Degrees: Larry Busacca/Retna
Craig Seymour
September 26, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

98 Degrees’ much anticipated third album, ”Revelation,” hits stores Tuesday, Sept. 26. But there’s one tune you won’t find on this disc, or on either of their first two: ”Baby, Can I Touch You There” was recorded for their self titled 1997 debut, but was yanked from the album before its release. Nevertheless, obtained an advance promotional copy of the salacious song, which would have easily earned the harmony spewin’ good fellas a rep as teen pop’s nasty boys.

Think ”9 1/2 Weeks” at your parents’ pad and you get a good idea of the lyrical content. There’s a kitchen scenario (”We can do it by the refrigerator/ Try some s— we can trip off of later”); some randy maneuvering (”Wanna see those legs in the air… Let me give you what you need/While I’m down on my knees”), and an all around horn dog chorus (”Baby, can I touch you there/ I want to get it everywhere/ Can you push my head down there/ Can I put my hand down there”).

The group’s label, Universal, didn’t return calls inquiring why the song was taken off the album. But last year, band member Jeff Timmons described the cut as ”a career killer.” Perhaps that’s why the crooners are playing it safe on ”Revelation,” which, not surprisingly, they think is their best ever. Singer Nick Lachey (a.k.a. Jessica Simpson’s amour) has said: ”Really, it’s our truest album yet, as far as us being very hands on and giving our heart and soul.” But EW sees it a little differently, calling the C grade release”formulaic radio fodder” with the foursome ”mouthing clichés from the heart.”

Even so, the boy band’s single — the ”I’m not Spanish but I sing it on CD” song ”Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” — has vaulted from No. 19 to No. 2 on Billboard’s pop chart this week, setting the stage for a big release. Industry observers expect ”Revelation” to move between 500,000 – 750,000 copies in its first week, which should guarantee a No. 1 debut. Who knew no sex sells?

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