Jordan Knight, Jordan Knight
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday: Jordan Knight, Jordan Knight

Lead singers going solo from their group is nothing new. Sometimes the solo venture happens when they are still with the group; other times, they wait until the group is on hiatus. Jordan Knight was the primary lead vocalist in the massively successful New Kids On The Block pop group. With a falsetto style modeled after the legendary Russell Thompkins Jr of The Stylistics, Knight led his group to numerous top-ten hits.

Knight wouldn’t release his debut solo album until five years after the group released their vastly underrated sixth album, 1994’s Face The Music. Boy bands had seen a resurgence in the late nineties as groups like NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys were dominating airwaves, so from a business standpoint, it made perfect sense for Knight and his bandmate Joey McIntyre to kick off their solo careers.

Knight’s self-titled debut album hit record stores on May 25th, 1999. For the first single, “Give It to You,” Knight linked up with the legendary Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and a then-unknown Robin Thicke. Knight was near his sound with the New Kids with the production of Jam & Lewis. However, Jordan was now 29, meaning he could get a bit more risqué. Knight never goes into the territory of a disgraced R&B singer, but he does make his intentions known to the young grown woman he’s singing to.

The album’s second & final single was a considerable risk, and Jordan decided to cover Prince’s hit “I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man.” Jordan worked exclusively with Robin Thicke, and the duo turned it from a club banger into a tender ballad. Those who know the song can attest that it’s about a man initially letting a woman know he’s wrong for her, but Knight sells the material. Jordan’s voice makes the song his own without losing the message of a woman who lost her partner to abandonment.

The remainder of the album is an overall solid effort, with the producers getting the best out of Knight’s voice with creative production. “A Different Party” flips Sugarloaf’s Green-Eyed Lady into a funk number while guitar Kansas’s “Dust in the wind” gets the ballad treatment on “Close My Eyes.” Knight even finds time to link up his former bandmate Donnie Wahlberg for “Don’t Run.” A known Hip Hop Head, Wahlberg, Knight, and Thicke effectively sample “Shook Ones Part II)” by Mobb Deep on the track.

Although the album has a bit of filler, Knight’s vocal performance more than compensates for any clichés, if Knight’s goal was to prove that there is life beyond being a teenage idol, he succeeded.

 

Final Grade: B

Jordan Knight is available on all streaming platforms.

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