New Kids return to the Block

Alexa Addleman

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Though the members of the group are neither new nor kids, New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) have again proved to be the same soulful group that they’ve always been – since 1986. No longer teenage heartthrobs, the band has moved on to a slightly older audience and aims to fill them with nostalgia for their leg-warmer-wearing past.

Bringing the late ’80s into the 21st Century, NKOTB again combines cheesy yet time-tested lyrics with infectious club beats and harmonies in their newest album “10.” This is their third album since their comeback in 2008, and though it is not a technical masterpiece, it feels fun and is an easy listen if taken lightheartedly. From the opening track, “We Own Tonight,” their electric spirit shows that although the words are simple, they have matured to match their target audience. Songs like “Jealous (Blue)” reveal more adult themes, yet remain highly danceable. NKOTB has moved from the stage to the club, but the members retain the vulnerability of their youth.
The clear hit from the album is “Remix (I Like The),” which sounds surprisingly modern coming from a group that is slightly dated. From “Take My Breath Away,” which is similar to the mindless thumping heard in Abercrombie stores, to songs like “Miss You More,” “Wasted On You,” and “Survive You” that all portray the groups as veterans of heartache, this album uses emotion in a more inventive way than they ever have before.
Of course, the high point of this album is the rapping. Taking some tips from Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” NKOTB bridge many songs with sensitive whisper-rapping that can’t be taken seriously. Nonetheless, NKOTB have proved that they are undoubtedly back and ready to own the whole neighborhood.
New Kids on the Block plans to tour in the United States with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men this summer.