Music Review: Songversation: Medicine
Eric Garner’s dying words—“I can’t breathe”—were caught on video in 2014 and reminded us once again that police brutality and racism are still alive and kicking in America. The tragic phrase quickly became a symbol for change and sparked the inception of Black Lives Matter. Two years later, India Arie released the song “Breathe” and added her voice to a list of artists supporting social justice. The song is included on Arie’s new album, Songversation: Medicine, and remains completely relevant: “There’s always someone tryin’ to take someone’s power away / The history of the world is violent / will it ever change?”
The new album is an extended version of her 2013 EP Songversation and has six new songs, including the lively and happy “Life Is Good,” which has something of an ’80s GoGo’s feeling. On it Arie sings soulfully, “Use your fear as fuel to fly.” Listening to songs like “Light of the Holy Spirit,” “Give Thanks,” and “Just Let It Go,” I’m not surprised to learn that Arie is a devoted yoga practitioner.
India Arie’s voice is confident, optimistic, and beautiful across these pared-down songs of peace and love. Winner of numerous Grammy nominations and four Grammy Awards, Arie continues to sing her heart out. On her website she writes, “Songversation: Medicine was made to be listened to in a quiet time, prayer, meditation, Yoga. My wish is that these songs bring softness, clarity, calm, and inspiration.”