"It's long overdue, but now Philly's slamming..." Motownphilly - Boyz II Men
PHILLY HAS ALWAYS BEEN SLAMMIN'!!! Check out my girl Virant Thang's write up on the Philly movement here. I know this group knows where they evolved from, there is no denying that. And I am also aware of the fact that they were talking about the artist's on Michael Biven's Biv 10 label, it was all about the East Coast Family. It doesn't matter what moniker she goes by, Philly, Tha Illadelph, Ms. Philadelphia, PHILADELPHIA–she is the home of some of the wickedest soul music on earth. But today, I decided to go with "hip-hop, smoothed out on an r&b tip, with a pop feel, appeal to it." And yes I know the above quote was from BBD, but this group brought the same groove. The album of the week is:
Michael Bivins couldn't help but sign Boyz II Men when they snuck into his dressing room and auditioned for him on the spot, showing their chops with an accapella version of "Can You Stand The Rain". From tenor to bass, they had it and their harmonizing said it all. Learning from and admiring exceptional artists such as The O'Jays, The Temptations, The Stylistics and of course their idol New Edition, helped morph this group into what they were and what they have become. From the style, the routines and the harmonizing–Boyz II Men were on point. It was meant to be just Wanya, Shawn, Michael and Nathan. I really can't seem to fit Marc Nelson into the equation at all to be honest. Perhaps his part was to be included with Az Yet and that is that. Besides, he was the one who wanted a solo career in the first place. Oh well, it is what it is.
The quartet went on to deliver Cooleyhighharmony an album full of heavy beats and smooth harmonies. It really can't get any better than that. I dished out some heavy funds to attend their concert in Montreal. Montel Jordan opened for him (I still can't get over Montel's moves, he did the damn thing!) and they tore down The Forum, no joke. My most memorable moment, was when they turned The Forum into a starry chasm all sparkly and lit up to sing, I believe (it was so long ago, anyone can correct me if I am wrong) "On Bended Knee". It was beautiful. And the Boyz serenaded and did what they do–brought the house down. This album is another back to back gem, one of the few that can get a good play from beginning to end. At the time, I purchased the album on cassette. When I purchased the CD is when I realized that the slow tracks came before the upbeat tracks and it actually bothered me! I guess I was actually playing the cassette backwards all this time, but hey, I lived with it. What better track to open with but "Please Don't Go"? And lord, I am a HUGE Wanya fan (didn't want that Brandy chick ANYWHERE near my man), so anything he belts out is alright with me. "Lonely Heart" and "This Is My Heart" were all about the love. "Uhh Ahh" is sexy as all hell, both the album and the remix versions and "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" is still hard for me to hear because of it's correlation to a friend's burial, but it is an oldie but a goodie nonetheless. Then we break into the upbeat, get-your-ass-on-the-floor tracks one after the other, it's non stop goodness. "Motownphilly", "Under Pressure", "Sympin" and then the flow starts to mellow out a bit with "Little Things" (which I think is my favorite song on the album, because it rings so true) and lastly "Your Love". What I really loved about this group, is that all of the singers had their turn on the mic. Everyone had mic time and showed their talent, those who could sing background, did so and vice versa. It was a great change of pace from one person singing lead all the god forsaken time.
Boyz II Men went on to become the most successful male vocal group of all time. 60 million records and counting, 5 Grammys, breaking chart records, collabos with Mariah Carey, LL Cool J and so forth, they are still doing their thing, In total, they have released 8 albums and a new release seems to be in the works for sometime this year. Michael left the group (the bass) because of back issues he was dealing with from scoliosis. It's not easy, trust me I overstand as I have gone through the ordeal with my younger sister. Boyz II Men are surely missed on the big scale of things in my book. They were the good old boys next door that your parents didn't mind you listening to. Can we say that today about any male soul groups? Not really–disheartening but true. Don't get me wrong, they are still touring, still have a strong following, still singing and releasing records. They love what they do and continue to deliver good music, BUT I would much rather see them at a big or intimate venue rather than at the local casino. Know what I mean? You can find out more about their movements on their MySpace page.
Flashback of the day: Well I wanted to pick my favorite Boyz II Men song, but it is not from this album. And by custom, I always choose a song from the aforementioned album. So with that said, here is the choice. Look for Philly alumni in the vid!...ENJOY!
Let me know your favorite Boyz II Men song. Have a great weekend...