Personnel: New Kids on the Block (background vocals); RedOne (various instruments, programming, background vocals); Hakim Abdulsamad, Adam Messinger, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon (various instruments); Emanuel Kiriakou (keyboards, programming); Joe Wolfe (keyboards); Tyler Thurmond, Donnie Wahlberg (programming); Zukhan Bey (drum programming); Nasri Atweh, Joaquin Bynum, The Pussycat Dolls (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chris Godbey; Mark "Exit" Goodchild; Jean-Marie Horvat; Robert Orton; Adam Messinger.
Recording information: Chalice Studios, Hollywood, CA; Cybersound Studios, Boston, MA; Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; House Of Hits West, Studio City, CA; Night Bird Studio At The Sunset, West Hollywood, CA; No Excuses Studio, Santa Monica, CA; Sanctum Sound, Los Angeles, CA; Sunland Music Studio, Gambia; The Hit Factory, Miami, FL; ZAC Recording Studio, Atlanta, GA.
Editors: Matty Green; Pat Thrall.
Photographer: Olaf Heine.
One of the pioneering and best-loved boy bands of the 1980s, the New Kids on the Block in their prime represented rosy-cheeked cuteness and innocent puppy love. In the long, album-less interim between 1994's FACE THE MUSIC and 2008's THE BLOCK, the Kids did a lot of growing up. The intervening 14 years have rubbed the teenaged glow off the group's sound and sensibility, and replaced it with a club-oriented vibe that is more concerned with sexing its listeners up than charming them with nostalgia.
From the opener "Click Click Click," which details a homemade photo shoot, it's clear that the emphasis is on adult themes, while "Grown Man" and "Big Girl Now" also sing the praises of adult fun. The album's sonic make-up is taken from contemporary R&B, radio-ready hip-hop, and digitized club music (the solo releases of fellow boy-band alum Justin Timberlake seems to be a touchstone), and a roster of guests, including Akon, Lady Gaga, and the Pussycat Dolls, help update THE BLOCK. The Kids don't bear much resemblance to their old selves, but longtime fans may still thrill to hear their favorite boy band back again.