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CD Review: Nikka Costa's Pebble to a Pearl

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The Deal: Funky, rockin' soulstress releases her third U.S. album.

The Good: She first hit American radio/MTV with the single "Like a Feather," which conjured up images of a female Lenny Kravitz – through both sound and visuals. Costa's sound on this latest effort ranges from soul to rock – having an Amy Winehouse-esque vibe on "Stuck on You," sounding more like Tina Turner on "Can't Please Everybody," finding the funk of Parliament on "Keep Pushin'" and conjuring up a bit of Kravitz on "Keep Wanting More." There seems to be a good bit of '70s style flowing through the majority of the album, whether it be as a funk riff, a soul groove or even a disco beat. Costa's vocals range from the soft and sweet to the low and powerful.

The Bad: The most likely reason for Costa's failed success on a worldwide scale is her diversity – which really isn't a bad thing. She goes from funk to soul, from R&B to rock, so her fans will have to be interested in all genres. Sure, her voice is the glue that holds it all together, but the music varies quite a bit.

The Verdict: She had a No. 1 European single at age 9, sporadic success in the States with soundtrack and TV songs, as well as a radio hit or two, but still most people don't pay attention. It's about time to open your ears to Costa.

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