Stranger on Earth

If you're anxious to sink your ears into something other than music's usual cookie-cutter quicksand, then check out Lina's fine debut.

If you're anxious to sink your ears into something other than music's usual cookie-cutter quicksand, then check out Lina's fine debut. This young old-soul singer fuses R&B, hip-hop, big band, and jazz, resulting in a Cotton Club vibe also explored by Arista's Blu Cantrell. But Lina—whose voice recalls that of one of her influences, Billie Holiday—definitely holds her own, whether pairing with Boobonic of Philly's Most Wanted on the playful lead single "It's Alright" ("You don't even drive a Rover/You ain't rockin' no Jehovah"), seriously emoting on Dinah Washington's "Stranger on Earth," or rappin' to females about falling for the wrong males on "Batches." Given radio's narrowness, the album's bluesy/jazzy feel won't be something PDs immediately embrace. And after the retro-meets-contemporary novelty wears off, it will be interesting to hear what Lina can do the next time around.—GM