Radio Creme BruleeIs "Nick & Knight" the start of a new trend in duo formation?
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Is “Nick & Knight” the start of a new trend in duo formation?

3 August 2014 7 Comments
This blog belongs to Radio Creme Brulee – an internet music radio station that broadcasts globally.

nick-carter-and-jordan-knight-album-coverPop duos, while relatively rare these days, used to be permanent fixtures in the commercial music scene of yesteryear. Noteworthy examples include Hall & Oates, Tears For Fears, Wham, Savage Garden, Erasure, and the Pet Shop Boys.

Interestingly enough, these duos, for the most part, shared a similar dynamic and history. The members rose to prominence at the same time. Neither of the members had a prior musical legacy to lean on. One member of the duo almost always grabbed most of the attention of the music-buying public. The other member of the duo was invariably considered the beneficiary of the talent of the “primary member”. This dynamic was probably less apparent for Tears For Fears and the Pet Shop Boys but it was most prominent in Wham wherein Andrew Ridgeley was considered to be the guy that was lucky enough to be the best friend of the legendary George Michael.

Nick & Knight – a new duo formed by Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys and Jordan Knight of New Kids On The Block (NKOTB) just might mark the birth of a new trend in duo formation. The idea alone of such a duo forming is interesting for the following reasons:
a. It seems rather unexpected and out of the blue.

b. Neither Nick Carter nor Jordan Knight have had commercially sustainable solo careers despite having minor hits.

c. Both Nick and Jordan belong to globally successful boybands that do not seem to have made the transition into contemporary pop culture with ease and rely heavily on nostalgia to propel their commercial aspirations as performers and artists. That does not mean that the bands have not created great new material. They have had occasional moments of brilliance in recent years but have not broken ground outside of their core audiences in any substantial way.

d. Both Nick and Jordan have their own strong identities in pop culture.

The one question that might cross the minds is “What do these guys hope to achieve via this unusual collaboration”?

The Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block have already toured together and in doing so, catered to the nostalgia needs of two generations simultaneously. Hence, what do Nick & Knight hope to achieve that NKOTBSB (the super-group formed by Backstreet Boys and the New Kids On The Block) has not? We have tried thinking about all angles here.

It goes without saying that Take That is the only boyband that has managed to make the transition out of youth and has broken ground with a younger generation in doing so. Some of this can be attributed to their exit from the industry in the mid-90s at their commercial zenith. Their miraculous comeback was probably also driven by a strong syndrome of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and a stylistic reinvention. It is possible that reinvention is NOT required for popstars of yesteryear to resurrect the fortunes of their glory days. Maybe the success could stem from a radically different approach to creating music. Both Nick Carter and Jordan Knight bring their unique flavors of their experiences in a boyband together to the table. These experiences might pave the way for creative synergies between the two of them. The creative value proposition of Nick & Knight might lie in these synergies.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Jordan Knight claimed that the duo were not working with any big names. They were only working with those that wanted to work with them. Nick and Jordan do not seem to feel any pressure. They seem to be in this for the journey. Great music typically takes its birth from experiments such as these. Whether or not the music will hold up, only time will tell. The “Nick & Knight” album releases on September 2, 2014 and is already available for pre-order. We have a full-length clip below of one of the tracks from the album but we would like to wait till the album releases before we pass judgment.

One thing we do know is that if the “Nick and Knight” endeavor is successful, similar collaborations might follow.

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7 Responses to "Is “Nick & Knight” the start of a new trend in duo formation?"

  1. Frannie says:

    I read a very interesting interview with Nick Feldman of the pop duo Wang Chung and they asked him why he thinks there aren’t too many current pop duos. He says it has to do with technology. Now you only need a laptop if you want to create electronic music so you only need one person. But in prior days, technology was less reliable and developed so you needed more than one person even to do electronic synthesizer music.

    My favorite current duo is Goldfrapp, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. They are like the duos you mentioned where one person Alison gets all the attention. If you haven’t heard their music you should definitely check it out. My favorite albums are Black Cherry and Supernature. Another favorite duo of mine is Everything but the Girl.
    It’s interesting though now in indie rock, duos are becoming trendy, but they are duo of guitar and drums without a bass player, I guess inspired by the White Stripes. My favorite new band is called Honeyblood which is two women, a guitarist and a drummer. They are rock leaning with with a pop aspect. Their debut album is a must if you like 90’s poppy alternative rock like Garbage.

    Speaking of Wang Chung, I think their music is very underrated. Everyone knows Lets’ Wang Chung tonight, but they actually have some great stuff on their albums. They recently did a new album Tazer Up which is great. They were pretty equal between Nick and the other member Jack Hues.
    Nick did an album in the 1990’s with Jon Moss of Culture Club fame called Promised Land. I don’t think it’s available now but it’s a really good pop album with some electronics. Worth checking out if like the Pet Shop Boys and Tears for Fears.

  2. Frannie says:

    With this are Nick and Jordan both going to be singing lead vocals, either as duets or alternating songs to sing lead vocals on? Not sure how that is going to work. Because I do think people like to have one person singing with their favorite duos or bands. It helps you connect with them more. A lot of the duos I mentioned one member does the majority of the lead vocals and the other person plays an instrument, does programming and maybe some backing vocals.

  3. @Frannie: As always, thank you so much for the comment. I guess Nick Feldman’s explanation would explain why duos like the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure existed. It might not shed as much light on the existence of duos like Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears.
    We actually do feature tracks by Goldfrapp. It is actually VERY easy to forget that Goldfrapp is a duo. Everything But The Girl is brilliant. I keep hoping they will reunite. It sounds like a silly idea given that Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn are a married couple. Interestingly enough, Ben Watt just released a new solo album. But yes, Everything But The Girl is brilliant. My personal favorite is their single “Driving” from “The Language of Life” album.
    I need to check out Honeyblood to see if their music fits our format. If you have any specific track recommendations that you think might work on our radio format, please do let me know.
    I love hearing about music by bands that everyone associates only with a single track. Kajagoogoo is one such band. People in the US associate them solely with their hit single “Too Shy” (which I do not like at all) but some of their other songs are absolutely brilliant. If you have any other Wang Chung recommendations, by all means, let us know!!!

    As far as Nick and Knight is concerned, apparently it is a mixed bag. Some solo stuff by Nick, some solo stuff by Jordan, and some duets.

  4. Frannie says:

    It’s interesting with Everything but the Girl because I never really paid much attention to their earlier music which was more folk driven. I only really became a huge fan with Walking Wounded and the remix of Missing. I also love Temperamental. It was frustrating because it seemed as long as I really started liking them they broke up!

    With Honeyblood, I recommend their songs Fall Forever and Anywhere but Here.

  5. @Frannie: The “Missing” remix is what broke Everything But The Girl to the masses. It is a shame they split. Check out the remix of “Mirrorball” from their “Adapt Or Die” album. Really beautiful and Tracey Thorn’s vocals are beautiful on it. I will check out the Honeyblood tracks this evening.

  6. Frannie says:

    I forgot there’s also another Honeyblood song called Joey that’s one of their more pop and slower tracks that might be right for your station.

  7. @Frannie: Very 90s Garbage-ish. Good stuff but I am still a little unsure of whether it is for Radio Creme Brulee. Need to listen to it a few more times.

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