Picks and Pans Review: India.Arie

updated 02/23/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/23/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics |

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"I need your therapy," confesses India.Arie, asking for spiritual and sensual healing from a lover on "Therapy," the first proper song on her fourth studio disc. Later, she praises the rejuvenating powers of her man on "He Heals Me," a caressing ballad. Really, though, it's Arie's soothing sounds that are like comfort food for the soul in these unsettling times. This sequel to 2006's Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship finds the singer-songwriter addressing both affairs of the heart and society (such as poverty). She and Musiq Soulchild make like neo-soul's answer to Marvin and Tammi on the sweetly romantic "Chocolate High," while on the album's funkiest track, "Better Way," Arie channels one of her biggest inspirations, Stevie Wonder, as she urges us to move to higher ground.

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