N is for New Kids on the Block
OK, I’m going to be honest here: I don’t really like or listen to this group anymore but as far as N bands go, I couldn’t come up with one that had enough significance. But NKOTB was crucial in my early teen years (‘tweens’ as it were) so I chose them.
I remember that I was friends with a girl across the street, Alma, who was maybe one or two years older than me. I may have been eight or nine when she exposed me to this boy band’s first album. At first, I was a little reluctant because I was a pretty big fan of rock music at the time with some pop thrown in – stuff like Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna – you know, everything huge in 1988. So she let me borrow her cassette of their debut album
and I popped that sucker into my parents’ pretty sweet stereo set-up (oh, how I wish I could find a picture; I bet I have one somewhere to be honest) and had a listen. I instantly liked all the songs, if we are being painfully honest but I guess this was the first time I realized that I do enjoy a slow jam. This one was my favorite:
For a girl heading into those tween/teen years, the prospect of an attractive boy singing about the ups and downs of young love was pretty appealing, even if my first love was hard rock and metal.
Apparently that first album was kind of a bust but luckily, their next one, Hangin’ Tough, caught on. Who doesn’t know this song, eh? I convinced my mom to let me go to the record store and buy this one with allowance money. I had only recently begun earning one, I believe, so it was pretty dang exciting to go spend it (See my previous post about Metallica; that was probably the one big album I remember buying clear as day; a very vivid memory.)
I listened to this album ad nauseum. It’s a little cheesy, a little syrupy; but I was in it, y’all. I even had an NKOTB shirt! I was also a little self-conscious that people would judge me for it because it didn’t seem like the kind of person I was or presented as, would listen to teeny bopper type music. Alas, I was a sucker for it.
So you see, I struggled with N because I haven’t listened to this in a long time. But they were integral at the time. The late 80s were such a fun and funky time for music and they were a pretty popular fad then. I have a cousin whose wife collects memorabilia and she has a whole bunch of their stuff. In fact, I think she went to one of their reunion concerts! I am not sure I would but this song is still a banger: