Picks and Pans Review: Face the Music

updated 01/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

NKOTB

They sold 60 million records, earned a ton of cash and made the girls go gaga. But when it came to artistic credibility, New Kids on the Block couldn't buy a break. What to do? In their case, take a three-year breather, change that teenybopper moniker and return with an album that will likely get those royalties rolling in again.

Not that the five-guy group from Boston has forgotten their fans; the Kids still know that at the end of the day, it's the little girls who understand—and buy their albums. On the shimmering "If You Go Away," Jordan Knight aims his tremulous tenor straight for Stylistics Heaven. "Dirty Dawg," produced and written by Knight and Marky Mark's big bro (and equal in the bad-rapper sweepstakes), Donnie Wahlberg, kicks with a rumbling hip-hop swagger. And even if the Kids, in song, can now drink and have sex, it all seems okay. Face the Music is still pure pop escapism, with one foot in the 'hood and the other firmly in Candy Land. (Columbia)

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