Tamika Nicole - The Art of Letting Go (2009)

Tamika Nicole
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It wouldn't be wrong to call The Art of Letting Go, Tamika Nicole's new CD, a gospel record. That description wouldn't be 100 percent accurate either. It might be better to describe The Art of Letting Go as an inspirational album. Don't get it wrong, Nicole isn't shy about professing her faith, nor does she hesitate to talk about the strongholds that make maintaining her faith a struggle -- such as cash flow problems and self-doubt that Nicole depicts in "Tryna Maintain," the funky, gritty and ultra-modern opening track.

In "Only (You Ain't Right)," Nicole sings of her determination to immerse herself in God's word in order to extricate herself from a negative relationship. We learn that the negative relationship that Nicole is trying to break away from is with Satan. However, inspired songwriting leads me to believe that the vocalist could also be talking about dysfunctional relationships with lovers, friends and family.

It wouldn't be wrong to call The Art of Letting Go, Tamika Nicole's new CD, a gospel record. That description wouldn't be 100 percent accurate either. It might be better to describe The Art of Letting Go as an inspirational album. Don't get it wrong, Nicole isn't shy about professing her faith, nor does she hesitate to talk about the strongholds that make maintaining her faith a struggle -- such as cash flow problems and self-doubt that Nicole depicts in "Tryna Maintain," the funky, gritty and ultra-modern opening track.

In "Only (You Ain't Right)," Nicole sings of her determination to immerse herself in God's word in order to extricate herself from a negative relationship. We learn that the negative relationship that Nicole is trying to break away from is with Satan. However, inspired songwriting leads me to believe that the vocalist could also be talking about dysfunctional relationships with lovers, friends and family. "How come I let you lead me/Why do I let you see me/Why do I do the things I do/I know that I'm not perfect/And I know that you're not worth it/Although you say that you are true." Those words could come from a sermon, or they could be the musings of a person trying to summon the will to break free from an addictive relationship.  If "Only (You Ain't Right)" sounds like the lament of a woman trying to break free from Satan (or some devil here on earth), "Enough," the next tune, sounds like an prayer to Christ - or a request to an earthly angel - for direction and affirmation.

The fact that most of the songs on this album can work as gospel songs without being preachy, and as secular tunes without being too "worldly" shows how effective Nicole is as a songwriter. I say "most" because several songs on The Art of Letting Go are definitely secular songs. One is the mid-tempo inspirational song "Get It Right," on which Nicole exhorts parents, children, men and women to treat each other with love and respect. Nicole's positive call to action makes "Get It Right" the perfect uplifting anthem for times. Then there is the funky grinder "Chocolate Caramel Brown," an urban radio ready jam in which Nicole gives her black a big musical kiss. Next is "Can't Walk Away," a rock infused declaration of independence and persistence.

With The Art of Letting Go, Nicole has pulled off a rare feat. She managed to craft a record that will have the church folks and the Christmas-and- Easter-only crowd tapping feet and nodding heads at the cookout. Highly recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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