On "Yore Favorites" I look back on memories of my favorite music of yesteryear and see how I feel about it today.
Boyz II Men are an R&B group from Philadelphia. You've probably heard of them. They've sold 25 million albums in the US, including II, which has sold over 12 million. They've had 8 number one singles, 3 of which were number one for 10+ weeks. In their prime the group consisted of Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris, and Michael McCrary. McCary has since left the group, but the other three members continue to carry on the name.
The first time I remember coming into contact with something Boyz II Men related was in the church parking lot, hearing one member of the youth group singing the lyric, "Close your eyes. Make a wish." I thought it sounded nice, but I had no clue that it was the first line to a song called "I'll Make Love To You". Definitely not a song appropriate for a 12 year old to be enjoying. Not long after that, I happened to see a cheap cassette single by Boyz II Men of a song called "Thank You". Boyz II Men were all the rage by this time and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. It took some serious effort for me to convince my mom this wasn't gangsta rap or something, but she gave in and bought it for me (no such luck with "Gangster's Paradise" or "Jesus Freak"). My mom must have liked what she heard because it wasn't long before we were both singing along to the cassette singles of "On Bended Knee" and "Water Runs Dry", and then eventually, the whole II album.
Not long after this, in 1996, I received my first CD player. It was a discman (look it up, young folks) and I loved, loved, loved it! This is when my passion for music started to really take off. The first album I bought? Cooleyhigharmony. I also signed up for the Columbia House CD club and got II in my first batch from them (along with TLC, R. Kelly, Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Brandy and Silk).
Possibly the first album I was actually anticipating coming out was the third album from Boyz II Men, 1997's Evolution. I cut the CD picture out of the Best Buy Sunday newspaper ad and anxiously awaited release day. I bought the album at Wal-Mart and played the thing like crazy.
I have loads of memories of Boyz II Men related memories, from my mom telling me I was singing "Doin' Just Fine" too loud on a high school basketball trip to walking down the road with friends on Halloween singing "End of the Road". From flipping on MTV hoping to catch the Boyz in their always coordinated outfits in a music video to singing "End of the Road" while playing basketball in my Pastor's driveway…apparently I just sang "End of the Road" all the time back then.
So, how does it hold up in 2017? Well, the ballads still sound great. I'm not sure there's anyone who has had more great R&B ballads than Boyz II Men. Most of the up-tempo songs just sound too dated, and to be honest, other than "Motownphilly" and "Thank You", I was just never interested in their faster songs anyways. The ballads are pretty timeless, though, and I'll probably be singing "End of the Road" from my nursing home bed one day.