Teen idols have a difficult time growing up, since both the artist and the audience are reluctant to give up on the past. To his credit, Joe McIntyre -- known as Joey McIntyre when he was the little one in New Kids on the Block -- is eager to do whatever it takes to keep his career active, as long as he can keep performing. When teen pop was hot in 1999, he turned out a dance-pop album that fit the time. Now that the trend has passed and, with it, his major-label contract, he's changed his tune, hooking up with guitarist Eman Kiriakou and performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter (albeit one who lets the other guy play guitar), showcased on the 2002 album One Too Many: Live From New York. Those passionately dedicated Joe Mac fans -- and they are out there, as the enthusiastic screams throughout the album illustrate; "They're called Bravehearts, people," Joe tells us, before warning doubters "Don't f*ck with us!!!" -- may know what they're in for, but the rest will be startled by this remarkable album. Many artists like to claim their music defies category, but few truly produce work that can't be grouped into some loose category. With this album, Joe McIntyre has joined that elite group. I've written thousands of record reviews spanning millions of words, but I cannot find the right words in the English language to convey what a unique experience One Too Many is. Perhaps it could be dismissed with a tossed-off sentiment -- perhaps, "it sounds like a live recording from your local coffeehouse" or "it sounds like the end of a long party, where two guys sit in the corner and won't stop singing their own songs as they try to impress the girls." These are credible criticisms, but it still doesn't quite capture the uniqueness of Joe Mac's on-stage persona. It doesn't capture how he barely seems to have the patience to complete a song without interrupting it with a wisecrack, nor does it indicate that he spends the performance swearing like an unhinged, drunken sailor. It doesn't take into account his flair for off-color jokes, including a rant about conserving water by "showering together...[and] pissing in sinks" and a whole stretch of jibes on the between-tunes-patter "What If I Was Gay," a question he poses to Eman, who dutifully responds, "then I'd switch teams." Nor does it suggest that McIntyre covers Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" with the conviction of somebody that just discovered the song, unaware of its status as a modern standard. Here, in this intimate setting, McIntyre is the king of his world, strutting as the cock of the walk to a small group of adoring fans who eat up his allusions to Swingers, agree with him that they can't remember the words to Van Morrison's "Wild Night" during an impromptu cover, and agree that he's still gossip-worthy when he claims that an aside he muttered will "be all over the Internet tomorrow," when it sounds like the only people interested in this record were there at its recording. And these are simply a handful of the highlights on a record that sounds for all the world like a post-alternative singer/songwriter auditioning for a stint as a borscht belt comedian. Any one of these things would be noteworthy, but combined, the result is stunning, bewildering, hilarious, disarming, endearing, and utterly unforgettable.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine