April 23, 2001 12:00 PM

Ginuwine (Epic)

On his first two multiplatinum albums, 1996’s Ginuwine: The Bachelor and 1999’s predictably titled 100% Ginuwine, the acetylene-hot torch singer (genuine name: Elgin Lumpkin) hitchhiked a ride to the top of the charts with R&B producer Timbaland (Aaliyah). Ginuwine’s silky, seductive vocals purred beside Timbaland’s jagged, hyper-kinetic beats to create a uniquely edgy R&B sound. On his third CD Ginuwine remains in excellent voice, but there’s something missing—and its name is Timbaland. Here, Ginuwine also collaborates with the more pedestrian (albeit highly successful) producers behind recent hits by Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. The result is as solid as a brick wall but only slightly more exciting. There are flashes of the old sass and sexiness (notably on the single “There It Is” and the grinding “That’s How I Get Down”). But in an apparent attempt to win an even wider audience, some of The Life has gone out of his act.

Bottom Line: Ginuwinely commercial

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