India.Arie: Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics 

India.Arie's latest album, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, has the political bite of dentures – too false and bright to be mistaken as real. Self-conscious in topic and annoyingly inoffensive in A/C production, Testimony is pleasant background accompaniment to your morning coffee – as long as you don't listen too closely to what aims to be astute social and political insight. Overdone hallmarks like "the worst disease is hate" and leaven approaches to such thoughtful material as Sade's "Pearls" makes the album Arie's weakest link. Drained of outrage by her light, universalist touch to heavy issues such as poverty and Hurricane Katrina, Arie's artistic expression seems passionless here. The melodic though lyrically stupefying "Yellow" (featuring Terrell Carter) and the sweet "Chocolate High" duet with Musiq Soulchild are the project's best calling cards. And the gem "Good Man" is a reminder that Arie's talent once fashioned her the political daughter of Nina Simone and Odetta. But Testimony makes you miss Odetta more than ever. 2 stars.


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