Extended Play Review: New Kids On The Block ‘Thankful’



New Kids On The Block released their first set of new music since their album “10” in 2013. It’s also kickstarted their tour with Boys II Men and Paula Abdul, two musical acts that I thought were retired.

“Thankful” is a five song Extended Play, or EP. There is a Target bonus track but I’m not counting that one because it’s not available everywhere. The probably right out the gate is that before the release of the EP, we’ve already heard most of it due to “Thankful” and “One More Night” being released as singles. This will greatly cut into the replay value as you’ve already been listening to half the EP and you’re just going to jump into the three new songs you haven’t heard. Not sure why they did this.

How the songs were produced were a little bit shaky for the EP. In the first track “Heartbeat,” it suffers from being slightly overproduced. They had a steady beat, like an actual heartbeat, that is throughout the majority of the song. Then when it gets the chorus they add a lot of drum beats and it sounds doesn’t sound the greatest. There’s a slight drum beat leading up to the chorus, which is fine because it doesn’t sound like there is an issue with timing. I had to listen to and count time multiple times. There isn’t one but rather, just sounds like there is one. “Heartbeat” stripped down and rewritten would sound amazing because it’s not a good song. It really contradicts what is presented in the rest of the album.

“Thankful” presents more adult/mature themes in that their previous work. This album is pretty much about hooking up. The music could be featured in Magic Mike because it’s that kind of music. It isn’t a bad thing, but rather something that fits them and where they are at in their career. They are too old to be considered a boy band so this is a happy medium for them. They are a mature male band. It shows on this record more than on “10.”

This EP is going to be hit or miss for people. If you are a die-hard NKOTB fan, then you are going to love it because you love them. If you are a casual fan or just someone who likes pop music, then this album is going to be a miss. This EP isn’t a very good one for them. There are some standouts like “Thankful” and “Still Sounds Good” but it isn’t enough to make the EP good. Hell, even parts of the standouts are kinda “ehh.” I give them props for experimenting with new sounds and trying to fit into what’s on the radio, but it doesn’t work. They need to go back to the drawing board and look at what they want to be because what they presented in “Thankful” isn’t that. If they want to continue with the sound they presented in “Thankful,” then I would recommend playing with it more before the next release.

If the EP was an album, then it probably would have worked better in their favor. More song probably would have helped make it stand out and be better than what it is.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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2 thoughts on “Extended Play Review: New Kids On The Block ‘Thankful’

  1. “…and it sounds doesn’t sound the greatest” this is a poorly written review (that’s just one example). As far as the “Thankful” EP being about ‘hooking up’, I’m not sure how the author of this review came to this conclusion. The clue is in the title; it’s about being thankful and is predominately a collection of songs celebrating their fan base. Of course, there are a few love themed songs, but nothing that warrants a statement of ‘hooking up’. I’m wondering if the author streamed the songs or purchased the CD, with the latter they could have read the inlay card which gives a heartfelt dedication to their fans from the band members.

    As far as making comment that 2 out of 5 songs have been released and offer little “replay value”, I would like to draw to attention the definition of an EP. RIAA define it as being between 3-5 songs or under 30 minutes. In the UK, 4 songs or over 25 minutes running time is defined as an album. Therefore, with New Kids On The Block releasing a 5 song EP with a running time of 17 minutes, this is a relatively generous release (excluding the bonus track).

    Of course personal opinion of the songs will be subjective; I was more annoyed about factual errors and poor writing.

    • Thank you for your input and for reading the post:
      – The writing style of this blog is more of a conversational style rather than one of a professional nature. The conversational style of the blog lets the reader connect more with what they are reading due to the tone. It’s like they are chatting about the topics in everyday life with friends.

      – The conclusion that the EP is about “hooking up” is based on the lyrics in some of the songs. In “One More Night,” the lyrics feature themes of a sexual nature with lines like “Come put your hands on my body, let’s do this thing one more time” and “I can’t control myself/Can’t think of no one else/Its like we lose ourselves, every touch.” The sexually driven lyrics continue in “Hard (Not Luvin U),” where the pre-chorus says “Oh baby, I apologize but I won’t be satisfied/’Til you’re begging me for more and more/Your body’s like a paradise and I’m tryna take a flight/You’re a masterpiece, I’m just tryna let you know.” The song is all about coitus. It’s these songs that make the EP come off as being about “hooking up” due to them standing out more than the other songs on the EP. I originally wanted to include this in the post but it became more than the appropriate length that a blog post of this nature should be.

      – Whether the album is purchased or streamed is irrelevant to the review as it’s all about the music itself not about the packaging. The inlay card you mentioned where they dedicated the EP to the fans is featured on every album. All artist dedicate the music to their fans in the “Thank You” notes of the album. It’s a common practice in the music industry. I streamed the album on Apple Music, in case you are still wondering.

      – I apologize that I wasn’t clear on my statement about replay value. There’s no replay value because you have already listened to 2 out of the 5 songs before the rest came out. Because you had those two songs already and have been listening to them longer, most will go to the unheard ones thus not replaying the songs that were pre-order releases and hurting the full replay of the entire EP. The only time I brought up the length of the EP, is when I stated that “If the EP was an album, then it probably would have worked better in their favor. More song probably would have helped make it stand out and be better than what it is.” I also thank you for taking the time to define what an EP is and clearing up any misconceptions for other readers
      – I also apologize that the factual errors and poor writing annoyed you. I have more reviews under the “Reviews” tab if you would like to read more. I have more reviews on NKOTB on the site as well.

      Again, thank you for your input and for reading the post.

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