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Nichole Nordeman - This Mystery CD Cover
Image © 2000 Sparrow 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 themes and 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's website.

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

"Fool For You" is a highly accessible and catchy pop-rock tune blending a soaring lead vocals with harmony backing layers and a lush piano-laced instrumental 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 allusions to 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 of the song's sound. The ballad "Every Season" is performed with almost orchestral instrumental arrangements. Nichole's vocals are presented sweetly and sensitively and are modulated with the power necessary to delivery the lyrical message. It is a lovely and likely will be an award-winning track!

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

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