Friday, April 25, 2008

Boston Globe reviews some tracks from the new NKOTB album

Here is a new article from the Boston Globe:

Do New Kids still have the right stuff? Producer offers a listen to group's latest tunes
Globe Staff / April 25, 2008
RedOne can sing "Hangin' Tough" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" as well as the next New Kids on the Block fan. Growing up a musical omnivore in Morocco, the up-and-coming producer says he liked everything from Bob Dylan to heavy metal to boy bands. But when it comes to the Boston group's forthcoming reunion album, RedOne is more interested in looking ahead than back. But whichever way he looks, he is excited.

"The whole album is full of good music that people will embrace," he declares ecstatically more than once during a visit to Cybersound studios on Newbury Street last week, where the Globe got an exclusive sneak preview of several new New Kids songs. And RedOne isn't just partial to his tunes; he calls tracks by fellow producers Emmanuel Kiriakou and Nazaree "beautiful" and "amazing." For those who remember the New Kids as, well, kids, "they are definitely going to surprise some people, I think," he says.

Born Nadir Khayat, the producer moved from North Africa to Sweden in his late teens to work his way up in a Swedish pop music scene that helped create sounds for Britney Spears and 'N Sync, among others. He has done remixes and production work for Shakira, Akon, and Christina Aguilera and, after his stop in Boston, was headed to New York to put in his two cents on the ever-gestating Michael Jackson album.

Like a kid hopped up on his favorite candy, RedOne sings along, conducts, and air-drums to his collaborations with main New Kids music man Donnie Wahlberg. RedOne was in town to put the finishing touches on the songs, recorded over the last several months in various LA studios, for presentation this week to the band's new label, Interscope.
He invited us in to hear several songs that are vying for a spot on the disc, due later this summer. The final track list has not been set.

"Looking Like Danger" If you didn't know this was a New Kids song, you'd be hard-pressed to guess, thanks to up-to-the-minute production. A wailing siren and a heavy, descending synth line give way to a tingly, high-hat-driven dance beat, as a spoken-for protagonist laments a temptress who looks like an angel "but the devil comes out when you dance with me." While a certain boy-band film clings to the harmony vocals, the killer hook should have Justin Timberlake nodding in approval.

"Big Boy/Big Girl" (featuring Lady GaGa) If they're not considering this one for a single, they should. An uptempo dance track that sounds like a boy-band cousin to Kanye West's "Stronger," "Big Boy" has got a heated groove that's all fuzzy staccato synths and clattering drum beats. Newcomer Lady GaGa gives as good as she gets, flirtatiously wailing alongside the boys. In a sly wink at the now-30-something female New Kids fans, the song tells the tale of a man and woman who've known each other since adolescence, appraising each other with adult eyes and liking what they see.

"Sexify My Love" RedOne calls this work-in-progress a "grown song." Indeed, if there are any lingering doubts about their status as men, this midtempo seduction track will lay them to rest, as the guys propose trying "every position we can dream of" in multiple locations with a lady friend. The salacious come-ons are softened by shimmering harmonies and ethereal faux strings.

"Summertime" Although RedOne didn't produce this, he gave us a taste of his mix of the reported first single. Of the tracks we heard, this is the least sizzling, most typical of the group's earlier, fresh-scrubbed incarnation. With a laid-back, reggae-tinged rhythm, some sweet, almost doo-wop vocals, and a group chant, it gives off a late-season barbecue soundtrack vibe.

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