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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