First Hit #1: June 17, 1989
New Kids on the Block was the first time I noticed a popular group that nobody would admit they liked. I wasn’t very old at the time, and had yet to develop musical taste, but NKOTB was a group that I knew existed only because of the derisive mentions from my siblings – my sisters were too old for boybands, my brothers were too male – and I had not actually had the opportunity to listen to the band. I just knew that they were supposedly bad.
I have never really delved into their discography, though I do have a passing familiarity with some songs. I definitely didn’t know I’ll Be Loving You (Forever), and listening to the song my first reaction was “They must have been handsome, because this is awful.” Letting the song percolate for a bit, I think in most cases I’d probably downgrade it to merely mediocre, but in most cases it wouldn’t be sung in a reedy falsetto, which is the case on this version of the song. That’s the problem, Jordan Knight’s vocal is just unpleasant to me, but keep in mind I also hated the Four Seasons and a few other falsetto vocals, so I might just generally not like that style. Outside of the vocal, the song is pretty by the numbers balladry, and I’m not really a big fan of that either. New Kids on the Block may well have had a lot of hits, but this particular one I can’t enjoy.