One of my favorite things to do (if not my very favorite…wait, there’s sex.) My second favorite thing to do is shop for records. Fortunately, I live in Boston, where there are still quite a few used and new music emporiums. If you’re ever in the Hub, I implore you to check out In Your Ear Records. There are two stores in the area-one in Allston (right next to the venerable Paradise Rock Club) and one in Harvard Square. The former location is by far the better of the two. Miles of aisles with CDs, LPs, cassettes and even 8-tracks. The proprietor, Reed (Reid?) is a great guy, and they’re always playing some tasty (and completely obscure) morsel in the store.
Speaking of obscure morsels, I’m here to talk about New Kids on the Block. OK, so I wasn’t serious about the “obscure” part. As mentioned in these pages various times over the past three years, I have a slightly nonsensical appreciation of Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jon and Joe(y.) To an outsider, my NKOTB fandom is easily explained by the whole “he’s gay” thing, but a) I didn’t always like the New Kids, b) I don’t find a single one of them attractive (OK, maybe Joe(y) a little bit…NOW) and c) I didn’t really start digging them until I began dating my first real girlfriend, Viniesha (names not changed to protect the innocent) in the spring of 1990. She loved her some New Kids. She also had a Jheri curl. And sideburns longer than mine. Ah, love…
What I have spent over 250 words trying to tell you is that I, after several years of looking, finally found a copy of Hangin’ Tough at In Your Ear. The record was in good condition, it was certainly priced attractively ($1.99) and now it was mine.
Not that I couldn’t sing every word of Hangin’ Tough for you verbatim without owning it, but I was excited to hear it, specifically the album track “My Favorite Girl.” Why? Well, because it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I’m not sure about the rest of the country-but in dance-heavy New York, it got as much airplay as any of the singles, maybe even more. It’s certainly one of the less dated-sounding songs on the album, and I’d have to imagine that the Kids had slightly more involvement on this song than they did on the rest of the album. It sounds more youthful, more natural, straddling the line deftly between pure pop, freestyle and a touch of R&B.
Three things make the song great: 1) a killer melody, 2) a danceable beat and 3) Jordan Knight stretching his already frightening falsetto into Barry Gibb territory at the end of the song. I’d wonder if the guy has any nads-but he has two kids, so the business definitely works, even after those gut-busting notes.
Anyway, it’s Monday. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Get on the floor and do the New Kids dance.