The Black Eyed Peas are possibly the greatest bubble-gum group of the Extreme Ice Fruit Explosion era. Following in the path forged by the Monkees, the Archies and the Spice Girls, the Peas present themselves as a cast of zany characters whose music is, on one level, like a child’s game, and on another, as calculatedly smart and seductive as test-marketed pop gets. The titles of the Peas’ biggest hit singles tell the story: the giggle-inducing pun of “Don’t Phunk With My Heart,” the cheerily crude anatomical gesture of “My Humps” and now the IMAX-ready sound-effects burst of the chart-topping “Boom Boom Pow.” Crass, good-hearted, funny, unfailingly loud scavengers of every shiny thing lying on pop’s cross-cultural dance floor, the Peas present themselves as juvenile — but there’s plenty going on behind the mugging. “The E.N.D.” (Interscope/Universal), the group’s fifth studio album and the third since the singer Stacy Ferguson (better known as Fergie) joined and took it from the earnest hip-hop underground to the glamorous, necessarily compromised pop mainstream, is more accomplished and more confounding than any of the foursome’s previous efforts. It’s likely to dominate radio and the Internet this summer, its sharp flavors simultaneously driving listeners nuts and drawing them back. Will.i.am., the Peas’ lead rapper and main idea man, has said that he doesn’t envision “The E.N.D.” (the acronym is for “The Energy Never Dies”) as a regular album. Instead, it’s a template, designed to be constantly reworked through remixes, both in the recording studio and by DJs on the dance floor. Indeed, this collection has none of the attributes that make listeners love albums: no narrative arc, no ebb and flow, no break from the in-your-face beats and high-fructose hooks. As a plunge into the users’ manual of post-disco dance pop, “The E.N.D.” is quite charming, if predictably goofy. Working with club-savvy collaborators including MSTRKRFT, David Guetta and Keith Harris, Will takes on electro, deep house, dancehall and dance-punk, to name just a few trends.Ever true to their defining characteristic, the Peas have no shame. Fergie puts on ill-fitting dreadlocks for the faux-Jamaican “Electric City” and goes hilariously punk in “Now Generation,” a rant about social media that sounds something like Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” rewritten on a Sidekick. “Ring-a-Ling” is a strangely innocent celebration of drunken booty calling. As always, Fergie’s performances provide the most interest throughout the album. More than the rappers Taboo and Apl.de.ap, whose spotlight turns are always competent but downplayed, or Will, who clings to an Everyman persona that belies his role as the group’s Wizard of Oz, Fergie embraces the essential cartoonishness of being a Pea. Whether she’s being weepy in “Meet Me Halfway” or superbad in “Imma Be,” she takes her part to its logical end. Her obviousness once seemed to reflect a lack of skill, but by now it’s clear that it’s a strategy. “The E.N.D.” doesn’t ask too much of fans of the band. Its more substantive musical and thematic statements are interrupted by many others showing the Peas’ deep, deep commitment to a good party.
New Kids On The Block are hitting the road again in support of their album The Block! Donnie, Jordan, Joey, Danny and Jon will kick off the ‘Full Service Tour’ on May 28th in Atlanta, playing shows through July 18th in Houston.
Jabbawockeez, the champs from season one of MTV’s ‘America’s Best Dance Crew,’ will join NKOTB on the road for what promises to be the hottest party of the summer.
Check out the new video of Donnie on the homepage of NKOTB.com discussing what to expect on the new tour. The clip features plenty of live footage and the guys’ signature dance moves.
Group Members: Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight
Dates for NKOTB’s full service tour:
May 28: Atlanta (Lakewood Amphitheatre)
May 29: Birmingham, Ala. (Verizon Wireless Music Center)
May 30: Tampa, Fla. (Ford Amphitheater)
May 31: West Palm Beach, Fla. (Cruzan Amphitheater)
June 2: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)
June 3: Raleigh, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion )
June 5: Virginia Beach, Va. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)
June 6: Camden, N.J. (Susquehanna Bank Center)
June 7: Washington, D.C. (Nissan Pavilion)
June 10: Scranton, Pa. (Toyota Pavilion)
June 11: Pittsburgh (Post-Gazette Pavilion)
June 12: Wantagh, N.Y. (Nikon at Jones Beach Theater)
June 13: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)
June 14: Buffalo, N.Y. (Darien Lake Performing Arts Center)
June 16: Saratoga, N.Y. (Saratoga Performing Arts Center)
June 18: Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun)
June 19: Boston (Comcast Center)
June 21: Toronto (Molson Amphitheater)
June 23: Cleveland (Blossom Music Center)
June 25: Detroit (DTE Energy Music Center)
June 26: Chicago (First Midwest Bank Amphitheater)
June 27: Cincinnati ( Riverbend Music Center)
June 28: INDIANAPOLIS (Verizon Amphitheater)
July 1: St. Louis (Verizon Wireless)
July 2: Memphis, Tenn. (Mud Island Ampitheater)
July 3: Wichita, Kans. (Hartman Arena)
July 7: Seattle (White River Amphitheatre)
July 9: San Francisco (Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord)
July 10: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Ampitheater)
July 11: Las Vegas (The Pearl)
July 12: Phoenix (Cricket Wireless Pavilion)
July 15: Denver (Fiddler’s Green)
July 17: Dallas (Superpages.com Center)
July 18: Houston (Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion)
After his success with New Edition, producer Maurice Starr decided to replicate the singing group, substituting suburban white kids for the young black teenagers. The result was New Kids on the Block, a pioneering boy band that quickly eclipsed the popularity of Starr’s previous group while laying the groundwork for the teen pop boom of the late-’90s. Comprising Boston-area singers Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jon Knight, Danny Wood, and Joe McIntyre, the New Kids were awkward and enthusiastic on their 1986 debut, which wasn’t surprising given the boys’ age (the oldest members were barely 16 years old, while McIntyre was only 12). With their next album, 1988′s Hangin’ Tough, the group’s image had toughened up and they had the slick, radio-ready material to support it. From the saccharine ballad “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” to the title track’s stab at funk, the band enjoyed a seemingly endless streak of hits in 1988 and 1989. Five songs entered the Top 10, and even the group’s Christmas album went double platinum as it road the coattails of Hangin’ Tough up the Billboard charts.
New Kid mania continued in America with 1990′s Step by Step; even if it sold five million copies less than Hangin’ Tough, it still sold an impressive three million copies. The album also fared well internationally, moving an additional 16 million units in other parts of the world, but Step by Step was nevertheless the group’s last album to enjoy such worldwide success. New Kids were the subject of an endless amount of jokes, including allegations that they hadn’t sung a note during the Hangin’ Tough recording sessions. Furthermore, their audience was growing up. In 1994, they rechristened themselves NKOTB and returned with the Starr-less Face the Music, which actually showed a remarkable musical maturity. The group had grown into a credible urban R&B outfit, yet the album hardly sold anything, even if NKOTB continued to pack theaters on tour. In June of 1994, the members announced that they had acrimoniously parted ways
Various members of New Kids launched solo careers later in the decade, with Knight scoring a gold record in 1999 and Donnie Wahlberg landing several movie roles. Attempts to reunite the group in the early 2000s proved fruitless; however, the band surprisingly reconvened in early 2008, announcing their decision to tour in support of a new album. The Block arrived later that year, followed by tour dates in Canada and America. Although critically panned, The Block nevertheless debuted at number two on the Billboard charts.