~ An Honest Attempt At Musical Growth by the NKOTB ~
Knyte | New York, NY | 07/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By early 1991, the ever shifting status of musical trends had begun to take its toll on the enormous popularity of the New Kids On The Block. Only two years before, the five boys from Boston were taking the U.S. (and the world) by storm with singles like "Please Don't Go Girl", and "The Right Stuff". The year was 1989, and by that summer, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" would be the group's first #1 hit, and would propel songs like "Cover Girl", "Didn't I Blow Your Mind (This Time", and "This One's For The Children" to the top of the charts.Then in June of 1990, the album 'Step By Step' would spawn the group's biggest single, which happened to share the same name of the album. After reaching this apex however, the NKOTB backlash was in "full effect" (to use a popular expression of the era). After the Beatle-esque (and sonically impressive) "Tonight", hit singles weren't really happening like they used to for the NKOTB. Dance pop music was rapidly going out of style, and droves of young music fans were now gravitating towards "harder" edged music like gangsta rap and alternative rock.Sensing this, Donnie Wahlberg led the group in coordinating this remix album, which fused the "harder" elements of hip-hop and urban dance into the New Kids' sound, resulting in an album I found impressive then, and still find consistent more than 10 years later. The best tracks on 'No More Games' were remixed by none other than Robert Clivilles and the late David Cole -- better known as the C&C Music Factory. Now let's get to the music:The album opens up with "Games", a track co-written by Donnie Wahlberg. Employing relatively convincing hip-hop samples, the jazziest riffs ever sung by Jordan Knight (until 1994's 'Face The Music'), and a curse word by Mr. Wahlberg himself, "Games" was a dramatic departure from the previously clean cut NKOTB look and sound (Jordan even grew facial hair for the video!). Then at the 1991 American Music Awards, Public Enemy member Flava Flav even joined the NKOTB onstage during their performance of "Games". After seeing that, it became crystal clear to this reviewer (who was 13 at the time) that the NKOTB were working hard to stay relevant."Call It What You Want" is a well done Shep Pettibone-ish (think "Vogue" or "Express Yourself" by Madonna) house track produced by C&C again, and features an intro rap from Freedom Williams, the buff dude on "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now!)". I consider "Call It What You Want" to be the New Kids' last hurrah in terms of singles from their initial run, and this is probably the best fast song on the album. To me, "Call It What You Want" is a flawless rendition of radio-friendly, melodic 90's house music.The album continues with a plush remix of "Please Don't Go Girl", with a smoldering saxophone accompianment. The "Cover Girl" remix samples audio bits from a Sports Illustrated documentary that works well in my view. But it's "Baby I Believe In You" that wins as my pick for what should have been a third single from this album. This is essentially a solo song by lead singer Jordan Knight, and I am quite sure it must be a fan favorite to this day...The "Hangin' Tough" remix is pretty bad actually, and whenever I listen to this CD during a spell of New Jack Era nostalgia, I skip this one without fail. However, the album picks up again with a C&C remix of "Step By Step" which is also another well done early 90's house reinterpretation. "My Favorite Girl" seemed to be the 'concert' song for this group, and some live elements are brought into this latin-ish remix (think Stevie B on this one). "Valentine Girl"...as juvenile as the title may sound, the vibe of the song is actually distinguished, featuring (admittedly awkward) baritone lead vocals by Danny Wood, sprinkled with Jordan Knight's signature falsetto. The "Right Stuff" remix is a very happy sounding reinterpretation that never fails to put me in a good mood. The remix for "Watcha Gonna Do About It" has an international feel (think Soul II Soul, with less "soul" though); this is also one of the more impressive remixes on the album, and sounds the most polished.Using the same sample as Eric B & Rakim did for "I Ain't No Joke", the "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" remix is a C&C creation that closes this album well. Featuring a nice vocal motif by Joe McIntyre, a rap section by Donnie Wahlberg, and lead vocals by a jilted Danny Wood, "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" communicates an intensity from the group that hadn't been heard up until this album. Perhaps that intensity came from a burning need on the part of the guys (especially Donnie Wahlberg) to prove themselves as worthy of both critical and commercial popularity...and not just legions of screeming girls.But in the end, this album may have been too little, too late. By the fall of 1991, the group would release a ballad entitled "If You Go Away", and then fade into obscurity until they remerged with 1994's 'Fsce The Music', their last album to date. While the NKOTB will probably be most remembered for the "Step By Step" album, it is my belief that their best albums were actually this one, and their 1988 release...the one that started it all, 'Hangin Tough'.Thanks for reading!"
GOOD WORK, BUT NO THE BEST
Pablo A | Santiago, Chile | 06/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you love the new kids music and the remix styles in the 90's, you have to buy this album. There is a very good work in some songs, like "games" and "call it what you want" (with the colaboration of C+C Music Factory). "step by step" and "never gonna fall in love again" are another highlights, but the rest of the remixes not have the same results, some ones are a litle boring (hangin tough, right stuff, cover girl). I Think they could hsve done a better work with these songs."
This album is cool.
The Caring Angel | Honolulu,HI | 09/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recomend this album. This album is awesome. And the songs in thier all sounds good. And they are so talented. You as a group will always be in my heart and with me wherever I go. And same for Joey too. ;) And You and Joey will always have my support. The beats are cool. I hope you all will be around the entertainment world forever thanks. You can be involved forever with it."
Joey,oh Joey, oh Joey
The Caring Angel | 03/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was 11, I saw NKOTB in concert. After they broke up, I still listened, but with nothing new from them, my music interests went elsewhere....until Joey released "Stay the Same". I HAD to buy it, and it brought me to the point of tears...boy, did I miss that voice, from the high pitched little boy, to the low, suave sounds of the new cd. I'm 20 years old, and yes, still a New Kids fan...as always, especially Joe. If you've ever gone ga-ga over NKOTB, buy a cd and bring back the memories. It's worth it. P.S>---Go Joey!!!!!!"
GREAT DANCE ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Caring Angel | 12/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album. It is great to dance to. The New Kids on the Block are AWESOME!!!!! This album remixes of mostly all their hits. Fan or not, GET IT! You won't regret it."