Friday, September 05, 2008

Album Review: New Kids on the Block - The Block (3/5)


After staggering 14 years apart, New Kids on the Block return with their sixth studio album simply titled, The Bock. It's their first offering since 1994s, Face the Music. Understandably no longer kids, NKOTB's music is naturally updated, seamlessly more adult--entering a more urban adult contemporaneity territory. Whilst, The Bock is a slick run of contemporary R&B songs--it does feel as though their trying to compensate their younger days, which is tad awkward considering now every member is verging on 40 years old or younger.

In a probably concentrated attempt to comeback relevant, The Block, has 5 featured guests, most of which are the hottest in the industry right now. R&B singer, Ne-Yo helps out on the mellow, click and piano strung, "Single" (the song is set to feature on Ne-Yo's forthcoming third studio album titled, Year of the Gentleman). Possibly the best song the album--nice vocals, great melody, I love this, although I would like to hear the Ne-Yo only version. Lady GaGa shows up on the thundering synth backed, "Big Girl Now" which is a shameless attempt at hip-hop. It's a nice upbeat cut, (definitely not as bad as the stuff on, Face the Music) maybe without Ms. GaGa this wouldn't have the freshness it has--and would sound like a bunch of perverted men murmuring provocative lyrics like ("your a big girl now, yeah that's for sho', your booty like woah").

Nicole Scherzinger... I mean The Pussycat Dolls, pops up on, "Grown Man" another song about admiring the female figure, with Nicole seductively singing ("do you like my body"). Last of the notable features is Akon who shows up on the breezy, "Put It On My Tab" this should've featured T-Pain, instead of Akon (even though he produced the song) but it seems more T-Pain's venture, Akon sounds a tad out of place.

It's unfortunate to point out that where the album falls short is the tracks where NKOTB sing alone. "Click Click Click," is a mellow, handclap and faint bleep composition--not really building up to anything, lacking any notable melody and the lazy vocals don't help. "Sexify My Love," sounds really dated (very late 90s and early 00s) and a forced attempt to contemplate at their heartthrob days, falling very short. Boyband with Boyband, New Edition pop up on, "Full Service" this isn't bad, pounding a thunderous bassline, but it seems more of a grower.

The worst song on the album is, "Light Camera Action"; I do get the appeal of the song--maybe if it was sung someone else, but this is just terrible. No melody--lazy vocals--backed stupid analog synths.

The lead single, "Summertime" is nice summery track, with nice breezy chorus--not a knockout but still a decent song. "2 In the Mornin'" (I'm getting tired of songs with these kind of titles, soon where going to have the whole early mornin' scheme) It's a nice piano backed number, but still remaining somewhat upbeat. "Dirty Dancin'," is a great upbeat, bump n grind number; I love the stutter of ("d-d-dirty dancin'") it works well on here.

The album closes with 2 ballads, "Stare At You" and "Close to You" which both ironically have the same running time (3:34). Their nice ballads, and the sound really good. The Bock, is both a decent comeback album and a disappointment, although I've really been of NKOTB (They weren't around when I was growing up) I have listened to their previous albums, released in the 80s and early 90s and if ranked their albums this would probably enter somwhere near the bottom of the pile (rivalling, Face the Music).

Best: Single, Dirty Dancin', Summertime, Stare At You, 2 In the Mornin'

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