At one point late last year, it was impossible to turn on the television without hearing the title track from Nikka Costa’s 2001 major label debut Everybody Got Their Something. The timing seemed both calculated and serendipitous—the exposure prepped Costa’s long in-the-works sophomore effort and simultaneously padded the singer-songwriter’s pockets while the album’s release date kept getting pushed back. Indeed, a lot has changed since 2001—as her manager, Randy Jackson, might say, the girl can blow, but a handful of other white girls with big voices have stormed the pop landscape since then, including Joss Stone, Kelly Clarkson, and the second coming of Christina Aguilera. At long last, can’tneverdidnothin’ sees the light of day, but it’s not the version Costa originally recorded. The first incarnation was reportedly too pop-friendly for her tastes, and Costa went back into the studio with producer/boyfriend Justin Stanley and touring partner Lenny Kravitz (who plays drums on three tracks), scaling back the turntable scratches, samples, and hip-hop beats that defined the striking and unique Everybody Got Their Something for more organic-grown productions. The album starts off rocky (pun intended), with lots to prove: the lead single “Till I Get To You,” which cleverly recounts 21 lovers alphabetically from A to U, and “Fooled Ya Baby” fall back on the kind of tired retro rock that went out with Lenny’s platforms. Thankfully, things get back on track by the middle stretch of the album, starting with “Around The World,” a pop-gospel toe-tapper filled with bells, strings, and murky moog bass, and while it’s not quite as immediate as “Like A Feather” or “Everybody Got Their Something,” the thick and funky “Swing It Around” would have made for a promising lead single. Costa channels one of her biggest influences, Prince, right down to the song’s provocative hook: “Swing it around and put it in here/Blow my mind and I’ll bend right over.” Costa got the chance to collaborate with her muse last year on a b-side to his “Call My Name” single, and if only Prince had returned the favor by contributing a little somethin’ to can’tneverdidnothin’, the album might have possessed the added oomph it probably needs to prevent another four-year hiatus.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: