98 Degrees

Universal Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The boy-band revolution of the late '90s might be seeing its first casualty.

98º built up a name for themselves with their first two releases, not to mention a solid Christmas album (which we took a look at last year) and being paired with Stevie Wonder for a song in Disney's film Mulan. While they didn't hit the mega-star level as their closest competitors Backstreet Boys and N'Sync did, Nick Lachey and crew seemed to find their niche, and settled in to third place with very respectable sales.

Revelation, the fourth release (including This Christmasmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 ) from the group - brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons - finds the group settling into an album of incomplete song ideas which fail to break any new ground for the foursome. The end result, while having some good moments, suggests that the band might be creatively running out of steam.

I'm not the only one thinking about this. Sales for Revelation have been less than an eye-opener (or is it too early to make puns about the album title?), while the first single "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" hasn't been the firecracker people expected. (The song itself isn't bad, though I would have preferred a little more instrumentation.)

The problem with Revelation lies in the first half of the disc. It's almost as if 98º has difficulty getting their creative engine to start right out of the gate. Tracks like "The Way You Want Me To," "Yesterday's Letter" and "He'll Never Be... (What I Used To Be To You)" all have the air like we've been there, heard that, read the book. There isn't enough new ground being plowed on this part of Revelation, and it often sounds like they're trying to make old melodies sound new.

Things pick up a bit mid-disc, and tracks like "My Everything," "Dizzy" and "The Way You Do" seem to inject more life into Revelation. But the brothers Lachey and crew seem to be unable to keep this momentum going, and by the end of Revelation, we're back where we started from.

Believe it or not, I don't have anything against the crop of boy-bands that emerged. I happen to like Backstreet Boys, and the other work of 98º I've heard I also liked. (My experience with N'Sync has been minimal, so I'll withhold any judgment.) But listening to Revelation made me think that this band is capable of so much better. And I really wanted to like this disc, but the material just wouldn't let me.

98º can recover from this and could possibly be even a stronger band, but Revelation, as it sits now, is a pretty significant hit against one of the three main boy bands, even with the strong moments.

Rating: C

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.