Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde


Cover Worthy India Arie

Since when were summer blockbusters intimate heart openers overflowing with activist statements and juicy love songs? On her ninth full release, India.Arie pulls out all the stops, ranging between her potent calls to action like “What If” — pointing out that our forebears faced their own sizable obstacles and each generation should do the same — and love-honoring songs of pure romantic poetry.

Despite her unit sales, Grammy Awards, and indelible impact on neo-era soul, India. Arie Simpson still seemed compelled to water down her musical messages—up until now. When asked by Oprah Winfrey to pinpoint the moment that “unworthiness” became a mantra in her music, India unpacked her inhibitions, owned her instincts, and created the overdue and aptly named Worthy.

Steeped in her signature blend of folk, neosoul, and traditional R&B, India.Arie aligns her new collaborators (Chuck Butler, Joel Cross) with prior ones (Brandon Burch, Shannon Sanders) and shares catchy, well-crafted odes to humanity, Black Girl Magic, good love, and the turbulent times underneath it all. Fans of India’s delicate phrasing and throaty alto will find nothing amiss, from the whimsical “Follow the Sun” to the gentle yet resolute self-esteem mantra of the title track. Ms. Arie has even learned the art of not taking herself so seriously, adding pinches of relatable salt and sarcasm to “Shoulda Would Coulda.” Those who have seen her live in concert or tuned into You Tube’s many videos have the extra bonus of feeling her depth with a 3-D sense of connection.

No matter the topic—from today’s harrowing news trends (“Rollercoaster”) to meditative healing turns of melody (the lilting, Bob Marley-inspired “Prayer to Humanity”) and yes, even tributes to head-turning, toe-curling fantasy-men-turned-reality (“In Good Trouble,” “That Magic” and “Steady Love”)—Ms. Simpson has little left to prove. Refresh your soul and renew your relationships—to life, to love, to your own tender realities. SoulBird.com


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