If I’m fanatic about New Kids on the Block, I might be even more fanatic about New Edition-scary thought, isn’t it?

So when it was announced that the New Kids’ comeback album “The Block” would feature a collaboration with the group that pretty much spawned them, I was pretty damn excited. So, less than a week before “The Block” officially hits stores, the song, “Full Service”, has leaked. The question, now, is has the teen idol summit meeting actually resulted in a great song?

NKOTB\'s new CD, \"The Block\" features \"Full Service\", a duet with fellow boy band New Edition.

Well…no. I mean, it’s pleasant enough. With a title like “Full Service”, I definitely assumed that the song would be on the sexual side, and my hunch was correct there. However, instead of giving us a grown & sexy slow jam (which the N.E. guys could have torn the hell up), we’ve got a reasonably catchy club banger. I suppose the song could potentially grow on me. I mean, it’s not like I hate it. I just expected a little more.

What galls me, though, is the overuse of the auto-tune effect that almost ruins the song. Let’s face it, folks, between the ten combined members of both groups, there’s one guy that can sing his natural ass off (Johnny Gill) and four other guys that are more than capable of carrying a tune (NE’s Ralph Tresvant and Ricky Bell and NKOTB’s Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre). The auto-tune/vocoder effect was only cute the very first time it was used (on Cher’s “Believe” nearly ten years ago) and should only be used by artists who can’t otherwise sing (paging T-Pain). The fact that this effect has reared it’s ugly head on four of the six tracks I’ve heard from “The Block” so far make me wonder a) if this effect is being used because the members can’t sing anymore, what the hell is gonna happen when the group goes on tour? and b) did someone behind the mixing board at the studio just go crazy with the effects switches? The song is also a head-scratcher because the New Edition guys blamed the relative failure of their last album, 2004’s “One Love”, on the fact that then-label prez P. Diddy saddled them with songs that were, to put it mildly, a little immature for them. With that in mind, the fact that they lent their talents to this track is a bit confusing, as these guys sound like they’re trying a bit too hard to cater to the young, clubgoing crowd. I was about to spank the New Kids for working with Akon, then I realized that at 35, Akon is the same age as the group’s members. Never mind.

Anyhow, enough of my editorializing. What do you think? (By the way, if you haven’t figured it out, the song title links to a page containing the audio).