India.Arie’s eighth studio album, Worthy, is a signature collection of music from the feisty soulbird. She may have kept us waiting five years for a new full-length project, but it was well worth it. Arie uses her tried and true formula that includes acclaimed producers and collaborators, well-written songs and soulful vocals to deliver bold social commentary, spirituality and sensuality.
The title track “Worthy” is seemingly a daily affirmation. "Now listen up to this truth / You are me and I am you / Every one of us is worthy," she assures. Taken together with the three interludes included on the 16-track offering and songs such as “Follow The Sun” and “We Are,” these incantations reinforce the songstress’ message throughout the ensuing journey to introspection, centering and love.
“What If” begs the question what if freedom fighters and activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Bob Marley never stood up, where would we be now? With love as her weapon of choice, Arie urges us to take up our cross and join the fight. "We are the ones we've been waiting for / We can change the world / Our love can change the world," she implores on the chorus. She ends her call to action by listing modern-day change agents and proclaiming that together we can all change the world.
Arie speaks her mind in love and does not bite her tongue on Worthy. “Rollercoaster” is a timely rant about our political and social decline. She vents about everything from lying politicians, big pharma and misogyny to police brutality and drug use, singing, "I'mma stand up for what I believe in/ And don’t care who thinks I’m preaching." On “Coulda Shoulda Woulda” she continues her unapologetic harangue about not giving time or attention to haters. She confidently sings, "I love my brown skin so much / Been that way before Wakanda / So 'F' what you thought/ Love me or not, I’ll never stop."
India finds respite from the craziness du jour by taking time for prayer and meditation on “Hour of Love” and centering herself on “Sacred Space.” From a place of peace and serenity, she offers up a “Prayer For Humanity” imploring us to love ourselves and one another, "That we can live in harmony / See ourselves as family / This is my prayer for humanity.’
Unplugging from life’s distractions and finding inner peace, she shifts her focus to who and what brings her joy – and pleasure. Lead single “That Magic” tells a sensual tale of finding the one set to a hypnotic, hip-winding beat. Her gift for exploring the depth and complexity of romantic love through song is on full display with “In Good Trouble.” With her trademark sultry whispers, she narrates a chance encounter during cuffing season that’s got her fantasizing and wondering if this could go all the way. “Steady Love,” co-written with long-time collaborator and fellow SoulBounce fave Shannon Sanders and “Crazy” with its nod to Arie’s musical muse Stevie Wonder and his “Ribbon In The Sky,” are more of the sexy storytelling that is quintessentially India.Arie.
India.Arie has been consistently good since her 2001 debut with Acoustic Soul, but as a whole Worthy is some of her best work in years. She does not shy away from speaking her mind and sharing her spirituality and its calming effect on her life and influence on her music. India.Arie's messages, reflections and affirmations in her music are needed now more than ever.