Album: Hangin' Tough
NKOTB is often ridiculed for being a whitewashed version of New Edition and setting the blueprint for the unbearably corny boy band pop explosion of the late '90s. Both of these things are true. But amongst all their flavorless New Jack Swing interpolations and raps about Santa Claus, there's no denying that the New Kids had one moment of true pop perfection, the irresistibly passionate ballad "Please Don't Go Girl."
Sung from the gut by 16-year-old Joey McEntyre about a year before his voice changed, this is the song that finally put the Boston teens on the map after their first album flopped. "Please Don't Go Girl" holds up extremely well today, thanks to its sparse drum machine production and beautifully simple songwriting by the group's svengali, Maurice Starr. One could make the case that it's basically a rip-off of New Edition's "Is This The End?" (also written and produced by Starr), but sometimes the remake is better than the original. -Brendan Frederick