“I am a woman with a mission and a past to outdo,” sings Nikka Costa on “So Have I for You.” Indeed, no truer words could be spoken. Costa’s mission is music and she does it well, but her past includes a pedigree that’s more than intimidating: her father composed for the finest (Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand) and her godfather was none other than Frank Sinatra. Yet with Everybody Got Their Something, Costa proves she’s in a class all her own, belting out original torch songs that would impress Dad while, with the help of producer Justin Stanley, spinning out a hybrid of rock and funk unique to her generation.
Everybody is influenced as much by the Beastie Boys’s brand of punk-infused hip-hop as it is by the Rat Pack. The album’s lead single, “Like a Feather,” is Costa’s funked-up “Let It Be,” calling on a passive view of the universe: “I could come on strong and willful/But I’d rather watch it fall to the palm of my hand.” Similarly, “Tug of War” fuses Costa’s caged rage with New Age wisdom: “We’re only trying to remember what we chose to forget.” The track truly rocks, building to a climax of scratches, horns and flawless string samples.
As hard as it rocks, the album’s quieter moments are just as sublime. Costa’s xylophone loops its way through the lulling rhythms of “Corner of My Mind” while atmospheric mellotron effects ebb beneath the singer’s hypnotic vocal on the musically tight “Push & Pull.” But it’s the bass-driven disco/funk rhythm of songs like “Everybody Got Their Something” that will likely give Costa her own name. Like she says in the title track, “There’s a time for every star.” And this time it might just be hers.