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Monday, June 7, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 146

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Jordan Knight gets soulful on debut album, sheds NKOTB sound

Jordan Knight

Jordan Knight

Available from: Interscope Records

Grade: B -

11 tracks, 50:22

By Jake McKim
Entertainment Editor 

Jordan Knight has been through all of this before. The success he experienced through the late '80s and early '90s with boy band New Kids on the Block prepared him for the tremendous popularity he is now experiencing. 

Knight's self-titled, solo debut effort is sure to sell millions of copies aided by the first single, "Give it to You," which is in heavy rotation on MTV and R&B and pop radio stations across the country.



Former New Kids on the Block star Jordan Knight goes solo on his self-titles debut CD, in stores now.

Kwaku Alston/Interscope Records

Knight wisely hooked up with superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who have worked with such high-profile artists as Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men and Babyface, giving his sound a soulful, R&B-laced feel that stays away from the cheesy, often-nauseating sound that eventually spelled the end for NKOTB.

Blending pop with R&B music seems to be the right formula for platinum-selling success, with artists such as Britney Spears, Robyn and boy bands 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys consistently sitting atop the music charts.

With beat-pumpin' tracks like "A Different Party," "Give it to You" and "Don't Run," Knight sheds his New Kids roots and shoots for more of an urban sound.

"Change My Ways" is a juvenile, teeny-bopper song, but Knight quickly gets back on track by showing off his vocal maturity on "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," written by Prince before his name change.

"Finally Finding Out" is a silky smooth ballad with a pulsating beat behind it, and "Close My Eyes" is an impressive, Boyz II Men-like track that is the type of song we are likely to see more of in Knight's future, once the pop fad fades away.

On "When You're Lonely," Knight eerily reverts back to the high, whiny sound he oftentimes used during his NKOTB days. He would have been better off leaving the song off the album.

The best cut on Jordan Knight is undoubtedly "Give it to You," which can energize any party with its extremely danceable beat.

Where Knight falls short is in his attempt to combine hip-hop and pop to please everyone. Knight succeeds most when he focuses on R&B, which is obviously where the bulk of his influence lies.

Knight soars when he combines with Jam and Lewis and falls a little when he tries to please the teen audience. 

My prediction: Look for much more personal, intimate material from Knight on future albums. For now, we'll have to settle for the sound experimentation of Jordan Knight.
 

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