Written by: Laura Chambers (1/8/2018)
We will all experience difficult seasons in our lives that will make everything we’ve come up against prior to that seem puny in comparison. But we must remember that even our most formidable foes are no match for God. In Him we can find a joy that surpasses our despair, a hope in what will be.
Nicole C. Mullen’s story lately has been one of tears and trials in the wake of her divorce. But she continues to cling to the Lord for strength and hope in spite of it all. Her return after seven years, Like Never Before, captures the lessons God has taught her in twelve tracks filled with wisdom and honesty.
“Like Never Before” invites us to celebrate in a way we haven’t experienced until now, because no matter what our situation is, we look forward to the joy that God has promised us. It’s difficult to pin down the genre of this song, an explosion of unfiltered expression. “Betrayed With A Kiss” resolves to move on in spite of being wronged by the one you’re supposed to be able to trust. Instead of remaining bitter, Nicole decides to forgive, something that’s missing from nearly every breakup song these days. Using metaphors drawn from Judas’s betrayal of Jesus, this song tells a story matter-of-factly, without delivering any low blows in return. “It Is Well (Tout Va Bien)”, as its title suggests, is the hymn rendered in French, although it’s only the first verse and the chorus. Most artists usually put something like this at the end of the album, as an epilogue. Perhaps she did this to emphasize the message of the previous song and move on. “Greater Still” compares the love of God to other vast and insurmountable obstacles, as well as every treasure we have been given, finding always that His love is greater than all of these. Regardless of what we face, we can glory in His love.
In Spanish and English, “Arise” recalls the story of the young girl Jesus raised from the dead. It calls us to stand up this moment and rise from our brokenness into the new life we have in Christ. “Unforgettable (Dad)” is the sole cover song on this album. Accompanied by her daughter Jasmine, Nicole pays tribute to her deceased father with this loving rendition. Included in the track is apparently a message he had recorded to her at some point, letting her know how much he loved and was proud of her. “One” welcomes Jeremy and Adie Camp to a song celebrating unity in Christ among people of different opinions and groups, whose love binds them together and declares that they all belong to Christ. “Olorun” praises the Lord who created everything, in both English and another language from the Yoruban people of Central Africa.
“Hey Girl” gives a self-esteem boost to girls who don’t feel important or special. God created them unique with innate worth, to be loved and treasured. No matter how we feel, look, or express ourselves, He sees our true beauty. “I Need A Brainwash” pleads with God to cleanse our minds of all of the conflicting messages we see and hear, and the regrets we keep clinging to. Renewing our minds gives us a clear picture of the truth that often becomes drowned out over time by guilt and temptation. “Last Love” describes the incredible feeling of being loved by God, and resolves that He will be the first and last one we return such adoration to. Finally, “I’m Not Scared” closes on a soft lullaby-like note, in which Nicole reminds us that when we know the Light, we don’t have to fear the darkness.
When tragedy strikes, we can choose to focus on everything that is wrong with our lives, or cling to everything that is right. Nicole C. Mullen encourages us to be grateful by continually offering reminders that nobody can take away God’s love for us. Like Never Before compiles a gratitude list heavily sprinkled with God’s promises and mercies.
Released: January 12, 2018
Label: Entertainment One
- Like Never Before (2:50)
- Betrayed With a Kiss (3:08)
- It Is Well (Tout va bien) (1:22)
- Greater Still (6:31)
- Arise (4:18)
- Unforgettable (Dad) (Feat. Jasmine Mullen & Kirk Whalum) (3:34)
- One (Feat. Calvin Powell, Jeremy Camp, Debi Selby & Ileia Sharae) (4:19)
- Olorun (3:36)
- Hey Girl (4:21)
- I Need a Brainwash (Feat. Max Mullen & Lil’ Jo-E Mullen) (3:14)
- Last Love (4:27)
- I’m Not Scared (3:12)
- Silent Night (Noche de paz) (7:32)
13 Tracks, 52:24
Buy on iTunes
More from Nicole C. Mullen:
- Don’t Let Me Go (1991)
- Wish Me Love (1992)
- Nicole C. Mullen (2000)
- Talk About It (2001)
- Following His Hand: A Ten Year Journey (2001)
- Christmas in Black & White (2002)
- Live from Cincinnati: Bringin’ It Home (2003)
- Everyday People (2004)
- Redeemer: The Best of Nicole C. Mullen (2006)
- Sharecropper’s Seed, Vol. 1 (2007)
- A Dream to Believe In, Vol. 2 (2008)
- The Ultimate Collection (2009)
- Captivated (2011)
- Crown Him: Hymns Old & New (2013)
- Like Never Before (2018)
Visit Nicole C. Mullen’s Official Site Here