“This just in, another talented young black man / Thrown in jail, lost his life, just sitting on his couch, in the street.” The spoken word intro of “Rollercoaster,” a highlight from Worthy, the 2019 album by Grammy-winning R&B singer/songwriter India.Arie speaks volumes. From the jump, it’s clear that “Rollercoaster” has a truly powerful, transcendent message, before Arie ever sings one note. Like so many frustrated citizens, particularly those who are a member of the artistic community, India is searching for rationality, seemingly in a totally irrational world. Consider “Rollercoaster” to be her atoning sermon of sorts.
The chorus sums up India.Arie’s frustrations with the current state of America: “Let me off this rollercoaster / I don’t wanna ride no more.” No, a literal, thrilling amusement park ride isn’t what India wants off of, but rather the chaos and disorder that has consumed her beloved country. Arie is searching for stability, while also has the desire to return to simpler times. Throughout the course of four verses, she’s skeptical regarding ‘the state of the union.’ The first verse finds her bothered by everything from contaminated water (Flint, Michigan), cloning, and the response to the protest by Colin Kaepernick (“The way they do the human race is a ridiculous crime / And Colin Kaepernick’s knee got y’all losin’ y’all minds?”).
The successive verses only add to the chaos and disorder that has India.Arie totally fed up. She’s bothered by the misogynistic nature of contemporary music, vulgarity in general, notes a “Black community under siege,” and notably dismisses ‘mumble rap.’ The old-fashioned singer/songwriter is unapologetic, asserting on the second verse, “And I’ma standup for what I believe in / And I don’t care who thinks I’m preachin’.” Basically, you can never have too many contemporary protests songs. Add “Rollercoaster” to the list, seeking atonement for a society that oft-times feels totally un-atonable.
You can learn more about India.Arie here:
About The Curator - Brent Faulkner
Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky. A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles. In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype (https://themusicalhype.com). When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.