But if Arie's inspirational jams made her come off sounding something like Tony Robbins's sista counterpart on last year's Acoustic Soul, Voyage to India is a more spiritual, assured affair. Whereas her debut was rife with self-esteem issues, Arie sounds more comfortable in her own skin this time around. "That ugly duckling grew up to be a swan," she sings on "Get It Together," and her words are realized on the commanding "Good Man," where Arie's voice is equally silky and stern; the heartrending hush of "The Truth"; and the buoyant "Can I Walk With You," which is like radio Zoloft.
All this helps compensate for the middling, sub-Sade soft rock on cuts like "Right Direction" and the neo-soul-by-the-numbers of the aforementioned "Get It Together." Granted, Arie is hardly breaking the R&B mold here, but unlike many of her inert counterparts, at least she's not growing any, either.