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Nov 15th 2000

The lads - Boyz to MenBoyzIImen - Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya: LP (Universal)


The lads from Philly are back after a 3 yr hiatus from the music scene with this their 5th set and first for Universal.

' Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya ' is definitely a departure from past works as they give us a more mature feel to this record. Most might think from the offset that this time around its more of a personal effort for the boyz and they would be right.

The first single, 'Pass You By ' was written by Shawn and produced by the group (who shares the role of executive producers as well), and is the definitive Boyz II Men ballad, with luscious harmonies and a message that hits home no matter where you are.

Speaking of ballads, the mid - tempo groover 'Beautiful Women' is a delightful number. This track showcases the growth that the lads endured with the Spanish guitar ridden licks and the heavy drenched bassline. Following suite is 'Step on up ' (a favourite with me), a catchy house track that I'm sure won't fair well on American soil but will soar in Europe and ' Bounce, Shake, Move, Swing ' another house club hit with a bit of a bite to it. 'Good Guy ' was co-written and produced by Kevin 'She'kpere' Briggs who seems to be everywhere these days (Destiny's Child, Kandi and Usher to name a few) which is prime RNB chart material. 'Dreams' is rumored to be the Boyz favourite of the lot and with good reason as it highlights their maturity, built on an instantly memorable melody.

Although ballads make up the majority of the CD, these guys also demonstrate that they know how to get down and although they have always had major input on their previous albums, they admit that powerhouse songwriters and producers did shape much of their sound and learning from the best made recording this CD a challenge well worth taking on, and one that paid off dividends. A worthy Ty-D Pick.




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