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Dirty Little Secret

Stella Soleil
Dirty Little Secret

Playful, sexy, coy, coquettish and a little bit wicked, this blonde bombshell from Chicago dances the line between twinkly, tingly pop and edgy rock by combining powerful hooks, dazzling electronics and energetic dance beats. A big star in the making, Soleil co-wrote the songs on her debut album with such notables as Thom Panunzio (the Go-Gos, Joan Jett), Brian Rawlings (Cher) and Tony Swain (Bananarama). Her fresh vocals invite comparisons to everyone from Gwen Stefani to Crystal Waters, from Jewel to Madonna circa "Lucky Star." Though the first single, "Kiss Kiss," is a cover of a Turkish song, the other 11 numbers on the album were selected from close to 50 songs written and recorded over a two-year period in various European cities. Her vivacious style is instantly familiar and utterly irresistible. (Sarah Quelland)

Everybody Got Their Something

Nikka Costa
Everybody Got Their Something
Cheeba Sound/Virgin

Last November, Chris Rock wisely avoided concluding the four-year run of his HBO talk show with a sentimental Kathie Lee-style farewell speech and opted to close with a slamming live performance by a feisty little white chick in bell-bottom military fatigue pants named Nikka Costa. The Tokyo-born, L.A.-based soul singer, a star in Australia, Europe and South America, made her American TV debut belting out the funk-rock gem "Like a Feather," the catchy kickoff track on her first stateside album. Costa's gut-bucket delivery has been compared to Janis Joplin's, but her style is more reminiscent of the multitasking Teena Marie: she also co-wrote and co-produced all her songs, including the title track, a standout homage to Sly and the Family Stone. Costa wisely placed all the down-tempo ballads, like "Push & Pull," at the end of the album; while they're way more tolerable than the average treacly Diane Warren-penned power ballad, they're skippable fare. If you're a fan of "Like a Feather," you'll keep hitting "Repeat" for the funky stuff. (Jim Aquino)

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From the June 14-20, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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