STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 168279-27303 LABEL: Intersound FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by John Farrington
Nicole C Mullen's unique style self-labelled as "funkabilly" (a mix of R&B, pop, folk and gospel) is freely explored in her first original album in seven years. The album kicks off with the title track, an empowering song that looks to a time when the "pain and sorrow" of this world will be taken away. When that time comes we will "sing and dance like never before." It is particularly poignant for Nicole who has openly shared about having recently been through a divorce. With its heavy bass synth and drums you wouldn't be surprised if you heard this track on a Beyoncé record. Another standout is "Greater Still" that harks back to the CCM gospel sound of "Redeemer" which brought Nicole her first Dove Awards for Song and Female Vocalist Of The Year. With a mournful string intro that depicts the valleys and darkness the Nashville-based singer writes about, the ballad neatly leads into a chorus that speaks of a love that is greater and incomparable to all those evils. As a tribute to the recent passing of her father, Nicole sings with her daughter Jasmine a sweet rendition of the jazz standard, "Unforgettable". In a declaration of unity tied with her passion for racial reconciliation Nicole wrote the song "One" stating, "Our oneness is the proof of our love" and that we prove to the world "that we belong to Christ by how we love one another." The main drawback is that its diverse nature means 'Like Never Before' lacks stylistic coherence. But the best tracks on the album "Betrayed With A Kiss" and the title track deserve their playlisting on Cross Rhythms and XRhythns.
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