The New Kids on the Block have been "Hangin' Tough" for 14 years, but now they're back and better than ever with all " The Right Stuff ."
Even though the teeny-bopper fans of Joey McIntyre , Jordan Knight , Jonathan Knight , Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood are now career women and soccer moms, the boys' appearance and music on their reunion disk, "The Block," (released Sept. 2, 2008) now appeals to a new audience entirely.
With their "GQ" suits and their contemporary R&B sound, the band is truer to their style now than when they were pounding out the hits in the early '90s.
The boys finally ventured into the world of hip-pop just as they said they always wanted to do but never had the chance. And even though their second single, "Single," featuring Ne-Yo should really be called "Ne-Yo featuring McIntyre with an occasional rap by Wahlberg," the song has an urban freshness to it that anyone can and will groove to in the club.
Another prominent theme of this album seems to be "strictly sexy" now that the boys have, ahem, matured. This sultry smoothness undoubtedly came from the influence of the album's producers: Ne-yo ( Rihanna ), Red One (Brandy) and Akon ( Colby O'Donis ).
The only ballad on the album, "Stare at You," positions Jordan Knight's high falsetto to be utilized in a way that will remind late '90s R&B/soul fans of singer, D'Angelo. That's the form of burning candles burning and rising temperatures type of sexy listeners can handle.
But then, on "Full Service" (magically featuring other '90s boy band rival, New Edition ) and "Lights, Camera, Action," the Kids compare their love-making qualities to car services and movie productions, singing, "You can hit the lights / I'll set up the camera / Let's get to the action."
And the sexual innuendos only get worse from there.
On the club-banging T-pain inspired dance track, " Dirty Dancing ," the Kids boast about how they "Wasn't tryin' to be dirty / Wasn't feelin' flirty / 'Til this shorty started grinding on me." Guess after all that grinding is over, they want this anonymous girl to "Sexify My Love," but not too much because Wahlberg's "Really gotta concentrate / 'Bout how I'm gonna consummate." Yes, he did just go there.
And as their voices blend together, and you can't tell which Kid is being more sexual than the other, they start to give fans a reason to be slightly grossed out by their ages.
On the electro-R&B influenced "Big Girl Now" featuring Lady GaGa , the Kids reminisce about a relationship that couldn't happen back in the day because the girl was too young.
But now, "To be a big girl/ You've got to prove it," and the younger GaGa's intense vocals seem more ready and willing than ever to show them how.
But if younger fans were wondering what it is that they need to do to grab the Kid's attention, The Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley answer that question on the '60s do-wop tune "Grown Man" when the Dolls ask the Kids, "Do you like my body?" The Kids respond with, "Girl you know I do / I'm a give you some grown man." Whatever that means. On second thought, maybe you don't want to know what that entails.
But despite all those sexually frustrated lyrics from five men pushing 40, the album is one P. Diddy dance party with a little Paris Hilton slutty-ness on the side. The new R&B genre suits them, and it's a shame that their first overtly pop-tastic single "Summertime" was a ploy to get old and new fans alike to jump on the New Kids bandwagon.
But that wasn't necessary. The Block is back, and they're bringing their party-pumping new beats to fans "Step By Step.