What Tina Turner knew 30 years ago, Kina Cosper has rediscovered today. Beyond the stylistic straitjacket of high-gloss R. and B. and its numbing cliches (the champagne, the cell phones, the velvet-rope nightlife) is a real world of captivating but not always pretty emotions. Kina spent the mid-'90s singing in the pop R.-and-B. group Brownstone. Here she discards that bland sound for a pungent mixture of rock and soul that gives her hard, clear voice a surprisingly potent charge. She builds her songs around spare assertions of womanly independence, slamming the people who stood in her way or the lover who doubted her. These are the kinds of musical declarations that are more persuasive than a whole truckload of Dom Perignon.
--By David E. Thigpen