New Kids on the Block
The Block


1.5
very poor

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
September 2nd, 2008 | 29 replies | 10,872 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If New Kids On The Block’s reunion isn’t fueled by nostalgia, who exactly are they trying to appeal to?

Remember when the Backstreet Boys released Never Gone and hacks fell over themselves to be the 318th person to dub them “the Backstreet Men”? Three years on, the Boys’ bubblegum forebears New Kids On The Block have belatedly decided to follow suit and grow up. The Block, the New Kids’ first album in fourteen years, is positively packed with references, both explicit and implicit, to their newfound maturity: from titles like ‘Grown Men’ to the wafer-thin sexual metaphors of ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Sexify My Love,’ the latter of which makes Akon (who offers an obligatory guest spot later on the disc) look like the shrewdest of worldplay merchants by comparison. Which all begs the question: if the New Kids On The Block’s reunion isn’t fuelled by the nostalgia of their now 30+ fanbase, who exactly are they trying to appeal to?

Much as they attempted to do last time round, with 1994’s old-school rap-infused Face The Music (Youtube ‘Dirty Dawg’ for a piece of that foul-smelling pie), the New Kids are attempting to jump on the already-fading dancefloor r&b bandwagon, roping in the likes of Akon, Ne-Yo and Timbaland to add credibility to their latest venture. In this regard, The Block has more in common with Duran Duran’s clueless Timbaland/Timberlake-endorsed comeback Red Carpet Massacre than either of the Backstreet Boys’ recent efforts. Quite simply, The Block reeks of an attempt by an established act to capture a music style they have little or no understanding of. Dire genre experiments by the likes of David Bowie, Madonna and, yes, Duran Duran are proof enough that even the paths of the most innovative pop musicians are paved with epic miscalculations, but who on earth would place New Kids On The Block in that category?

The Block picks up where Face The Music left off, figuratively and literally, with the cumbersome handclap beat that leads into ‘Click Click Click,’ a wishy-washy synth-driven number that’s either about taking “mental shots” of a beautiful woman, or taking actual camera shots of a beautiful woman, or, like, cumming on her chest or something. In fact, the only thing (aside from my imagination) that rescues the track from complete monotony is Donnie Wahlberg’s brief rap, which manages to inject the final minute or so with some degree of urgency. Lead single ‘Summertime’ self-consciously harks back to the band’s late ’80s heyday, using backwards string samples to create a bright, sunshine vibe, while Joey McIntyre moronically hollers “Jones Beach, 1988!” in the background. The arrangement (self-produced) is slightly awkward, paying ill-advised deference to Timbaland’s heavy club synth signature, but the upbeat, feelgood melody more than makes up for that. Take note: it’s the one time The New Kids truly sound comfortable on The Block.

Other high-points on the album include Ne-Yo’s star turn on second single ‘Single’ (during which producer Polow De Don replicates his own “If you ain’t got no money, take your broke ass home” catcall from Fergie’s ‘Glamorous’) and Akon’s predictably sleazy take on ‘Put It On My Tab’- in fact, it’s easy to forget that the New Kids even appear on the latter, such is the Senegalese’s totalitarian presence and flagrant abuse of all vocoder- and taste-related laws. However three decent singles does not the memorable album make, and while Akon can get away with saying whatever stupid shit pops into his head (“hey Mr. Bartender, please make me a pina colada- hold the alcohol please!”), when the New Kids On The Block ask Lady G to “drop it to the floor, let’s get raw,” the correct response is always “Ew.” Let’s call it The R. Kelly Factor.

Like Red Carpet Massacre, The Block is proof that it requires more than the best producers and songwriters to make good pop music: it stands to reason that when creepy middle-aged men try to make smooth sex music, they inevitably wind up making creepy sex music. And if there were ever three words that best describe The Block, they’d be “creepy sex music.”



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user ratings (25)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
bastard
September 2nd 2008



3435 Comments


hahahahahaha

excellent review spat, this sounds so bad.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2008



2658 Comments


Which all begs the question: if the New Kids On The Block’s reunion isn’t fuelled by the nostalgia of their now 30+ fanbase, who exactly are they trying to appeal to?

30+ year-old fanbase, or 30+ total fans? Give them some credit, man!
it stands to reason that when creepy middle-aged men try to make smooth sex music, they inevitably wind up making creepy sex music.

:lol:This Message Edited On 09.02.08

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2008



15728 Comments


I connect with this band more from the LFO song than any New Kids on the Block material =/

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Poet
September 2nd 2008



5921 Comments


I think it's creepy that these guys are making the same music they did 15 plus years ago, and they are between the ages of 35 and 39.

marksellsuswallets
September 2nd 2008



4848 Comments


My first reaction to this was, "Oh dear God why?" Then I immediately stopped caring...
I had no idea they were reuniting...

SpinLightTwo
September 2nd 2008



1029 Comments


I find it creepy that Wahlberg did Saw not too long ago and then for some reason returns to this.

charlesfishtitz
September 2nd 2008



784 Comments


donnie is a cutie

Polaris
September 2nd 2008



246 Comments


I find it creepy that Wahlberg did Saw not too long ago and then for some reason returns to this.


I think that it's even worse considering that he did Band of Brothers.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 2nd 2008



7926 Comments


what the hell kind of album cover is that

marksellsuswallets
September 2nd 2008



4848 Comments


I think they were going for an Ocean's 11 type deal with that one...

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2008



20856 Comments


I'm eagerly awaiting a Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch comeback.
Very good review Dave. You tried to find the positives.

AggravatedYeti
September 3rd 2008



7684 Comments


this is terrible

...not the review -- bravo.

AtavanHalen
September 3rd 2008



17927 Comments


You there. Shut up.

Steerpike
September 3rd 2008



1860 Comments


I haven't heard this band mentioned since Seanbaby stopped making fun of them in favor of dissing Phil Collins.

Guys, just skip the reunion tour and go straight to the heroin.

IAmInsect
September 3rd 2008



3800 Comments


glad to see chickenbitch joined the thread

poweroftheweez
September 3rd 2008



1290 Comments


"6. Grown Man (feat. Pussycat Dolls)"
haha. Great review.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 3rd 2008



7926 Comments


Summertime is good but the fact that the rest of this album isnt doesn't surprise me at all. This Message Edited On 09.03.08

TimeToTurnTheTide
September 3rd 2008



208 Comments


These guys were poor in their heyday and, as such, this must be terrible

bastard
September 3rd 2008



3435 Comments


Spat you're so ... ****ing lame. You think, honestly that this album holds 7 kinds of awesome? Please, tell me you're kidding.


yeah... except for the fact that he gave it a 1.5. retard.

foreverendeared
September 4th 2008



14678 Comments


my sister went to a boys to men concert and then the next day a NKOTB concertThis Message Edited On 09.04.08



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