April 07, 2020
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NKOTBSB, ‘NKOTBSB’ (Sony Legacy)


Like an aging NBA star chasing one last championship ring before retirement, the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys have joined forces in the winter of their music careers.

The boy band supergroup’s album, “NKOTBSB,” feels like one last-ditch effort for these two acts to stay relevant in an industry that has left them in the dust. If this album is any indication, the New Kids and Backstreet Boys have no interest in trying to keep up with the fast-paced music world, instead opting to reminisce on their heyday, like a 50-year-old who still wears his varsity jacket with pride.

There was a time when millions of teenage girls would scream at the top of their lungs for these nine guys. Those times, when BSB member A.J. McLean could get away with wearing a cowboy hat, or sport a slim goatee, are over. NKOTB’s Donnie Wahlberg is no longer the “bad boy,” but an actor who plays a cop on TV.

The real problem, however, is that “NKOTBSB” is nothing more than a best-of album, with only one new track (“Don’t Turn Out the Lights”) and a messy “mash-up” titled “NKOTBSB Mash Up,” which sounds more like selected bits of noise from both bands’ favorite tracks. This album is pretty much a marketing tool to promote the supergroup’s tour, where they will likely make some serious money.

Real NKOTB and BSB fans already have all these tracks, and certainly neither band is growing their audience. The teenagers who once cried waiting in line for albums and tickets have aged, just as the bands have. What was once music to make young girls dance is now a trip down memory lane for cougars.

Sing it for the cougars, guys.

If this boy band supergroup formula is successful, maybe we’ll see more groups take a swing at it. I can see it now, Boyz II Men and B2K join forces to create Boyz2K. Now that’s an album worth buying.

“NKOTBSB”? Not so much.


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