Stemming out of New Jersey with a vengeance for blending the best of all worlds, songstress, Nicole Atkins, has created a world within her world that has unleashed a realm of creativity that is furthest from the typical. Celebrating the success and praise arising from the release of her fourth studio album, ‘Goodnight Rhonda Lee,’ Nicole’s inventive metaphorical musings are steadily leading her to being a household name.
Kicking off the 11-track album that is abounding with variety, “A Little Crazy” is a slow burn that showcases Nicole’s bold style of songwriting, laced with the level of inner vulnerability that she has reached. The second track, “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” gives way for Atkins’ vocals to soar over a slow, soothing piano play and energetic atmosphere that accelerates the flow of the album and lyrically portrays a level of inner liberation that is enticing and raw. “Listen Up” is the empowering third track that illustrates an ethereal vocal ambiance that is precise, intentional and healing, as she welcomes her insecurities and journeys through life’s slips and falls that have led her to a state of utter inner wholeness.
The title track, “Goodnight Rhonda Lee”, is an ode to a lost love and the former version of herself. Atkins holds the midnight blues tight and traverses through ancient mind states through the night. Knocking listeners off of their feet with a mellow mood and multitude of women-rock inspiration, “If I Could,” teases with temporary pleasure and the notion that there are certain individuals in life that are simply chapters to fill inner holes. “Colors” is the soothing sixth track that takes the album to a darker songwriting theme as Atkins aims to bring the focus back to love and light through black and gray hues. Keeping it as real as can be over the seventh track, “Brokedown Luck,” the empty echo of silence leads Atkins into a sensual outpouring and surge of truth that is trickling through the bones of a woman who faces her life’s circumstances exactly as they are.
Diving into the deep end of the ninth track, “I Love Living Here” (Even When I Don’t), she travels back to the meaningful center of a relationship that experiences raw frustrations while romanticizing remnants of the past that have led the soul partners relationship to last. Hypnotic instrumentals open the ninth track, “Sleepwalking,” in which the drive for independence and reliance on the greatest elements of oneself is apparent as Atkins is haunted by pieces of her intricate puzzle that have led her to inner troubles. “A Night of Serious Drinking” is the ninth track that takes the mood of the album into sheer passion as a night of introspection leads her consciousness toward clever inner constructions of a life of peace. Closing out the standout vocal and lyrical performance with “A Dream Without Pain,” careful confessions are brought to light as she finds clarity through burning the bridges that lead to a life of pain.
On the crescendo of commercial success that comes from pure and embodied talent beyond catchy tracks, Nicole is at her best throughout yet another lyrically and artistically compelling release. ‘Goodnight Rhonda Lee’ is the way to go for those that are inspirited by confronting their core, and pouring streams of soulful tears to overcome inner insecurities and fears.