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

Sincerity is a virtue with India.Arie. So too are preachy lyrics but that’s beside the point. Let it be known that the multi-Grammy winner and acoustic soul practitioner never buried her feelings under layers of pithy metaphors and abstract language. And that’s been her charm — her "you go girl” anthems of empowerment and hushed odes to lives lived and loves lost. With a title like Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship you know what you’re in for: a collection of intimate songs that speak to the human condition (i.e. "Wings of Forgiveness,” "I Choose” and "Better People”). As an added bonus we get a not quite necessary but satisfying remake of Don Henley’s "The Heart of the Matter” and a surprisingly okay guest appearance by hip-hop/soul’s Akon on the remix of "I Am Not My Hair.” So grab that head-wrap, burn that incense and sip that cup of jasmine tea — India is ’bout to preach. (Universal)