New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue are peak 1989 in ‘Bring Back the Time’


So, 1989 called — on a phone that has a cord and probably doesn’t have call waiting — and it wants its music videos back.

Full-grown boy band New Kids on the Block are trying to “Bring Back the Time” with their upcoming MixTape Tour mates Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley and En Vogue, capitalizing on some major 1980s nostalgia with a new song and John Asher-directed video.

It’s peak era, meta, feel-good goodness for those who, er, remember the time.

The four acts team up for the first time in the humorous homage. In it, they salute the era’s iconic music videos, including Journey’s “Separate Ways,” Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” a Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran,” Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” Devo’s “Whip It,” Duran Duran’s “Rio,” Billy Idol’s “Flesh for Fantasy,” Madonna’s “Vogue,” Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” and Toni Basil’s “Mickey.”

Boyz II Men, Carrie Underwood, Mark Wahlberg and other celebs crash the music video for New Kids on the Block’s new song about life in quarantine.


Matt Frewer’s AI character from “Max Headroom” also makes a special appearance, and there are plenty of other throwbacks to keep the decade’s super fans guessing throughout the video. (A coveted coil-cord phone — a status symbol of the time — is among them.)

NKOTB’s Donnie Wahlberg co-wrote the new song with frequent collaborator Lars Jensen on a drive from his hometown of Boston to New York last summer, he told Billboard, which premiered the video Thursday. And both the lyrics and sound lean into the synth and harmony vibe of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

And so the chorus goes: “Bring back the time / The heart it never changes / And inside we’re still the same / We were back in ’89 / So bring back the time / You know we still got the magic / There’s nothing that can take away this / Feeling that we have tonight.”

The video, which also landed on YouTube Thursday, opens with New York City’s “Video Music Box” host Ralph McDaniels introducing the track. Commenters on the site repeatedly called it hilarious and said the groups nailed those throwback acts.

“This video, as fun and as silly as it is, it really is a celebration of the music and the look and the videos of that era,” Wahlberg told Billboard. “For us and our fans, that’s when we met. That’s when we would count the stars in the sky. We made a promise for life back then, that we would always be their band and they would always be our fans and we would always have this relationship. It sounds sappy, but it’s really true. I think the fact that we still have that relationship [with the fans], it’s so fun to celebrate all our years together.”

New Kids on the Block are reuniting with Salt-N-Pepa for their forthcoming Mixtape tour, which will make three stops in Southern California.

Announced in October, the 2022 outing of the MixTape Tour will launch in Cincinnati on May 10. The tour will hit more than 50 cities in arenas across North America, with stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim on May 27 and May 28, respectively. The tour wraps in Washington, D.C., on July 23.

Each act will perform its best-known hits, including NKOTB’s fan favorites “Hangin’ Tough,” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” and “Step By Step.” Their tour mates Salt-N-Pepa will perform “Push It,” “Shoop” and “Whatta Man”; Rick Astley will sing “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever”; and En Vogue will hit the stage with the hits “Free Your Mind,” “Give It Up, Turn It Loose” and “Hold On.”