Shortly after embarking on her first headlining tour and claiming an impressive seven Dove Awards for her best-selling Woven and Spun, Nichole Nordeman took a break from the music scene to be a full time stay-at-home mom. Granted her two-year hiatus may have seemed untimely, but Nordeman returns with quite possibly her best work yet- Brave. From the first note, she takes her signature pop/adult contemporary style paired with lyrics based from her recent experiences, creating a true masterpiece.
As soon as Brave opens with the title cut, it's obvious this is not your run-of-the mill record. Produced by Jay Joyce (who oddly enough is credited with producing Audio Adrenaline's upcoming project), Brave does an incredible job of exceeding all expectations for Nordeman's fourth studio release. Though part of her signature writing style, the sheer honesty dripping from each of Nordeman's lyrics ranks among the most impressive aspects of her latest work. Of course, her beautiful voice and piano talents contribute greatly to making Brave all that it is.
Brave's title track lends itself as the record's lead single. Written about the bravery she has found in being a mother, its upbeat chorus and "so long status quo" lyrics make it a major stand out track right away. Fans of Nichole's earlier work will notice quite a change in her lyrical content. Previous song themes seemed to be centered around places of doubt and confusion (particularly evident on Wide Eyed and This Mystery), whereas Brave seems to be the signal of a resting place and trust found in God's faithfulness. Lyrics such as "Someday all that's crazy/ All that's unexplained/ Will fall into place" on "Someday" lay as proof of this. Even on the hypothetical "What If," Nordeman, in a respectful yet confronting way, questions a friend's unbelief in Christ.
The talented Nichole Nordeman continues to move forward with her rich musical and lyrical content with the upbeat "Real to Me," then later with the emotional cry of "Hold On," encouraging a hurting person to not give up. She even breaks up the otherwise original slate with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody," which plays around with some funky beats and heavier-than-normal-Nichole guitars. At last, she finishes up Brave with "We Build"- a soft ballad singing of marital struggles but her desire to work things out.
I honestly had believed Nichole Nordeman's work could never get any better after the incredible Woven & Spun. Nordeman doesn't just meet the bar she has raised so high, but actually goes above it with Brave. Will this kind of project cement Nichole Nordeman's legacy in Christian music? We can only hope so.- Review date: 6/30/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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