Boyz II Men – Under The Streetlight (Album Review) amnplify_writer
Boyz II Men
Under The Streetlight
(Album Review) 6/11/17
Any 90s teenager worth their weight in oversized jeans and butterfly clips would have at one point danced to, recorded on tape from the radio or had been sung with a Boyz II Men song.
Boyz II Men
The 90s reached a RnB peak aided by the Philadelphia quartet’s hits including I’ll Make Love To You, Motown Philly and River Runs Dry. Twenty-odd years later and the quartet is now a trio and is revisiting their Motown roots with Under The Streetlight.
Not surprising considering they currently hold a residency at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Motown hits have served another vocal group (from Australia) well in Sin City. And the old favourites which are offered on Under The Streetlight makes it the perfect Christmas gift for your mum. In translation, it’s an album that really makes no attempt other than to deliver nostalgic favourites as you would expect them.
And there’s where Boyz II Men get themselves into troubled waters. There is no denying that tenors Wayne Morris, Shawn Stockman, and baritone Nathan Morris know how to sing and work a song. In truth, their vocal harmonies are what reinvigorated the Motown Records label all those decades ago. Yet from that first song, Why Do Fools Falls In Love and proceeding song Stay what we receive is a by-the-book rendition that immediately sounds homogenised to the point I want to order a vanilla milkshake and watch the TV remake of Dirty Dancing.
Boyz II Men
The pep rises to the top on Ladies Man and Up On The Roof and would clearly work within their Vegas show but it’s like they’ve rounded off the corners far too much in an effort to give a respectful homage to their idols. Motown rose out of the struggles and unrefined musicians of those living in America during the 1950s and 1960s. It wasn’t necessarily perfect but there was a lot of gut fuelled heat delivered in those memorable songs. Even in love song I Only Have Eyes For You, originally recorded by The Flamingos, the trio sing with all the emotion of a misty-eyed lover rather than conveying the simmering sexuality of the song.
The collaborations are solid inclusions with Take 6, and Brian McKnight on A Sunday Kind Of Love, and standout Amber Riley on Anyone Know What Love Is, providing a differing textural element to the album. Production is also top notch but in that pro session band kind of way. Close your eyes and you can see yourself sitting in a Lounge seat at their Mirage show.
There really isn’t anything truly negative to say, it’s a lovely album but at the end of the day, its lovely impression fades soon after the last track ends. I think if I want to revisit old memories I’ll just pull out 1994’s II.