Jordan Knight

Love Songs

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Suggesting New Kids on the Block's reunion couldn't come quick enough, Jordan Knight's 2006 third solo album, Love Songs, appeared to indicate that the boy band's lead singer was suffering from a severe case of writer's block. Following 2004's Jordan Knight Performs..., his first release on Trans Continental Records was his second consecutive LP to eschew the credible R&B of his eponymous debut and instead focus almost entirely on cover versions. However, while its predecessor attempted to rework his own teeny bopper back catalog, Love Songs sees Knight tackle the romantic ballads of his '80s heyday. But apart from substituting the iconic saxophone solo for an overwrought guitar on George Michael's first solo single, "Careless Whisper," adding a slick urban beat to an interpretation of Phil Collins' "One More Night," and providing a touch of flamenco on a retooling of the Force M.D.'s' quiet storm classic "Tender Love," Knight misses the opportunity to make these songs his own, opting instead to play it straight on renditions of the Cars' "Drive," which is subjected to a hideously tinny, miniature-Casio keyboard-style arrangement; "She's Got a Way," which adheres to the same stripped-back piano-led formula of the Billy Joel original, and bizarrely, the 1940s Christmas classic "Little Drummer Boy," which feels like it's wandered in from an entirely different album altogether. Knight fares much better on the five original compositions, such as the Lonestar-esque country-rock of "Where Is Your Heart Tonight," co-written by former 98 Degrees' Jeff Timmons, the James Blunt-ish brooding pop of "I Wish," and the prettily melodic AOR of "Say Goodbye," a duet with another quintessential '80s pop icon, Debbie Gibson, all of which suggest that if Knight had spent more time focusing on his music career instead of wasting time on reality shows like The Surreal Life, Love Songs might not have turned out so formulaic. Instead, it's the sound of an artist stuck in a creative rut, and although there are brief glimpses of his impressive falsetto vocals on the likes of Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You," and songwriting talent on the clattering, guitar-charged R&B of "Have You," it fails to develop the promise of his debut.

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