Pop 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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