Music

New Kids on the Block: 10

10 arrives five years after New Kids on the Block's 2008 comeback effort, The Block.


New Kids on the Block

10

Label: The Block
US Release Date: 2013-04-02
UK Release Date: 2013-04-02
Amazon
iTunes

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. While the album was not a commercial hit, it debuted strongly in respect to a lengthy hiatus, more importantly serving as the catalyst for the band to continue musical endeavors. The five-year gap between The Block and 2013s 10 is even gentler if 2011 compilation NKOTBSB is considered. 10 isn’t innovative by any means, but does deliver an album that attempts to maintain relevancy for the aging pop vets.

"We Own Tonight" starts the affair off solidly, characterized by adult contemporary pop production intact with pounding drums. The anthemic chorus easily eclipses the verses, helping to make "We Own Tonight" worthwhile. Single "Remix (I Like The)" is easily more fun, particularly given the throwback, old-school groove, somewhat reminiscent of the group’s '80s work. The songwriting is schmaltzy and somewhat narrow, particularly the ridiculous hook ("Ooh, ooh / I like the remix baby…"). Ultimately, however, "Remix" feels appropriate, particularly considering tongue-in-cheek songs seem vital to pop boy band success. "Take My Breath Away" follows, slowing the tempo on the verses only to adapt the trendy driving electro-/Europop-inspired cues on the refrain. Like "Remix" before it, "Take My Breath Away" is one of 10‘s best, regardless of its conformist script.

On "Wasted on You", intensity arrives later than sooner (the bridge specifically), raising the question of the soundness of its pacing. "Fighting Gravity" is middle of the road, lacking in personality and feeling inauthentic and raising inquiry of so what?. "Miss You More" arrives timely, featuring lovely falsetto and superb vocals on the chorus: "Do you even know what you do to me / how I’m drowning in your memories? So what to breath, now that you’ve gone?" Well produced, strings add to the yearning lyrics. The sole detraction? The rap, errr, spoken-word vocal seems a bit awkward.

For "The Whisper", conformity to modern pop doesn’t do much for it, yielding a rather unremarkable, filler cut. "Jealous (Blue)" isn’t complete atonement, but some thoughtful production cues and vocal moments make things better. "Crash", another stab at modern pop is a huge, manic adrenaline rush. Corny as it is, the driving dance-pop cut somehow manages to suit the sensibilities of New Kids. "Back To Life" goes lighter while "Now Or Never" mixes acoustic-guitar driven pop with hip-hop cues. "Survive You" closes, switching from the typical 4/4 grooves to lilting 6/8. "I can’t pretend that I don’t love you anymore / I can’t be friends cause it hurts like it’s never hurt before," the boys sing on the refrain. A contrasting hidden track is featured on the back half of the cut.

10, when it’s all said and done, lacks exceptionalness, polish, and memorableness. It is an album that does just enough to retain New Kids on the Block in the spotlight, but more clearly reflects that NKOTB’s prime and hits have long passed. 10 is an album for the fans who have followed the band since their days as kids, not one that has the juice to breakthrough to the new generation of listeners.

5

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image