Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Kristen A. Graham

10/3/2008 (7 years ago)

McClatchy Newspapers (

The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT) - I have good taste in music. I swear on my stack of Van Morrison, Rufus Wainwright and Beck.


By Kristen A. Graham

McClatchy Newspapers (

10/3/2008 (7 years ago)

Published in Music

But I have a confession to make. I recently dropped an obscene amount of money on a ticket to see New Kids on the Block, the early-'90s boy band mounting a comeback tour this year on the backs of thousands of nostalgic suckers like me.

And my sister.

And three friends who have suggested we have T-shirts made. (These $100-a-pop tickets are hard-won; the first show we tried for sold out in minutes.)

We are in our 30s, and this time, we don't have to save baby-sitting money or beg mom to drive us to the concert in her station wagon. We are professional women with interesting lives. And we are screaming like little girls over Joey McIntyre. (He's the cute one, still.)

Make no mistake _ our pilgrimage is not about the songwriting.

With gems like "You got the right stuff, baby, love the way you turn me on/You got the right stuff, baby, you're the reason why I sing this song," how could it be?

It's about the best parts of being 12 and 13 and 14 again, when we were on the cusp of something exciting and so newly thrilled about pop music that we actually manufactured tears while in the same room with an artist we adored.

These days, the singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne really speaks to me, but I'm pretty sure I won't start bawling when I see him in concert.

Amy, my sister, whose well-worn cassette copy of "Hangin' Tough" I stole more times than I care to count, will be seven months pregnant at the concert. She suggests we roll our jeans and tease our hair.

OK, so this isn't about the music at all.

Though the greatest-hits CD is on heavy rotation on my iPod, I have passed on purchasing "The Block," the group's new release, which has garnered some not-terrible early reviews.

It's mostly because when I was 12, I was sure that love would sound exactly like my favorite New Kid Jordan Knight warbling "If You Go Away."

New Kids was my first concert _ it was my middle-school best friend, Shelby Friedman and me, 13. Shelby fell into hysterics when Joey pointed at her handmade "I Love You Joey" sign and smiled.

Surely that was a sign that they were destined to be together, right?

I tracked down Shelby in Charlotte, N.C., where she's Shelby Greenberg now, an audiologist with a little girl, and very excited to see the band when they hit her area.

"It was my first concert, and the best one yet," she said of our 1991 experience.

Shelby said she feels "like a dork" over the Joey incident, the T-shirts, buttons, collectible cards and posters. But does the flame still burn?

"It's a shame that we are both married with kids, or he would be in trouble now that we are adults," she said.

Elayne Rapping, a professor of American Studies and pop culture expert at the University of Buffalo, said there's a reason the New Kids are touring, "Beverly Hills 90210" is back, and "Transformers" is a hit at the movie theater.

"They're not reviving Frank Sinatra," Rapping said. "They're revisiting stuff that appeals to people in the 18-to-49 age range."

This particular reunion tour isn't surprising for two reasons, Rapping said. First, nostalgia sells, and second, we like to see those we idolized in our youth age like the rest of us.

We want to see how "90210's" Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) fares as a single mom, for instance. We can relate to that.

I find it comforting that the New Kids are no longer perfect pretty boys. They're all pushing 40 now. Jon is a real estate agent. Donnie's got a teenager of his own, a musical kid who thinks his dad is lame.

I can imagine the guys who once donned matching outfits and executed synchronized dance moves taking out the garbage and grousing about property taxes, like I do. Boring, comforting stuff.

Lest you think I am totally blinded by warm adolescent memories, I have turned a somewhat critical eye toward a few things, such as: Why did Jordan constantly sing in that falsetto? Why did he humiliate himself by going on "The Surreal Life"? What was with the awkward, stiff rap phase, the ridiculous insistence on calling themselves "NKOTB"?

But still, my friend Elisa and I exchange e-mails about whether we'd marry a New Kid if he asked us. Elisa, happily married, going to the concert with me, says no. I say yes.

Surely my boyfriend wouldn't deny me the joy of crossing out one of the items on my adolescent to-do list.


Kristen Graham:


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


More Music

Pope Francis: The rap star? Amazing new pop album featuring the pontiff is released in Italy Watch

Image of It is not know if Pope Francis enjoys the finished product of


As Pope Francis is a talented orator, holding audiences spellbound, it was only a matter of time before someone put his words behind a catchy beat to send out to the faithful worldwide. Released at the end of September, the album has been listened to at least a ... continue reading

Three Dog Night founder Cory Wells dies at 74 Watch

Image of Cory Wells' story was one of musical talent overcoming almost insurmountable odds.


Cory Wells, one of the original founders of the Seventies super group Three Dog Night, has passed away at the age of 74. Wells had been performing with the band as recently as last month, when he complained of severe back pain. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

8-year-old jazz singer captivates the world with her soulful 'Amy Winehouse' voice Watch

Image of


Angelina Jordan is well-known in her home country, Norway, after participating and winning a national TV contest. But now, the 8-year-old jazz singer has captivated audiences from all over the the world after a recently uploaded video of her performance. The young girl ... continue reading

Chris Brown tired of the Devil in his life: Singer claims he heard God speak for the first time Watch

Image of Chris Brown performing onstage


Chris Brown recently posted on his Instagram account that he was tired of the "devil ruining" his life. The international singer and actor shows indications of leaning towards a better chapter in his life. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Singer Chris ... continue reading

Rio de Janeiro's music scene enters new depths with a surprising sound Watch

Image of


Something big is brewing in Rio de Janeiro. The monthly hip-hop block party called Black Santa was recently staged near the peak of the Prazeres favela, on a hillside above central Rio. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Twenty-two-year-old Renato Cantanhede, ... continue reading

Two top named musicians set to perform for Pope Francis during his September visit to the United States Watch

Image of Juanes has more than 10 million followers on Twitter.


Colombian star Juanes and the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will be performing during the international Catholic prayer event, the 8th World Meeting of Families, in Philadelphia. The two will be performing for the Pope in September during the U.S leg of his ... continue reading

Famous country singer dead after gunfight with bounty hunter Watch

Image of


Sixty-five-year-old country singer Randy Howard was shot on June 9, 2015 by a bounty hunter at Howard's home. It was reported that Howard was being detained by the bounty hunter, wanted on a DUI charge. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Country singer Randy ... continue reading

'She was absolutely beautiful in every way': Fans pray for country singer after death of his newborn daughter Watch

Image of


Messages of encouragement and prayers pour through the Facebook page of country singer Randy Rogers, of the Randy Rogers' Band, after news of the death of his and his wife's newborn infant six days after she was born come forward. Days before, Rogers made an ... continue reading

U2 prays with Pastor Rick Warren before playing concert hours after death of their beloved tour manager Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heartbroken and in grief band members of U2 asked Pastor Rick Warren to pray with them before going onstage hours after the death of their tour manager. Dennis Sheehan, U2's longtime tour manager, was found dead in his hotel room, last week in Los Angeles. Sheehan ... continue reading

ValLimar Jansen's latest album 'a soulful experience'

Image of

By Kelcee Marcum, Oregon Catholic Press

A unique mixture of genres, ValLimar Jansen's latest album, "Spirit & Soul," contains elements from gospel and praise and worship while escaping the confines of either genre. PORTLAND, Ore. (OCP) - "This is not a gospel record or even a praise and worship record, ... continue reading

All Music News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Who Needs Advent? I do!
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More