New Kids On The Block Cause Critics Everywhere To Overuse The Phrase “The Right Stuff”

Dan Gibson | September 2, 2008 1:00 am

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. After the jump, we look at the reactions to the comeback album by former mall-fillers New Kids on the Block, The Block, which arrives in stores today.

• “Considering Top 40’s predilection for unlined young faces, The Block‘s unexpected quality is no guarantee of a commercial rebirth for NKOTB, who play the Staples Center on Oct. 8. Believe it or not, though, they’ve got the right stuff.” [LA Times]

• “And there’s a bona fide smash-in-waiting with ‘Put It on My Tab,’ a T-Pain-styled club song helmed by Akon that is sure to make even the staunchest haters do a double-take. The Block may not break any ground musically, but it’s actually strong enough to make people reconsider the New Kids’ entire career and wonder what will come next.” [Newsday]

• “‘Summertime’ isn’t ‘Hangin’ Tough,’ but it’s totally ’80s. The Richard Marx piano intro, dated synth patches and corny-but-catchy melody mix with a youthful, retro innocence. And that little doo-wop falsetto breakdown, like, totally rules. It’s a false innocence to go with these older Kids’ false youth, but it’s got a hook. And after all, no one wants to hear Donnie rhyme about refilling Rogaine and Nexium prescriptions.” [Boston Herald]

• “Several ’80s references turn up, as in ‘Swayze,’ a clever reference to the movie “Dirty Dancing,” and the single ‘Summertime,’ which openly courts nostalgia. But the now old kids don’t have to look back to make a connection. A cut like ‘2 In The Morning,’ with its airy Marvin Gaye allusion, has the kind of melody that proves they’ve once again got the right stuff.” [NY Daily News]