The Singles Bar: NKOTBSB, "Don't Turn Off The Lights"

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The first single from the hybridized New Kids On the Block/Backstreet Boys doesn't sound like "I Want It That Way," or "The Right Stuff," or even "Please Don't Go Girl"; instead, "Don't Turn Off The Lights" is a frothy bit of electropop that's very 2011, what with the stuttery synth line that brings to mind "Poker Face" and its middle-of-the-street tempo that recalls Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart" and other semi-anonymous pop & b songs of recent vintage. (Co-writer Jess Cates also worked on BSB's "Incomplete" and "Inconsolable," while Claude Kelly had a hand in Jessie J's annoying "Price Tag" and Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," among other tracks.)

It's pleasant enough to crack radio playlists, although it would probably sound best in a megamix with the two groups' other biggest hits. But its inoffensive nature has apparently sparked a bit of controversy from fans, who are in a twitter about just how much airtime the members of each individual band received. To help settle these arguments, the pop forensic technicians at the Backstreet Boys fan site The Dark Side have figured this to be the breakdown on the verses/bridge (the chorus is a big old singalong):


Joey / Donnie (he gets to call out "NKOTBSB") / Jordan / AJ / Joey / Joey & Brian / Howie / Brian / Brian & Howie / Brian


Jordan / Donnie / Nick / Brian / Joey


Howie / Donnie (here he whispers "let's get high, girl"—adult content!) / Howie / Donnie / Howie / Donnie / Nick / Donnie (another "NKOTBSB" shoutout)

And then Nick gets the last word. No Danny? No Jon Knight? Donnie being the one who has to make the song all ickily grown-up? Perhaps this Backstreet Boys fan isn't as familiar with the nuance of the New Kids' vocals as a diehard might be. Or is this a sign that we are on the verge of giant fan wars breaking out at every show on the group's big summer jaunt across America? Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh!