When former Eighties and Nineties superstars are in search of a sixteenth minute of fame, VH1 offers a slightly less desperate alternative to leaking sex tapes and adopting children. Jordan Knight, a former New Kid on the Block, took a stab at reality-TV redemption on VH1 shows The Surreal Life and The Surreal Life: Fame Games. But Knight, shy and reluctant to participate, just didn't have the wacky extroversion to make it work. So he's sticking to his forte: love songs -- which is also the name of his latest album, released last year. But this isn't Knight's first attempt to revive his career. He was back on the charts briefly in 1999 with the single "Give It to You," a dancey number that won over teen girls and peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100.
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Love Songs aims for a more mature audience. The first single is -- get ready for this one -- a sensitive ballad, also featuring former mall-circuit pop star Deborah Gibson. You don't even have to listen to the track, called "Say Goodbye," to know what it sounds like. The falsetto crooning, the trickling guitar chords, the heartbroken lyrics -- all the unmistakable marks of adult contemporary cheesiness are in place to pacify the listener/victim. The rest of the album follows suit with songs that are as polished and tame as Knight himself, who now sports a sexy sun-kissed spray tan and buff physique. Hey, kids have to grow up someday, and surely the crowd of swooning thirtysomethings will appreciate Knight's grown-up sound. -- Alexandra Quiñones