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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Nichole Nordeman - This Mystery CD Cover
Image © 2000\r\n \r\nSparrow Records  

(21 May 2000) Alternative singer / songwriter Nichole Nordeman's second album, entitled This Mystery (Sparrow Records (USA), 2000), is a wonderful followup to her debut album Wide Eyed which sold in excess of 130,000 units. The latest project from the acclaimed recording artist,is comprised of ten heartfelt songs spanning various secular themesand was produced by Mark Hammond with executive producer Grant Cunningham. Nichole writes about the inspiration behind the album, "Ms L'Engle has given me a gentle nudge to remember and reclaim the innocence, naivete, and mystery of my faith long before it got lost in the land of adult reasoning." The new album will appeal to a variety of female vocalist enthusiasts and will certainly enthrall Michelle Tumes (review) fans. Soundbites and additional information are available at the artist'swebsite.

The album's title track is an alternative rocking ballad accompaniedby contemporary electronic arrangements balancing tension and release. Evocative lyrics are sung emotionally and sensitively and backing harmonyvocals are effective at additing texture. The ballad "Tremble" has a slow rocking tempo and thick instrumentalarrangements add to the accessibility of the track. "Help Me Believe"is a slow and sensitive jazzy coffee-house ballad that illustrates thesensitivity of the artist's vocal delivery. Guitar riffs within theinstrumental bridge and the layers of harmony vocals are most notable. The sensitive yet moving ballad "Home" continues in a similarvein with Nichole's soaring vocals leading the way through the track.Male and female backing vocals create a lovely texture in the chorusas the song builds to its instrumental splendour.

"Fool For You" is a highly accessible and catchy pop-rock tune blendinga soaring lead vocals with harmony backing layers and a lush piano-lacedinstrumental arrangement. The dancy number "Lookin' At You (Lookin' At Me)" builds on the theme with thicker instrumentation. "As" continues to build on this theme taking it to almost R&B proportions with allusionsto other popular artists becoming quite evident in the chorus.

The soft and slow ballads "Small Enough" and "Home" are carried by Nichole's sensitive solo delivery. "Small Enough" is joined by only slight male and female backing vocal harmonies. Harmonies in "Home"are joined by lovely instrumental arrangements and build the depth ofthe song's sound. The ballad "Every Season" is performed with almostorchestral instrumental arrangements. Nichole's vocals are presentedsweetly and sensitively and are modulated with the power necessaryto delivery the lyrical message. It is a lovely and likely will bean award-winning track!

The production quality of This Mystery is superb and evidence ofthe labels significant support of their priority developing artist. A nomination for the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year and anotherfrom the GMA in 2000 for Female Vocalist of the Year are indicative ofthis artist's growing notariety. You can read further reviews, hearsoundbites and order This Mystery from amazon.comhere. Be sure to check out Wide Eyed as well; you can find furtherinformation, soundbites and order it from amazon.comhere. Nichole's new album is worth a journey andis certainly a very nice listen!

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