The Collection

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The Collection Music Poster Image
Nick Lachey and pals harmonize into girls' hearts.

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age 10+
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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Whether the singer is pouring out his heart about unrequited love, as in "Invisible Man" and "Why Are We Still Friends," celebrating a more fulfilled relationship, as in "Thank God I Found You," or just being there for someone, the emphasis is always on the positive and the steadfast. As the boys sing along with Stevie Wonder in "True to Your Heart," "When all the world around you / It seems to fall apart / Keep on believing, baby / Just be true to your heart."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even when the girl he loves is constantly crying on his shoulder over some worthless guy who's not treating her right, and never notices how much he's in love with her himself, our hero is always there for her. And in situations where the girl of his dreams returns his love, it would clearly never cross his mind to betray her trust. More fully realized than fairy-tale Prince Charmings, the singers of these romantic ballads radiate a chivalrous sex appeal.


There's a strong sexual subtext here, but it's expressed in lush harmonies, pulsing musical arrangements, and lyrics that imply far more than they state. "Give me just one night, una noche, and I'll give you the time of your life" and "I've been waiting to give this gift tonight / I'm down on my knees, there's no better time / It's something to last for as long as you live / Tonight I'm going to give you (oh girl!) all my heart can give" is about as explicit as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCommon sense LST November 26, 2017

excellent boy band music for tweens and up/

this is one of the most excellent best hits music albums from popular 90's boy bands. the messages here are mostly positive, the only sex references in her... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of boy bands back in the day, and why there is a resurgence today with bands like Big Time Rush and One Direction. Why do kids, especially girls, still like them?

  • 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?

Music details

  • Artist: 98 Degrees
  • Release date: May 7, 2002
  • Type: Album
  • Label: Motown
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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