David Thigpen
January 28, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

With a pop pedigree as illegitimate as Milli Vanilli’s, and teen-dream faces straight out of an Osmonds cloning lab, New Kids on the Block sold gazillions of records but could never shake the charge that they were cute, no-talent pop icons. So, attempting to ditch the past, they’ve grabbed a silly new alias and hired a fresh battalion of producers. Are the Kids doing their own thing at last? Nope. Still shamelessly copping Motown moves and plundering new-jack beats (like the Keith Sweat-style rip-off ”Dirty Dawg”), the Kids go in for hokey rap lite and hackneyed lover-boy ballads that would be yanked off turntables in Harlem or South Central.

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