A popular book series dives into New Kids on the Block and Modern Lovers

Good news for fans of local music.

The members from the rock group New Kids on the Block (l-r) Joe McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jon Knight, Danny Wood and Jordan Knight. (Photo by Robin Platzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) Published in NYTimes 01/31/04 Published caption: Super Bowl XXV, 1991: New Kids on the Block performed at Tampa Stadium. (Getty Images) Library Tag 04012008

The 33 ⅓ series from Bloomsbury Publishing is the gift that keeps on giving for music enthusiasts. The mini books are essentially expanded liner notes, discovering every nook and cranny of a hit record’s history. Classics such as Let It Be, Pet Sounds, and Born in the U.S.A. have gotten the 33 ⅓ treatment, and now two classic local albums are set to have books published.

New Kids on the Block’s 1988 sophomore album Hangin’ Tough will be dissected by Miami-based author Rebecca Wallwork. The book is set to release April 21. According to Wallwork’s website, the objective of the book is, “To find out if the music on this album is any good and what everyone thinks about it more than 25 years on.’’

Also in the works is a 33 ⅓ book about the 1976 eponymous debut album from The Modern Lovers. Medford’s own Sean Maloney (who has contributed to Boston.com) will explore the record that helped put Jonathan Richman on the map and produced State Rock Song hopeful “Roadrunner.’’ According to 33 ⅓’s blog, The Modern Lovers is an album in which, “Richman observes a city all but abandoned by adults, ravaged by white flight and urban renewal, veering towards anarchy as old world social moors collide with new attitudes. It is a city [that] stands in stark contrast to the the ranch-style bedroom community where he was raised.’’

Maloney’s book is set to publish in 2018.


Other locals who have been subjects of 33 ⅓ books include Pixies for 1989’s Doolittle and They Might Be Giants for 1990’s Flood.

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