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When India Arie came onto the scene in 2001 with Acoustic Soul I was think she was going to be an artist who I was really going to like and that continued with her second album Voyage to India which was released in 2002. Then it went quiet for the next four years until she released this her third album Testimony Vol.1 Life and Relationship. This is when I heard she worked with Akon on one of the tracks and not being a fan of Akon I thought oh no, here goes another promising artist who has gone downhill with too many collaborations with people who have far less talent. That was until I heard the album.
**Testimony: Vol.1 Life & Relationship**
Testimony: Vol. 1 Life & Relationship Is the first instalment of her Testimony albums. she released the second instalment "Love and Politics" in 2008. Volume 1 features collaborations with the likes of Akon, Rascal Flatts and Bonnie Raitt. I hear a marked difference in the sound of this album to her previous two. There's more piano and percussion aswell as the acoustic feel of her first two not being as prominent on here.
1.) Intro - Loving
This is a really nice little introduction to the album which opens with gentle piano and India's emotive vocals. This could be made into a fantastic track if it was full length. A beautiful start.
2.) These Eyes
This features a taut beat and India's laid back vocals being backed by the jazzy piano. This is a very flowing track which moves the feel away from the gentle opening of the album. These Eyes is a very good track.
3.) The heart of the matter
This has some nice electronic sounds backed by the gentle strings and the accompanying beat. This is a very flowing track which is a great showcases for the purity of India's vocals. This is one of the best of the more up-tempo tracks on the album.
4.) Good Mourning
This is a gentle flowing track that has a little Sade about it. Although I am not really a fan of Sade I like the feel of this track and it's flow. At 5 minutes 27 seconds this is the second longest track on the album and India's vocals are really natural and laid back which adds a nice touch to the track.
5.) Private Party
This has an interesting stop start melody with some heavy drum beats, It has one of the best flows of any of the tracks on the album and is another very good up-tempo track on the album.
6.) There's Hope
This is another one that features a heavy beat and has a very good flow. India's vocals are laid back despite the feel of the music and that adds a nice touch to the over feel of the track. Very good one.
7.) Interlude - Living
This short interlude has a great feel to it thanks to the gentle piano and India's breathy vocals that are so clear and emotive. This could be a classic song if it was made into a full length song. A shame it was not lengthened.
8.) India's song
At 5 minutes and 26 seconds this is the third longest song on the album losing out by just one second from Good Mourning. This Is a little better in my opinion as it has more emotion that Good Mourning and I feel the music is a little better too, Both very good though.
9.) Wings of forgiveness
This is another flowing track which has a great beat. This track is about moving on from peoples mistakes and learning to forgive, This is another good track that uses her laid back vocals alongside a more heavy beat than you would expect.
This is the track with Rascal Flatts and has a Country Soul feel about it that works rather well. I like a few Rascal Flatts tracks and this is a really nice track with a great summery feel as you would expect from the title track.
11.) I Am not my hair
Now this is the single that I was worried about, Looking at the track title you would probably think "I Am not my hair, now what is all that about, I didn't say you were you hair?" Add to the fact that this features Akon and you would be very surprised on the outcome. This is actually quite good. It has a nice flow and some good beats and Akon is actually not all that bad on this.
12.) Great Grandmother
This is a short tribute to her grandmother which features a short audio clip of her voice. This is okay but doesn't really add anything to the album.
13.) Better People
This is a funky up-tempo track which has an inspiring feel about it. This is about improving yourself as a person and other people becoming better too. This is A decent uplifting track.
14.) Outro - Learning
This is another beautiful lude' which could have been made into a great track if it was extended. Again great use of the piano to give it an intimate feel and this is a very fine little track.
15.) I Choose
Another flowing track which has an up-tempo feel, this time India's vocals are a little livelier than before and the backing works well alongside her vocals to create a great track.
16.) I Am not my hair (AC Remix)
This is a remix of the song with Akon. This has a more laid back feel and overall is a worthwile remix as it changes it enough and brings something new to the song. Good remix.
17.) This too shall pass
At 5 minutes 51 seconds this is the longest track on the album and is also the closer. This opens with gentle piano like from the interludes and this is probably the best track on the album and a great closer to what has been a mixed album.
Although there are no bad tracks there really aren't too many that stand out as great tracks. Another drawback is that the interludes would have been great had they been extended into a full length song. Overall this is a very decent album which I would give four stars but it needs some spark to get to five stars. A decent album though. Stay tuned for my review of Testimony Volume 2 Love.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro: Loving - India.Arie, Shannon Sanders, Paul Pilsneniks, Anthony Payn
2 These Eyes - India.Arie, Mark Batson, Shannon Sanders, Aaron Fessel, Greg Fuqua, F. Reid Shippen, Che Pope, Abe Laboriel Jr., David Piltch, Ricky Quinones, Blue Miller, Bryan Brock, Rachell Ferrell, Kreisha Hicks, Matthew Johnson, Anthony Payn
3 The Heart Of The Matter - India.Arie, Frank Macek, Dru Castro, Michael Rhodes, Jimmy J-Rok English, John Catchings, Laurie Ann Fessler, Deronda Lewis
4 Good Mourning - India.Arie, Shannon Sanders, Drew Ramsey, Greg Fuqua, Aaron Fessel, Neal Cappellino, Erik Jahner, Joe Martino, F. Reid Shippen, Steve Lotz, Natthaphol Abhigantaphand, Steve Mackey, Javier Solis, Doctah B, Darin James, Courtney Branch, Lamar Carter, David Davidson, John Catchings, Michael Parnin, Phillip Ramos, Double G, Abraham Libbos, Marisa Kuney, Alisha Bauer, Adrienne Woods, Trevor Lawrence
5 Private Party - India.Arie, Branden Burch, Richard Johnson, Jr., John Howard III, Dru Castro, Phil Tan, LaMarquis Jefferson, William Harriet, Erik Rostad
6 There's Hope - India.Arie, Tony Harrington, Branden Burch, Andre Burch, Dru Castro, Rob Skipworth, Simon "Woodchuck" Durham, Moses Staimez, Rob Wanda, Chris Johnson, Erik Rostad, Mimi, Cekoya Tolbert, Ametria Dock
7 Interlude: Living - India.Arie, Shannon Sanders, Paul Pilsneniks, Anthony Payn
8 India'Song - India.Arie, Doctah B, Unknown, Dave Pensado, Jaycen Joshua, Michael Parnin, Tracy Kendrick, Courtney Branch, Herban Shamen, Keb' Mo', Kenneth Crouch, Trevor Lawrence, Ricky Lawson, Destiny Muhammad, Tarika Lewis, Cornelius Mims, Double G, Abraham Libbos, Marisa Kuney, Alma Cielo
9 Wings Of Forgiveness - India.Arie, Frank Macek, Branden Burch, Michael Rhodes, Jimmy J-Rok English, Eric Jackson, Erik Rostad
10 Summer - India.Arie, Drew Ramsey, Rascal Flatts, Shannon Sanders, Victor Wooten, Neal Cappellino, Robert Battagila, Danny Duncan, Erik Jahner, Joe Martino, Jon Graves, F. Reid Shippen, Steve Lotz, Natthaphol Abhigantaphand, J.D. Blair, Tammy Rogers King
11 I Am Not My Hair - India.Arie, Shannon Sanders, Akon, India Arie Simpson, Andrew Ramsey, Sara Killion, Bob Tucker, Greg Fuqua, Dave Pensado
12 Great Grandmother - India.Arie
13 Better People - India.Arie, Frank Macek, Jimmy J-Rok English, Shannon Sanders, Greg Fuqua, Aaron Fessel, Michael Rhodes, Mike Lawler, Tiffany, Drew Ramsey, Matthew Johnson, Ametria Dock, Chimere Scott
14 Outro: Learning - India.Arie, Shannon Sanders, Paul Pilsneniks, Anthony Payn
15 I Choose - India.Arie, Bonnie Raitt, Dru Castro, Sam Thomas, Dave Pensado, Laurnea Wilkerson, Trina Broussard, Chenere, Pierre Medor, Ametria Dock, Dre Bowman
16 I Am Not My Hair - Akon, India.Arie, Tony Terrebonne, Keith Sengbusch, Christian Baker, Tony Love, Giorgio, Seth Foster
17 This Too Shall Pass - India.Arie