However, that hasn't disabled my critic function. Which sometimes makes this pretty damn hard, because honestly, their lyrics aren't deep at all. But their harmonies are pretty good, Jordan and Joe sound great (Joe's voice in particular sounds a lot more mature than the squeaky kid most people are familiar with) and yeah, Donnie Wahlberg (SHUT. UP.).
I think the best way to put this for me is NKOTB is to me as Twilight is to Cleolinda:
To expand on my previous metaphor, it's like I'm in my kitchen and there's that Twinkie sitting on the counter, and I know, I know, that not one single ingredient in that thing originated in nature. "Flour," maybe, and I'm not even so sure about that. And yet.... SUGARRRRRRRR.Anyways, now that we got that out of the way...
First thing first -- I gotta say that I like the fact that about 90 percent of the album is upbeat dance songs. That's what I always thought was their big strength. I also like the fact that they've updated a bit and are covering other stuff than the puppy love thing. It's like they've grown up and are acknowledging the fact that their hardcore base has grown past the puppy love thing.
The Timbaland track "Twisted" is a personal favorite for the production and layering and really, the guys sound really strong on it. While I wasn't a big fan of "Click, Click, Click," in the beginning, the song has really grown on me. The bluesy-influenced "Grown Man" and "Big Girl Now," (Lady GaGa is a particularly strong vocalist on this track, which is great) are some great dance tunes and duets. For once, I don't feel dirty liking a Pussycat Dolls song. I also hate to say it, because it's a picture of a relationship disintegrating, but "2 in the Morning," cracks me up because it sounds like some of the early fights I've had with Jeff.
Jeff: "What's wrong?"Fortunately I'm much more mature now. /sarcasm
Me: "Nothing." (Inner monologue: "Oh hell, you know I've been pissed for three hours. You. Know. What. You. Did.")
That being said -- GOOD GRAVY THE SEX TALK! I feel like I prude for typing this, but good lord. There's sex all over the damn place. There's talk about sex at home, in cars, on tables, while making videos and every single position known to mankind.
The double entendres aren't even that. They're single entendres. Look. I know you're men right now, but do you have to talk about sex like some overgrown teenage boys in the locker room? Luckily, the beats and the harmonies make it a lot easier for me to deal with, but there's a certain point where I just have to walk away from the sex talk. It's just too much for an old married prude like me (people who know me are snickering right now).
I have to say that while I like the single "Stare at You," there's a certain point, where I am personally convinced Edward Cullen of Twilight wrote some lyrics. When they talk about staring at the subject all night long, it just make me go, "Did Stephanie Meyer write this line?"
What sticks with me right now is how the themes of relationships falling apart ("2 in the Morning" and "Officially Over") as well as temptation ("Dirty Dancing" and "Looking Like Danger") come into play. I know that Donnie had a hand in writing a good chunk of the songs, and the man's also recently divorced (damn shame that), so I wonder how much of this album and tour is therapy for him.
All in all, it's a pretty good album for NKOTB fans. There's some growth there and it's pretty much what the guys wanted to make -- a good, light, dance album. But the heavier themes -- as opposed to the heavy breathing -- make it a little more compelling for me to listen to again and again.