Release Date: Apr 2, 2013
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop
New Kids on the Block succeeded commercially with their 2008 comeback The Block, selling a respectable number of albums but, more importantly, establishing themselves as a concert attraction. It may have served its purpose as a career move but as a record, The Block was a little confused, a rather desperate and often vulgar attempt to position NKOTB as modern R&B hitmakers. That move didn't really work -- "Summertime" barely scraped the U.S.
One of the late ‘80s preeminent pop acts, New Kids on the Block reigned on the charts and foreshadowed the pre-millennial resurgence of the boy band and the teen pop star. As with many musical groups, success tends to fade or the musical union disbands. After a lengthy 14-year hiatus, New Kids on the Block released their first new album, 2008s The Block.
The mature boy band is a fast growing trend in the world of music, as demonstrated by Take That’s phenomenal comeback in 2010, which had many mothers and daughters screaming enthusiastically as one. New Kids On The Block, after secretly reforming in 2007 and – not so secretly – touring with The Backstreet Boys (yes, they’re back too) and releasing a new album in 2008, they’ve made 10, as if to say the reunion is no one-album wonder. Formed in 1984 by producer Maurice Starr, New Kids On The Block initially struggled to hit the big time with their debut album and were forced to regroup, creating as they did so music that presented their own style and yet still held that semblance of cheesy boy band lyrics.
One of the reasons Take That's comeback has been a record-breaker is that they have in their ranks a songwriter who has matured into a purveyor of elegant, grownup pop. New Kids on the Block, now on their second album since reuniting in 2008, aren't so lucky. They're a personality-driven outfit (remember the antics of naughty old Donnie Wahlberg?) who rely on outside songwriting help, in this case Danish team DeeKay.
The point isn't whether the boyband megalith whose faces hung on most 13-year-old girls' walls in 1989 have any decent songs, but that they're back (and have been since The Block in 2008) and now, neither new nor kids, are here for Chardonnay-happy fans to weep over lost legwarmers and innocence. There's a serviceable hit nonetheless in Remix (I Like The), and the itchy R&B of Jealous (Blue) has some appeal, but the purest joy comes from rap so bad that you'll want to play it for everyone you know: the whispered "we got crazy issues/poppin' up like tissues" on Miss You More makes Bieber sound like Rakim. .