NKOTB Still has the Right Stuff

NKOTB Still has the Right Stuff

By Meg Humphrey

I’ve been a fan of New Kids on the Block since I could comprehend music. No really, almost every picture of me as a 3-7 year old I’m wearing a NKOTB t-shirt (I had several). Although the Blockhead in me had ebbed for a while, by the time I graduated high school I had every one of their cassettes, a plethora of buttons and doodads, their Funky Funky Xmas album, and even a comic book.

NKOTB 1

Look at those adorable babies.

When they released their first CD in a billion years, “The Block,” I missed out on going to the concert because I was in college and very little mattered besides my 3 jobs and learning about crime. A couple years later, though, I was lucky enough to go with my friends (who are the biggest Backstreet Boys fans I know) to the NKTOBSB tour. We had something ridiculous like sixth row floor seats and Donnie and I grabbed hands (TWICE) as he jumped off the stage and he waded out into the audience. Needless to say, the little Meg inside of me was screaming in joy and helped me remember ALL of the words to every song.

NKOTB 2

I can’t wait to look that good when I’m in my 40s.

Cut to 2013 with NKOTB’s newest album, “10.” I got it pretty soon after it came out and I was very surprised with it. The majority of “The Block” threw me off because it was DIRTY. Ten out of thirteen songs were super sexified club songs that made me giggle and blush the first few times I heard them (“Lights, Camera, Action” still does). I pretty much expected more of the same from “10.” I was pretty wrong. Of course there are a couple dance-party hits, but they aren’t raunchy. The majority of the album has a slower tempo and the songs focus more on achieving your dreams and actual relationship worries than finding hot pieces in the club. I was thrown off by it at first, but the more I listen to the entire album the more I like it.

There’s one song in particular that I will listen to on repeat for hours: “Remix (I like the).” It’s kind of a 60s styling rock pop where Joey and Donnie, my two favorites, do the main vocals. The song’s about a lady who is never the center of attention, has never caught anyone’s eye, and not the girl that gets positive male attention. But then she does something to change herself that makes everyone basically go “daaaaamn, girl!”

When I watched the music video I expected it to star some stereotypically “hot” woman who was wearing boring clothes with undone hair and no makeup and she MAGICALLY turns into a bombshell with the help of high heels, a mini dress, and lipstick. I was pretty wrong about this too. The music video stars a 30ish year old woman who is short, reasonably dressed, would not be described as “pretty” in any beauty magazine, and is at least a size 16. She looks unhappy and she eventually gets up to go in the bathroom and while looking in the mirror says “screw it!” She starts dancing and smiling and boogies her way back out to the party. Everyone is looking, but not in a mean or judgmental way. They are surprised, but they smile back and dance with her and think she’s fantastic. She ends up grooving with Donnie and everyone is happy. The end.

The moral of the story is she didn’t have to change anything about her physical appearance to be happy and have a good time. She just got over her insecurities and pushed past the thoughts of “but what will other people think?” She does what she wants for herself and only for herself. This is a woman who probably hears things about how she needs to wear make-up, how she needs to lose weight, how she has to be different than what she is to be accepted. At the end of the video I thought, “Oh my god, NKOTB wrote a song about me.” As a person who experiences the constant, bombarding pains of being a woman who doesn’t fit the traditional beauty standards of America, this means a lot to me. It was only around a year ago that I started feeling truly confident about myself and my appearance. Not because I had changed myself to fit in, but because I was tired of feeling bad about myself decided to let go of what was keeping me down (which was all in my head). New Kids on the Block made a music video about this – something so hard and so important for everyone who feels less-than-good-enough to learn. So thank you, boys; I’ll be loving you forever.

meg@haveyounerd.com

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