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Hanging Tough

Former New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight relives his glory days at the Sidecar Pub

The year 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of NKOTB and the tenth anniversary of their demise. But this year has been decent to Knight, who emerged into the spotlight once again, if somewhat tentatively, both because of his role on the VH1 has-been reality TV show The Surreal Life, and for the remixed and revamped NKOTB double disc put out by Universal, called Jordan Knight Performs NKOTB.

"That was something I did in between time, like a hobby, not really for any kind of big promotion," he says of the backward-looking album. "Universal wanted to put it out, so I was like, 'Whatever, go ahead.' "

The singer's falsetto voice, once a favorite with the girls, has deepened and matured, but that doesn't mean he couldn't do the old songs. "I was doing a lot of the songs over, just to do them over," he says.

He's more eager to talk about his upcoming solo project, the March 2005 release On the Inside, which features the single "Try," a breakup song written when, he says, "there was a little shaky ground" between him and his girlfriend of ten years, who is also the mother of his five-year-old boy. "I'm older and in control of everything I sing now," he says of his new approach and the maturation of the themes in his music. "When I was younger, all the lyrics I sang were really sugary. The content of my lyrics has changed." Sadly, Knight should "Try" again -- the tone of the cut sounds like bad R. Kelly-style R&B. But Knight blames the system for the song's failure to draw more than 80 people out to see him. "Some people at the radio stations are really closed-minded and they only think certain formulas work," he says. "They don't think out of the box."

But it's not just radio programmers who can't think outside the box. Neither can Jordan Knight's fans. And the box he is in is stamped "1989" and filled with other stuff like prom dresses, high school yearbooks and pictures of younger, trimmer versions of their owners frolicking on spring break beaches without a care in the world. That's Knight's box, "4ever and ever," as it's scrawled in the yearbook pages.

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