Picks and Pans Review: Level Ii

UPDATED 03/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

BlackStreet (Dream Works)

BlackStreet's fourth effort is a sequel of sorts to its second disc, 1996's Another Level, the R&B vocal quartet's biggest-selling CD and the one that spawned the No. 1 hit "No Diggity." The new album reteams the same lineup featured on Another Level, with Mark Middleton back on the block after leaving to pursue a solo career. BlackStreet is still masterminded by producer-member Teddy Riley. However, his jittery, popping street beats, which were so fresh back in 1996, sound somewhat dated on uptempo tracks like "Wizzy Wow" (featuring rapper Mystikal). BlackStreet is better off on melody-driven ballads such as the pretty, acoustic-guitar-laced " Bygones," which, for one soulful song, reunites the group with original member-gone-solo Dave Hollister.

BOTTOM LINE: A middling Level

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