Nicole C. Mullen

Following His Hand: A 10 Year Journey

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Most modern female gospel singers keep their belting for the Lord the focus, and thus the grooves tend to be subtle. Mullen, who first entered the CCM market in 1990, was a bit ahead of her time in that she loved to groove heavily into rap and hip-hop. This collection's opening track, "Miracles" (which comes from her 1992 album, Wish Me Love), has all the intensity of a Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis or Prince production, including a dancefloor throb and rap interlude. All that, and strong Christian social commentary! This one and the bouncy "Show Me" still hold up as fresh, but the machinery and cheesy synth flavors of "Love Is Enough" (from Don't Let Me Go) sound a bit dated to its time. The subtitle of the current collection would have you believing it's a comprehensive look back at her last decade of recording, but only these first two albums are mined -- including six songs from Wish Me Love. Most songs here have a relentless beat, but "I Need to Know" beautifully documents Mullen's skill as a balladeer. Although that release was the top-selling album for Frontline Records in 1992, they had neither the staff nor funds to support her on tour or to follow up with another album. The main goal of this collection then is to document the early years of one of the genre's top artists and to give new fans a glimpse at Mullen's funky past. In the last ten years, CCM has become more popular than ever, with more and more secular audiences becoming hip to the crossover potential for so called "religious" music. Mullen's music is one reason why, and so this is an important look back. Her longtime fans, though, should be warned that it's all recycled material.

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