Nicole C. Mullen: Like Never Before

Mullen shoots for wide stylistic variety on her latest release. She’s got Beyonce-like pop R&B (“Like Never Before”). She’s got the Great American Songbook (a trio version, dedicated to her dad, of the jazz Irving Gordon standard “Unforgettable,” classily arranged similarly to the duet version between Natalie Cole and her own dad Nat King Cole). She’s got an acapella Fugees-style French version of “It Is Well With My Soul,” and “Arise” (partially in Spanish), and a worshipful rendition of the Nigerian praise song “Olorun To Da Awon Oke Igbani” (“O God, Creator of the Ancient Hills”) in the Yoruba language. The tom-heavy “One,” featuring guest stars like Jeremy Camp and Calvin Nowell, is an instant pop hit. She even remakes her own funky 2008 earworm “I Need a Brainwash,” this time with assists from Max and “Li’l Jo-E” Mullen. Altogether, it’s a fresh collection and a worthy addition to her storied discography.

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