So, I’m about to reveal to you a problem I have that only a few know about: I cannot scream. That’s right, I can’t yell really loud at anything. I can raise my voice, I can get angry, but for some reason, I really can’t scream out loud. It’s hard to explain what actually happens when I try to — I mean, I just can’t condition myself to actually do it. So of course, today, when I heard “Summertime” (download) – the first single from the reunited New Kids on the Block — I naturally had to call up my BFF Suzy so she could just do all the screaming for me (what? It’s totally fine for a 32-year-old man to have a BFF). For like 15 minutes we went back and forth trading “Oh my God like totally” and “they’re so dreamy” statements. It’s was like 1989 all over again!Okay, so I admit I’m stretching the truth a bit there at the end, but it’s hard to be serious when you’re a grown man that has just listened to Jordan Knight sing for the 10th time in the span of an hour.
As you might have heard by now, New Kids on the Block are back. On May 13th, they are releasing their new single “Summertime,” with hopes of a fall album and a scheduled tour. But thanks to this little Internet thing here, I can listen to the song early! And I mean, who wouldn’t want to? This has all the makings of a smash hit, and by that I’m trying to say that it’s complete nonsensical dribble. I swear, if T-Pain were on it, it would be #1 tomorrow. Hell, it might not need any help because you know, as really (and I mean really) sad as this might be, I was actually looking forward to hearing this for the first time. I just listened to Slayer in the car today, and yet here I am creaming myself over the thought of hearing the New Kids reunite. And I swear to you that now I am absolutely not stretching the truth at all.
Here’s the reality of it all: Most people will simply wonder what crazy-ass person thought this was a good idea, but this absolutely needed to happen. Let’s break this down: Jonathan Knight was a real estate agent and Danny Wood has released three albums that no one has ever heard. Joey McIntyre had a decent hit off his solo debut, but has since dropped into musical obscurity as well. Jordan Knight’s self-titled solo record was shockingly okay and he also scored a hit with the song “Give it to Me,” but his 2006 cover record was gasping for air. And then there’s Donnie Walhberg, who has built a decent acting career out of parts in The Sixth Sense and the great TV show Boomtown. At the same time, though, I don’t really know if “decent” pays the bills — and I may be mistaken, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is really knocking down his door, either. Put all these things together and the writing was on the wall for these guys to get back together again.
Now, of course, one would think the best time for this would have been back when *Nsync and Backstreet Boys were tearing up your hearts, but that would have been too easy. Instead, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to wait until the boy band is out of fashion so they can corner the market. And what better way to do it then have them sing the same bullshit teenage lyrics they did 20 years ago, but as grown men? And hey, despite the fact that back in 1994 they changed their name to NKOTB because they grew out of the “kids” label, somehow they seem to have grown back into the full name once again.
The more I type, the more I just see the words “Super Blockbuster Summer Hit” coming from this. I mean, who didn’t need the 800th song called “Summertime”? And just shut your eyes and listen to this poetry – “with your flip-flops, half-shirt, short shorts, mini-skirt/walking on the beach so pretty/you wasn’t looking for a man when you saw me in the sand/but you fell for the boy from the city.” If this is all it takes to write a song these days, then we are all clearly in the wrong profession. I’m not going to lie at all, I can’t tell which one of the five is singing in 90% of this song…but the other 10% is clearly Jordan. At least back in the day I could tell when little Joey Mac was belting out some shitty off-key note; now these men sound like one person.
So I’ll say it one more time. Given the state of popular music today, everything I’ve said above absolutely translates into mega-hit song status. And here’s the ultimate kicker: Despite the creepy thought of Danny Wood hitting on bikini-clad beach girls with inane lyrics, I fucking like the track. Every ounce of me wants to hate it, but in the end, someone has to write songs that 15-year-olds will make out to, so who better to do it than five guys in their 30s? (God, that even sounds bad.)