Review: "Thankful" - New Kids on the Block

by Jeremy Williams-Chalmers,

After a 14 year absence, New Kids On The Block fans were treated to a return record from their one time pin-ups in 2008 when the quintet released the very long-awaited The Block. Five years later they delivered 10, having briefly dabbled with the super-boyband formation NKOTBSB, which of course spawned the overlooked Nick & Knight side project. So a four year wait is somewhat acceptable for the multi-million selling group's fans. Thankful, the new EP from the quintet, has been teased by the group for a little too long, so can it live up to the high expectations that fans now have?

The simple answer is not really, but that will not stop fans from loving every minute of the collection. With just five songs to impress, the quintet show that they are still vocally impressive and are able to marry the sound that launched them with a contemporary edge, but this is a collection that will never be remembered as their greatest outing.

The EP starts strong, with the stand-out cut of the release - Heartbeat. From the gentle pulse of the heart rate monitor through to the explosive marching band drive of the chorus, this is a song that shows that New Kids On The Block still how powerful potential and should still be dominating the charts.

However, it soon wilts. As Heartbeat gives way to the slow, smooth jam of Thankful, this is touching tribute but fails to really set hearts afire. Yes the boys can sing, but that is already known, but the cliched lyrics and lack of sincerity in delivery leave this a little flat.

One More Night picks up the pace once again, and while it is not the strongest disco driven track the group have offered on recent outings, it is one that will get you moving uncontrollably along. Hard (Not Luvin U) is a playful addition, showing a lighter side to the boys and while not life-changing, it is sure to make you smile.

EP closer Still Sounds Good comes a close second to Heartbeat. A true anthem, this is one that will definitely become a fan favorite on the live circuit. With a real nod to the sound that delivered them to the world, this is what the New Kids On The Block should be doing now they are grown men.

Thankful may be something of a mixed bag, and had the boys delivered a larger body of work, the weaker cuts may have not jarred so much with the stronger songs as they got lost in the tracklisting. It is good to see the boys back again but hopefully we won't have to wait so long for a stronger, more memorable release.

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