Urban Contemporary, 2001
India.Arie’s debut Acoustic Soul comes this close to perfection where this listener is concerned. Her album of pure soul grooves with an acoustic bent is pure heaven on my eardrums. Intelligent, sensual, soothing, and filled with great music, Acoustic Soul is so fine.
In her single Video, it’s not just a fine song, it’s also a beautiful piece of self-love affirmation and accepting one’s looks, imperfections and all. In what seems like a contradiction at first, she also waxes sensual and erotic poetry about her lover’s Brown Skin, a song that is more about identity and awareness as much as an erotic paean to her lover’s body. Brown Skin is one of my favorite tracks of this CD, incidentally.
She then goes all upbeat and inspirational in Strength, Courage, & Wisdom, Back to the Middle, and pays lovely tribute to Stevie Wonder in Wonderful. Throughout it all, her voice remains clear and strong, filled with just the perfect amount of soul and conviction to make each song her own and uniquely hers.
Less self-absorbed and showy than Lauryn Hill and a refreshing change from the overproduced concoctions from the likes of Brandy, Ashanti, and Tweety, India.Arie’s Acoustic Soul is pure heaven on my eardrums.