Wednesday, January 31, 2018
REDEEMER: THE BEST OF NICOLE C. MULLEN
Aileen Nicole Coleman was born on January 3, 1967 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She put out her first album DON'T LET ME GO in 1991 under the name Nicole. She married David Mullen in 1993 and became known as Nicole C. Mullen. They are now divorced but she is a mother of three children. Fast forward to 2006 and REDEEMER: THE BEST OF NICOLE C. MULLEN (Word/Curb) was released. It features songs from records she put out in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004.
1. Starting things off is 'Redeemer' which won the Dove for Song of the Year in 2001. It is one of eleven tracks on this best-of written by Nicole solely. It's a celebratory anthem: "Now I know my Redeemer lives/I know my Redeemer lives/Let all creation testify/Let this life within me cry/I know my Redeemer/He lives to take away my shame/And He lives forever I'll proclaim/That the payment for my sin/Was the precious life He gave/But now He's alive and there's an empty grave".
2. 'Black, White, Tan' is one of two songs on this best-of written by Nicole C. Mullen and David Mullen. It's a slow pop song against racism: "Momma looks like coffee, Daddy looks like cream/Baby is a mocha drop American dream/All the colors of the rainbow are in her family tree/Woven all together in a paisley tapestry/She holds real tightly to her parents' hands/Baby loves that woman, baby loves that man/And her soul gives a smile 'cause she understands/That love is black, white, tan/Yeah, yeah, yeah/Black, white, tan".
3. 'Message for Ya' was penned by Nicole C. Mullen, Bootsy Collins, and Brooke Dozier. It's an upbeat, playful R & B number that inspires action: "Gotta message for my sista girls/Gotta message for my baby girls.../Gotta message for my brother man/That we gotta give it, give it all we can/Justa' spread the love of God around the land/'Cause gotta message for ya".
4. 'Call on Jesus' is a lovely R & B ballad about the importance of prayer and faith: "When I call on Jesus/All things are possible/I can mount on wings like eagles and soar/When I call on Jesus/Mountains are gonna fall/Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call". It won a Dove for Short Form Music Video of the Year.
5. Nicole, David Mullen, and Michael Hunter Ochs wrote 'On My Knees' which won the 1998 Dove for Song of the Year. It's a beautiful ballad of faith: "I've learned in laughter or in pain/How to survive/I get on my knees (2X)/There I am before the love that changes me/See, I don't know how/But there's power/When I'm on my knees".
6. 'Shooby' is a groovy R & B song of testimony: "I believe in Jesus/And I won't apologize/He has bought me my freedom/With His blood and with His life/I believe in Jesus and I ain't ashamed to testify/You might change this world around me/But you'll never change my mind/And it makes me wanna/Shooby, Doobee Doobee, Doo-wop/Throw my hands up high".
7. 'Freedom' is a danceable pop track against racism: "We marched in 'Bama, we marched in Tennessee/Brown men and white men/Stood for equality/We kept our chin up/We kept our dignity/And our proclamation/Let everybody sing/From the shores of Africa/Up to the doors of America/With voices to heaven praying for liberty/We cry freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom".
8. 'Bye Bye Brianna' is a story song: "I talked to your mother the other day/And she told me you passed away/I couldn't find the words to say/I started to cry/She said when the heart begins to ache/She can remember you in a place/Looking at Jesus face to face/Oh what a delight/You got your sight!"
9. Nicole and James Quenton Wright wrote 'Without You'. It's a smooth R & B ballad of gratitude: "Every sunrise when my skies are blue/Breath of Heaven/I feel You/With each heartbeat/My soul is renewed/Can't live my life/Without You".
10. 'Always Love You' is from the soundtrack to the 2005 film END OF THE SPEAR. This song is a manly rock number with these emotional declarations: "Well, no matter how far you go/I will always love you/Like a thousand rivers from my soul/I will always love you/I miss you and the funny things you say/I remember every day/In a hundred different ways/I miss you being here with me/Though you've been set free/I hold you in my memory".
11. 'I Am' includes these words from Jesus: "I'm telling you/I am, I'm the rose they crucified and buried/I am, now I'm risen from the dead/I am, I'm the Lion from the tribe of Judah/I am, I'm the Lamb".
12. 'Baby Girl' is a pop/dance song about the true value of young gals: "I say 'Baby girl, get a hold of yourself/Baby girl, don't you know your wealth?/You're a diamond hiding on a shelf/Baby girl, baby girl/Baby girl, don't you know who you are?/God has made you a shining star/A little light is brighter than the dark/Baby girl, baby girl'".
13. 'Music of My Heart' is a pretty ballad that includes these prayerful words: "Creator of all that is lovely/Write a tune upon my heart/And when You're finished will you play me like a beautiful guitar?/And strum the chords of mercy, restore my soul completely/Breath life into me and this instrument will sing".
14. 'Come Unto Me' is a song of divine comfort: "He says 'Come unto Me all who are weary and I will give you rest/Bring what hurts, bring your scars/Bring the load that you carry/And I will give you rest'".
15. 'Talk About It' is a Latin-infused dance track about fulfilling the Great Commission: "Tell rich and poor in slavery/The King has ordered the decree/Ransom all captivity/Ring the bells of liberty/He sacrificed His everything/To buy us new identities/So every knee could bow/And every tongue confess/That Jesus our Lord is marvelous/So, let the redeemed of the Lord say so/Talk about it, say so, talk, talk about it".
16. Bonus cut: 'Redeemer (Live)'. A splendid version.
17. Bonus cut: 'Call on Jesus (Live)'. A beautiful version.
I'm just gonna come out and say it-there is a lack of black artists in Contemporary Christian Music. We need more. I'm not talking Gospel Music. Nicole C. Mullen is a very pretty lady as one can see from the photos included with this cd. Musically, you will find pop, dance, R & B, and inspirational music on this album. There are songs that give testimony of who God is and what He has done for us-songs of praise and worship. There are songs that speak of having faith and of the power of prayer to change things. Other songs remind us that God loves all people and that gives us our true value. In return we should help others and share God's love. There is even a song about a blind gal who gets her sight in heaven. I'm rating REDEEMER: THE BEST OF NICOLE C. MULLEN a perfect 100 percent. For more info visit: www.nicolecmullen.com or her facebook page. This cd clocks in at a generous 77 minutes and 23 seconds.