A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that '90s boy-band superstars 98 Degrees offered a pretty safe focus for the budding romantic fantasies of their enthusiastically screaming tween-girl audiences, and there's little in the material on their anthology The Collection that's problematic. Nick Lachey's lead vocals will still set young hearts a-throbbing, the harmonies and production are gorgeous, and themes of love, unrequited and otherwise, are treated with satisfying yet age-appropriately vague urgency. Guest appearances by Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder may encourage exploration of their work.
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What's the story?
During the boy-band craze of the late '90s, one of the most successful was 98 Degrees (usually written with the degree symbol), with brothers Nick and Drew Lachey plus Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre. Soulful harmonies, lush production, and appealing lyrics, not to mention their good looks, won the hearts of tween girls, starting with their 1997 debut single "Invisible Man." This collection includes their biggest hits from that auspicious beginning until their breakup in 2002, including "Thank God I Found You" with Mariah Carey and "True to Your Heart" with Stevie Wonder.
Is it any good?
While none of these tunes will carry off the Nobel Prize for Literature, they're all pleasant, upbeat, engaging, and devoid of violence, swear words, and overt sex. Musically, the quality is top notch, and as songs aimed at younger audiences go, easy on adult ears as well; these guys sing beautifully.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do you think the songs on The Collection do a good job of expressing how it feels to be in a situation where you're in love with someone, but they're in love with someone else, and just see you as a good friend?
What qualities expressed in the lyrics make you think you might be able to trust the guy singing the song if he were in your life?