Monday, July 19, 2021

"Please Don't Go Girl" by New Kids on the Block

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3557
Date:  06/25/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  10
Weeks:  28
Genre:  Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  In 1982,  songwriter/producer Maurice Starr discovered the Boston teen vocal group New Edition. Following the success of their '83 debut album, New Edition decided to part ways with Starr due to financial issues that arose following their first tour. Perhaps feeling jilted by the teens he discovered, Starr then set out to form another teen group that would perhaps eclipse New Edition in popularity. His idea was to basically recast New Edition with white teens. Starr first found rapper Donnie Wahlberg who then brought along his brother Mark along with a couple of school friends. Mark would drop out along with another potential member, but they were replaced with the final addition being lead singer Joey McIntyre. Starr initially named the group Nynuk and got them signed to Columbia Records, who insisted on a name change. Re-dubbed New Kids on the Block, the group set out to record a debut album with Starr producing and mostly writing all the tracks. Unfortunately, the LP tanked with no singles reaching the Pop chart. Starr asked Columbia for another chance and they reluctantly green-lit a second album that would be titled Hangin' Tough. While Starr would write and produce the LP, the teens had more input and got Starr to move away from bubblegum pop. For a lead single, this soul-leaning ballad was selected. Upon release it pretty much died and Columbia was ready to oust the boys, but then a radio station in Florida started to spin the tune and it quickly started to gain fans. Columbia caught wind of the sudden uptick and decided to put forth a better promo effort. The song then entered the Pop chart and slowly crept up as it picked up airplay across the US. Finally in its sixteenth week, the single cracked the Top 10. It also got to #55 R&B. It took a long while, but NKOTB finally got their breakthrough.

ReduxReview:  This was an interesting choice to kick off the album. Since their first two singles didn't hit the Pop chart, this sort of acted as their debut. It was a nice way to introduce the group. The Motown/soul inspired tune had a bit of a Jackson 5 feel without seeming like a copy. It also was a slight step ahead of the bubblegum pop of their debut and of New Edition's first effort. It gets a little cheezy with the spoken word parts and the muttered "I love you's," but overall it was a sweet, refreshing first hit for a teen group.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Nearly ten years after this song was released, it was covered by a boy band-related artist. Eleven-year-old Aaron Carter, brother of Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, kicked off a music career with a 1997 self-titled debut album. Carter would cover this NKOTB tune for the album, however it was not released as a single. The LP was originally released in Europe were it did fairly well cracking the Top 10 in a couple of countries and getting to #12 in the UK thanks to a pair of Top 10 hits. However, when issued out in the US it failed to chart or produce any charting singles. Three years later, he would release his second LP Aaron's Party (Come Get It). Thanks to the title track cracking the US Pop Top 40 and a lot of promotion via Radio Disney, the album got to #4 and would eventually go triple platinum. A third LP would be a platinum seller, while a fourth did not perform as well. After that, Carter's career went in several directions and he would not record another album until 2018. Over the years, Carter would have legal problems, financial issues, health scares, and stints in rehab. It all was certainly a far cry from the Disney-esque pre-teen who crooned "Please Don't Go Girl."


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