JC Chasez is *NSYNC with sex in solo debut

New on CD

Music: in concert, CDs

March 04, 2004|By Jim Abbott | Jim Abbott,ORLANDO SENTINEL

These songs go out to the ladies in the house.

JC Chasez can't get you off his mind. He's been watching you dance together. He's burning for you, going crazy, learning how to fly, loving all night strong, coping with a fire inside, which might account for all that burning.

"All day long I dream about sex," he says in the song with the same title, from his solo debut, Schizophrenic. "All night long I think about sex. All the time I think about sex with you."

That's a mission statement on Schizophrenic, which makes you think that maybe the wrong *NSYNC guy was dancing with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl. The way Chasez sounds makes you wonder whether he might have ripped off part of his own wardrobe, too.

"Don't want the animal inside to be contained," he sings in "100 Ways," a passion trip with stops at the shower and the kitchen counter. "I'll be your Superman, you play Lois Lane."

Flames and burning desires are everywhere on these 17 songs, which include the not-fit-for-the-NFL "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)." There's nothing subtle about "Come to Me," with its reference to self-gratification, or other come-ons:

"I lust for you, electric lady," Chasez confesses on "Mercy." "All of my fire, all of my burning desire is for you." He also reminds us that it's not easy being so hot all the time: "It's the insanity eating at the man in me."

The theme is one-dimensional more than insane, but at least the music approaches the craziness the title suggests. Uncluttered accompaniment bounces effectively enough from pop and sanitized rock to R&B and electronica to make Schizophrenic more sonically ambitious than Justin Timberlake's Justified.

What's best about Schizophrenic? The arrangements, which feature a pleasing amount of real instruments. Guitars figure prominently in a few songs that take Chasez out of the *NSYNC mold, whether it's the insistent introduction to the R&B workout "She Got Me," the rock riffage in "100 Ways" or the chunky acoustic rhythms behind "Something Special" or "Right Here (By Your Side)."

It sounds like Chasez and his raft of producers (Alex Greggs, Rockwilder and the Basement Jaxx, among them) had fun taking turns from 1980s New Wave influences into unexpected territories. Perhaps the oddest moment is when "Something Special" downshifts into a twangy country interlude. Is someone channeling Kid Rock?

Like his *NSYNC bandmate Timberlake, Chasez is capable of doing a credible Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson, which surfaces on "She Got Me." But he's also versatile enough to sound like Sting on the reggae ballad "Everything You Want" or like Seal on the big chorus of the melodramatic "Lose Myself."

Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much room for Chasez to assert his own style, whatever that might be. He's a fine singer in a technical sense, but he'd be a lot more appealing if he had a distinctive sound - and more than one thing on his mind.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

JC Chasez: Schizophrenic (Jive) ** 1/2

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