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*** Jordan Knight, "Jordan Knight," Interscope.

May 24, 1999|MARC WEINGARTEN

Knight may have served his musical apprenticeship by doing the electric boogaloo in stone-washed jeans when he was a member of New Kids on the Block, but his debut album is such a giant step beyond the New Kids' boy-band pablum it should have its own ZIP code. Wisely, Knight decided to hook up with Janet Jackson's production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and that dynamic duo injects sonic sparkle into even the most workmanlike tracks. The first single, "Give It to You," is a corker that fuses a Timbaland-like stutter-step beat with electro-funk production. "A Different Party" throws the melody line from Sugarloaf's 1970 hit "Green Eyed Lady" into a hyped-up Miami Bass party. Too many ballads spoil the momentum, but this kid has clearly grown into his own man.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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