April 5, 2001

Test Spins: India.arie

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It’s hard to imagine R&B without thinking of an onslaught of thinly-veiled sexual come-ons, even with the recent emergence of soulful singers like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. On the heels of their success, plus the buzz of her own self-affirming debut single “Video,” India.arie is releasing Acoustic Soul, an album more about loving herself than someone else.

The lyrics on songs like “I See God In You,” might be a little too New Age-y for many listeners weaned on nothing more spiritual than MC Hammer’s “Pray.” However, the album’s utter lack of negativity is damn contagious, as by the end I felt like a Hari Krishna in an airport, telling people I see the beauty inside of them.

Alright, I made that whole Hari Krishna thing up. But Acoustic Soul does embrace a much-needed positive attitude, while at the same time representing one of the strongest R&B debuts in recent memory.

Archived article by Mike Giusto