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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


New Kids ‘block’ed on reunion album

Fourteen years is more than ample time for an artist to
mature, both in terms of personality traits and of sound. And so, New Kids on
the Block, perhaps the blueprint (or the blame) for the boy band explosion some
years ago, are back with their new disc The
, their first album since 1994’s Face
the Music.

But, wait, what? Maturity? From a boy band? The one with
Donnie Wahlberg? Never mind, this is some sort of sick joke. Or, it may very
well be the best satire of pop music this decade. If it is the latter, then
kudos to whomever dreamt the concept.

More than likely, however, the former is true, which is to
say, this record is a literal atrocity to the ears. The Block fails so completely in whatever endeavor it was
attempting that the rubble left behind in its wake can’t be salvaged for
playground gravel.


The song titles alone are the most ridiculous of the year.
“Sexify My Love” is, of course, the dumbest of the lot, with “Click Click
Click” coming in at a very close second. Both songs, like the rest of the
album, are fourth-rate attempts to use the trendy urban pop/R&B sound: background
synths, a very simple beat holding the song together and vocoder, vocoder,
vocoder. The songs run together so much so that the album is one worthless pile,
courtesy of Universal. Keep in mind that these songs — aimed at teens and preteens
— are being sung by guys pushing 40.

Since the “instrumentals” of the songs are so similar, the
lyrics are really the only thing separating one song from another. As a result,
this makes an odd album in that the lyrics become, perhaps incidentally, the
focus of the album instead of the music or the harmonies.

And why wouldn’t a boy band’s comeback album have a lyrical
focus with a line like “In your strapless sundress/ Kicking back, no stress/ As
long as we was together”? Guys in their late 30s employing the phrase “we was
together” is evidence enough that this record sucks something awful.

But perhaps a better example of the forehead-slappingly
moronic lyrics is found in the second single, “Single.” The song is a
(terrible) attempt at a pun on the word “single”, both in its meaning of a song
and of a girl’s relationship status. This is best exemplified in the incredibly
thought-provoking chorus, “Pretty mama, if you’re single, single/ You don’t
gotta be alone tonight/ So while the DJ play this single, single/ Just pretend
that I’m your man tonight.” The titular word loses all meaning by the second
chorus, and, by the end of the song it’s nothing but background noise. Ne-Yo’s
guest spot on the song only intensifies the suffering.

Despite all that, the album’s worst moment — and this is
really saying something — is “Grown Man,” due mostly in part to the Pussycat
Dolls’ chanting some dismal come-on during the chorus and some impressively
god-awful warbling during the bridge.

I’d like to be an optimist and suggest that this album could
be worse, but I’m just not sure it’s possible. Simply put, The Block is the sound of a little piece of humanity being

0 stars out of 5

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