 23" with rapper MC Lyte, multi-tracked, has a powerful empowering message. The "Long Goodbye" and "A Beautiful Day" are pure powerful beauty built on differing rhythms. India.arie once again demonstrates musical prowess far beyond that of most singers and we should rejoice that she came back with this tremendous musical gift, which took the "Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy" with "Pearls". My Highest Recommendation. Five HUGE Stars.
(This review is based on an iTunes Plus download.)
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on December 22, 2017
ANYTHING & EVERYTHING she make, I Love!!!
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VINE VOICEon February 19, 2009
I like most of the tracks on this CD by India Arie. I think it is a good CD, but it is not a great one. The only song I really don't like is "Yellow". This song doesn't make any sense to me. The other weak song is "The Cure". It has meaningful lyrics, but the musical arrangements sound weird to me. My favorite tracks are "Ghetto" and "Pearls". These songs address the issue of living in poverty while maintaining a sense of dignity. I love the acoustic guitar playing on these tracks. "Chocolate High" is a smooth soulful track. I love this song. "Therapy" and A Beautiful Day" are upbeat tracks. These songs make me feel good. The piano playing on "He Heals Me" is beautiful. This is a pretty love song. "Better Way" is a very groovy track. I love the electric guitar playing on this track It addresses the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and other problems in the world. I like this CD, but it does have some weak tracks.
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on September 22, 2014
I love India.Arie.
She holds a strong anointing of the spirit of the Lord!
She always has something positive to say, even when discussing something negative.
I like part 1 much better than part 2. I'm getting all of her CDs.

Go head India, I feel you, girl.
Now go ahead and share with the rest of the world!
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on March 11, 2009
I love Vol.2 from India Arie. I believe she doesn't receive recognition she deserves. She is one of my favorite neo-soul artist to date. I love Therapy that is one of my favorite songs on the cd. Thank you again India
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on August 23, 2009
Truly, truly this cd had to grow on me. I first listened to it about twice and took it out the cd player and didn't play it again until a friend spoke of how much she loved it. I said really, well maybe I need to listen to it again. I did and it has grown on me. I have everyone of India's cds and I won't stop buying them just because this one wasn't my fav. However she did redeem herself with me when I saw her in concert this summer and she was awesome singing and dancing in the rain, swating the mosquitos, and fire flys. India is an awesome artist and she has a beautiful spirit. Her lyrics are what I love most about her music.
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on May 26, 2011
India Arie is one of the few artistswho are amazingly talented and put heart and soul in her work.This product is the perfect example of great quality soul music ,it touches your heart and caress your ears as gently as a fine silk sheet.
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on February 18, 2009
I have all of India's CD's and I was so happy to get the album on the day of its release and listened to it immediately. These are some of my favourites:

Ghetto - A song about how we are all in this world together and that we shouldn't look at anyone's pain differently from our own.

Yellow - One of my best friends loves the colour Yellow and I just think of her every time I hear this song, even though it is about romantic love.

Therapy - A wonderful song to start the CD with catchy and full of soul about beautiful relationships and how healing they can be.

Better Way - Very funky song with more deep lyrics talking about politics and the lack of government action in the US with a great line of base throughout it.

Long Goodbye - This song hit home as it basically describes a relationship that I had, scarily so and it is so therapeutic to listen and sing to. This is my favourite song on the whole album.

India always feels and thinks about what she writes and you can feel it when she sings, there should be more people like her in the music industry. If you like good music that isn't from the cookie cutter factory then this is a must get!
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