Boyz II Men returns with its soulful sounds

Pamela Morello

Long before the recent barrage of boy bands, the Boyz II Men quartet has been collecting one platinum album after another since 1992.
It is ludicrous to even try to compare Boyz II Men’s soulful harmonies to the likes of the pop-crazed boy bands like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys. The range and power of Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Michael McCary’s voices are unmatched by any other artists in the industry.
After three long years, the group released their greatly anticipated fifth album “Nathan, Michael, Shawn, Wanya” in September. The guys took control of this recent album by writing or co-writing 12 of the 14 tracks and producing the majority of them as well.
The first single off the album, “Pass You By,” written by Shawn Stockman, is a typical romantic ballad for the group. The song has a smooth beat and insightful thoughts on love expressed in the chorus: “Don’t have to stay with someone who makes you cry/You’ll end up killing all the love you have inside/Can’t hope to see the sun if you don’t open your eyes/Girl don’t let real love pass you by.”
“What the Deal,” “Thank You in Advance” and “Lovely” prove to be 3 sweet and sexy tracks. With their tight harmonies, the Boyz show that they can be romantically poetic and subtly sensual at the same time.
For those who are involved in long distance relationships, “Dreams” will become your theme song. It’s an uplifting and inspirational song of far away lovers who meet in their dreams.
Aside from the ballads, songs like the Latin-inspired fantasy “Beautiful Women” and the upbeat jazz sound of “Step on Up” will keep you dancing.
The one song that seems grossly out of place on the album is “Bounce, Shake, Move, Swing.” The track has a very techno/house vibe to it that is incongrous to anything that Boyz II Men has ever done.
With their fifth album Boyz II Men one again proves their mastery of the romantic ballad, while at the same time showing their growth as musical artists. This album will surely garner a new group of number one singles for the quartet.