Nichole nordeman unmakingpick of the monthNichole Nordeman at her worst is CCM at its best – and Nordeman at her best is powerful and moving indeed...

The Unmaking
Nichole Nordeman
Sparrow Records
6 tracks 23:14

Nichole Nordeman's back – and boy, do we need her! In a CCM climate where self-affirmation and feint 'praise and worship' seem to reign, Nordeman steps up to the plate and says more in less than a half-hour than you get from listening all day to most Christian radio. There's no bravado, no cheer-leading, no name-it-and-claim it here. On The Unmaking we get a combination of the artist's more radio-ready side coupled with the almost devastating honesty and nakedness of her early work on Wide Eyed.
The more anthemic “Not To Us” has the potential to slip into the repertoire of some of the better church music teams with its very singable chorus: “Anything that's good – anything that's true / Let it point to you.”

The rhythmic pop of “Name” is the most encouraging song on the album and the one with the most typical pop production devices in view, complete with music drop-outs leaving the vocal up front, etc. It's a good song, even if it's more commercial and radio-ready than the other five tracks. Of course the phrase 'commercial and radio-ready' is not exactly a put-down (some of the greatest songs ever recorded have been commercial and radio-ready), but it isn't where Nordeman's strength is necessarily found, artistically. 

Now, on the other hand... “Love You More” isn't exactly crying out for a dance-mix, but it's the stuff that makes Nichole Nordeman special. The song begins with the sound of a string quartet, which continues under Nordeman's up-front vocals and piano accompaniment. Identifying with the famous failings of well-known Biblical personalities, the singer's plaintive vocals become a confession of our need as broken human beings.
You said, “go and sin no more ...” / Though my eyes could not meet Yours / I started running the third time the rooster crowed
You threw a party just for me / Though I squandered everything / I was blinded in the middle of the road
Climbed up in a tree to see You / Swallowed by the sea to flee You / Sold You for a little silver and a kiss
Killed a man to love his woman / Burned a bridge back to Your garden / Hung beside You while you took Your final breath
You’ve been loving me since time began / You’re behind my every second chance
I love You / I’m trying to / Love You more...”

“Something Out Of Me” lifts the musical mood to once again confess that we need The One who multiplied the loaves and fish to work on us a bit. A nice, rhythmic piano intro snaps into a tight little groove that stays with you.

It seems as if most great songwriters eventually write a song about being a parent, and the poignant “Slow Down” is Nordeman's contribution. Accompanied by acoustic guitar, piano, and bass, the singer recounts the classic moments – yes, even including the eye-rolling (“Please don’t roll your eyes at me / I know I’m embarrassing / But someday you’ll understand / You’ll hold a little hand...”), and asks/suggests/prays that maybe there just might be a way to 'slow down,' even though we all know that it doesn't – it can't – happen. It's not “Butterfly Kisses,” but be prepared.

Nichole Nordeman at her worst is CCM at its best – and Nordeman at her best is powerful and moving. The Unmaking is a nice little sampler. Welcome back, Nichole!

Bert Saraco