The first job I ever had was working in the men's underwear department at JCPenney. I rang up packages of tighty-whiteys and replenished shelves of wife-beaters. It was during high school, and I never would've imagined that I would eventually stumble into writing reviews of men's underwear on The Bilerico Project. (Jokingly, of course. Jokingly!)
My department was adjacent to the young men's section, where there was a display of three stacked television sets that would play videotapes of music videos that were brought in by employees. Clearly, this was the best part of the job.
So I would spend hours at home, taping my favorite pop songs off MTV (you know, when they still showed music videos?). I provided eclectic playlists, but made sure there was plenty of New Kids on the Block. You see, rearranging boxer shorts over and over again went by a lot faster with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "Hangin' Tough" in the background—but I never would've imagined that I would still be thinking about the New Kids on the Block today.
If you're like me, New Kids on the Block songs brought you joy (and made you question/discover/explore your sexuality) in the 80s and 90s—but you ignored their late-2000s comeback, when they attempted to re-brand themselves as NKOTB, which I still refuse to say, even sarcastically. And when a friend of mine gave me a New Kids on the Block board game a few years ago (I'm serious), I accepted it not with genuine enthusiasm but with irony.
They released two new albums—The Block in 2008 and 10 in 2013—and I must say that there's some pretty good music hidden between the filler tracks. I'm no longer questioning/discovering/exploring my sexuality these days, but I do wonder how weird it must look when I'm blasting modern-day New Kids on the Block in my car and yelling, "That's my jam!," at other drivers.
Here, then, are what I consider the three best Neo-New Kids on the Block songs:
1. "The Remix." You can't not want to dance to this. Unless you are boring or dead. Seriously. This track is so freaking awesome, and the music video elevates it even higher because it unexpectedly makes the gloriously zaftig Artemis Pebdani the center of attention and the object of affection. Extra points for those hot suits the guys are wearing—I'm totally going to steal that look the next time I start a boy band and play a house concert.
2. "Summertime." This song got a bit of airplay because it was the lead single off their comeback album. It's a pretty smooth jam that goes down easy, and the music video is intriguing because it's full of questions. How many New Kids on the Block will take off their shirts? Why are all the ladies fawning over the gay one? Is the sunset silhouette dance cool as ice or absurdly funny? Is this actually a New Kids on the Block video or outtakes from The Real World?
3. "Big Girl Now." There's no official video for this dance track, but there should be—because Lady Gaga is featured on it, and she and the boys sing about how they want to get nasty with one another. When she declares, "I've been waiting too long for you to get naughty/Beat this, spank me, daddy, c'mon, touch my body," you realize you can't possibly take this as seriously as they do, no matter how much you want to.