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No Authority

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Album Review

With their first album, No Authority was slightly ahead of the curve on the boy band fad; by the time they were able to get a second album out, they had fallen well behind. The Southern California vocal quartet attracted the attention of Michael Jackson's MJJ custom label and was teamed with writer/producer Rodney Jerkins for the debut Keep On. Jerkins gave the singers an R&B edge that already sounded dated when the album was released in November 1997, shortly after the Backstreet Boys broke through in the U.S. with "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)." But Jerkins' production was better than No Authority's uncertain vocal performance. The album disappeared, along with one of the group members and the MJJ contract, and the still-teenaged trio that remained looked like instant has-beens. The ascension of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync probably saved them from careers in fast food, but the boy band field quickly began filling up. They hired a new member and signed to Madonna's Maverick label, which had them slavishly copy the Backstreet/'N Sync sound on this, their second album. (Naming the disc after the group seemed a deliberate attempt to mark a new beginning.) Herbie Crichlow, Swedish partner of leading teen pop songwriter Max Martin and co-author of "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)," co-wrote three tracks and produced one, and the Danish team of Cutfather and Joe (Ace of Base, Aqua) handled another four. The result was the by-now painfully familiar dance pop style of icy keyboards, programmed drums, multiple lead vocals, and swirling harmonies, all in the service of songs in which a narrator pleads with a female known only as "girl" for her affections. The group's modest vocal abilities were discreetly augmented with singers whose names were buried in the album credits, and much improvement was noticeable.

By the time the album was released, "What I Wanna Do" (one of the Crichlow songs) had been in heavy rotation on Radio Disney for months, and "Can I Get Your Number," dangerously similar to the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," had been out as a single for four weeks, setting up the album well. The group had opened dates for Britney Spears and was set for a Nickelodeon tour. At the very least, they would have another chance, and second chances are rare in the music business.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

No Authority was formed as a male vocal quartet in the early '90s in Southern California, consisting of lead singer Ric Felix (aka Ricky Godinez and later billed as Ricky G), born December 2, 1980, in San Bernadino, CA; lead singer Josh Keaton, born February 8, 1979, in Pasadena, CA; singer/rapper Danny Zavatsky, born June 1, 1982, in Long Beach, CA; and singer Eric Stretch, born June 22, 1980, in Yorba Linda, CA. After they had been performing locally for a few years, their manager, Richard Walters...
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No Authority, No Authority
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