Our Top 10 Boyz II Men songs article takes a look at one of the biggest male groups in r&b music. They rose to fame in the 90’s and were able to sustain a successful career. They started out as a quartet, but now work as a trio. Member Nathan Morris and former member Marc Nelson formed the group in 1985. They went to high school together. Wanya Morris joined in 1987. Shawn Stockman and Michael McCary joined in 1988. They came up with the name Boyz II Men based on the New Edition song “Boys to Men.” Due to personal conflicts, Marc Nelson would eventually leave the group. They became a quartet. Boyz II Men got their break when they snuck into a concert and wanted to meet Will Smith. They wanted to sing for him. They ended up running into members of New Edition. The group sang one of New Edition’s songs and Michael Bivens ended up becoming their manager. They signed with Motown Records.
Boyz II Men released their first album Cooleyhighharmony in 1991. Michael Bivens produced this album. The successful album was a mix of New Jack Swing and r&b. The album peaked at number three. The album features the singles “Motownphilly,” “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” “Uhh Ahh” and “Please Don’t Go” The album was re-released a year later and included the singles “End of the Road” and “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember). The album sold over nine million copies.
The group followed up their successful debut album with the release of the single “End of the Road.” It was written for the Boomerang soundtrack. It became their biggest hit single at the time. It reached number one on the charts and stayed there for an impressive 13 weeks. This single transformed them from an r&b act to a mainstream act. Following the success of their debut album, they released a Christmas album.
They followed their Christmas album with the release of their sophomore studio album II. The pressure was on the group to see if the first album was a fluke. It turned out that their debut wasn’t a fluke. II came out in 1994. It debuted at number one and stayed there for five weeks. The group made history because they were the third act to have one of their singles replace the other on the charts. “I’ll Make Love to You” was number one for an astonishing 14 weeks. It was replaced by “On Bended Knee.” The album also features the singles “Thank You” and “Water Runs Dry.” The album sold over 12 million copies and outsold their debut album.
Boyz II Men released their third studio album Evolution in 1997. It debuted at number one. It sold 215,000 copies in its first week. This album didn’t stay at number one as long as the previous album. It was only there for one week. This album was considered a disappointment compared to the other albums. The album received mixed reviews. The album features the singles “4 Seasons of Loneliness,” “A Song for Mama,” “Can’t Let Her Go” and “Doin’ Just Fine.”
Boyz II Men changed labels due to conflict with the label. They singed with Universal Music Group. In addition to changing labels, Michael McCary was diagnosed with scoliosis. It made it hard for him to dance with the group. They released Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya in 2000. They wanted to have more writing control with this project. They wanted to prove that they didn’t have to rely on Babyface (End of the Road, I’ll Make Love To You, Water Runs Dry and A Song for Mama) to have hit songs. This album received better criticism than their last project. The album includes the singles “Pass You By” and “Thank You in Advance.” The album sold over a million copies. This is the only album the group released through Universal Music Group.
The group signed with Arista Records in 2002. They released Full Circle in 2002. They reunited with Babyface on this project in order to achieve the success they had with him in the past. The album received mixed reviews. The album features the singles “The Color of Love” and “Relax Your Mind.” This project fared better than their previous album. The album sold over one million copies. This is the last album they did as a quartet. Michael McCary left the group in 2003. He suffered from back pain resulting from MS.
Arista Records dropped the group from the label in 2003. They signed with MSM Records. The group recorded quite a few cover albums over the years. They released Twenty in 2011. This album was dedicated to their 20 years in the music business. It debuted at number four on R&B/Hip-Hop and number 20 on Billboard 200. The album sold over 18,000 copies in its first week. The album features the singles “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” “One up for Love” and “Flow.” In 2013, the group did a lot of touring. In 2014, they released Collide. The album peaked at number 5 on the Independent charts, 6 on R&B/Hip-Hop charts and 37 on Billboard 200. The album features the single “Already Gone.”
Boyz II Men have been in the music business for a long time. They have longevity because every member of the group gets a chance to sing lead in every song. There aren’t that many groups that feature every singer in the song. Most groups have one or two lead singers and the others are background singers. Boyz II Men allowed every member to shine on the songs. They are known for their harmonious singing. There aren’t many groups that can hold a candle to Boyz II Men when it comes harmonizing. The group has a lot of hit singles. This Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs list will feature some of their many hit singles.
# 10 – Motownphilly
The first song on Our Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs list is the heart thomping “Motownphilly” from the successful Cooleyhighharmony album. This is the single that introduced the world to the group. This immensely popular song has a New Jack Swing sound. The song is basically about the group telling a story about how they became singers. They were bringing the Motown sound to Philadelphia. The harmonious group is known for their ballads, but this gave them a chance to do something different. They showed they could sing a dance song. The music is a head nod and will have you dancing. It fits for the 90’s era.
Boyz II Men’s vocals are superior even on a dance track. It gives them a chance to showcase their vocal chops especially when they ad lib. Their mentor Michael Bivens has a small role in the song. He talks about how he discovered them in the bridge of the song. They are a little hard to understand, but the song is still good.
# 9 – 4 Seasons of Loneliness
The next song on our Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs list is the heartache ballad “4 Seasons of Loneliness from the underrated Evolution album. This deep ballad has an r&b and pop sound. The touching song is about losing the love of their life. The music is soft and romantic despite the theme being about heartbreak. The piano chords and drums sell the music. This sounds like something New Edition would sing. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis brought out the best in the group. They display their incomparable harmony in the song. They are right at home with this track because it is their comfort zone. Shawn and Wanya were the vocal champions in this track because they hold notes and they sound refreshing.
# 8 – Uhh Ahh
This sexy song is the third single from the explosive debut album Cooleyhighharmony. This sensual ballad has an r&b and New Jack Swing sound. The song starts with a harmonious countdown before they start with the seductive song. This song pushed the envelope and showed a sexy side of the group. This song is about them making love with the woman they love. The song has an easy chorus. All they do is repeat the title of the song. They manage to make sex sound romantic without being too graphic. Michael McCary’s spoken word sections sound arousing. His deep vocals are perfect for baby-making music. Wanya and Shawn remained in the background of the song giving it the splendid harmonies it needed.
# 7 –Please Don’t Go
This soulful song is the fourth single from the hugely popular Cooleyhighharmony album. This mature ballad has an r&b sound. It’s about them asking the woman they love not to leave them. The synthesizers are easy on the ear. It gives the song a romantic feel. Their vocals can send chills up your spine. They have impeccable harmony throughout the song. Everyone gets their time shine. The way they sing the song doesn’t sound as if they are begging the woman to come back to them. They sound honest and sincere. There’s no way a woman shouldn’t come back after hearing a song like this. They wear their hearts on their sleeves without sounding cheesy. McCary’s spoken words are sensual and are perfect with the music. It’s one of the highlights of the song.
# 6 – Water Runs Dry
This inspirational song is fourth single from the impressive II album. This profound ballad has an r&b and pop sound. It sounds similar to TLC’s “Unpretty.” This message-filled song is about appreciating what you have and not waiting until it’s gone to appreciate it. This is a different style of music for the group because they usually sing love songs. It was a refreshing change for them to sing a song with a message. The music is stripped. The violin and drums dominate the remarkable beat. The drums give it a marching band type of sound. They have incredible harmony in this track. They don’t hold too many notes or do many runs, but they weren’t needed. The music is soft so it wasn’t necessary. McCary’s bass voice sound amazing in the background. He doesn’t do his usual spoken word part, but he does make an impact in the background.
# 5 – On Bended Knee
The next song on our Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs list is the emotional “On Bended Knee” from the silky smooth II album. This extraordinary ballad has an r&b sound. This song is about things they would do in order to get their woman back. This is one of Boyz II Men’s signature begging songs. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis came up with the best song for them to sing in order for them to get their woman back. The group made the begging sound alluring and gorgeous. Wanya is the vocal champion in the song. He vocalizes throughout the song. He impressively belts as well as holds passionate notes towards the end of the song. He turns the song into a power ballad. The other members of the group do a great job supporting Wanya in the background.
# 4 – It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
This transitional song is the second single from their hit debut album. This somber song has an r&b, soul and a capella sound. This song is about having to leave something or someone behind. This song has different meanings. It can be about leaving your friends behind. It can be about a relationship ending. It can also be about someone passing away. In case you thought the trivia wasn’t going to be included, here is some trivia about the song. The group had to convince the label to release the song. The label didn’t think radio stations would play it, but they were wrong.
They have such amazing harmony in the song that their voices replace the music. They are so talented that they manage to sound like music. The group turns pain into art and it was a refreshing change of pace. They proved that they could sing more than just romantic ballads. Their harmonies are on point throughout the song. This is a cover song, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else singing this song other than Boyz II Men.
# 3 – A Song for Mama
This beautiful song is from the Soul Food soundtrack. This superb ballad has an r&b sound. This song is a dedication to mothers. Babyface wrote a tremendous song to celebrate motherhood. The song hooks you as soon as you hear the deep resonant piano chords. Babyface is the king of romance and he proved that he can write a beautiful song that celebrates mothers. It’s a different type of love. Boyz II Men’s vocals are off the chain in this track. They showcase their signature harmonies throughout the song. Their melodies compliment the song. Wanya displayed titanic high notes that roared over the cinematic piano chords. He was the vocal champion once again in the song. This song is flawless and could have easily been number one on this list.
# 2 – End of the Road
This sentimental song is from the Boomerang soundtrack. This record-breaking ballad has an r&b sound. The song is about something coming to an end. Here is some trivia about the song. Co-writer Babyface was going to sing the song himself. Babyface, L.A. Reid and Darryl Simmons decided that Boyz II Men should sing the song instead. Babyface would have done a great job, but it’s hard to hear anyone other than Boyz II Men sing this song. The song is inviting the second it starts. Their famous harmonies glide effortlessly over the melody. They display classically soulful crooning throughout the song. McCary’s signature spoken part makes an appearance. It will take you places you’ve never been before. It has a smoothly polished finished because it ends with the hook and Wanya’s ad libs. It was the perfect ending to a perfect song. There’s no surprise that this song smashed records because it is a fabulous song.
# 1 – I’ll Make Love to You
We have come to the number one song on the Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs list. Coming in at number one is the incomparable “I’ll Make Love to You” from the impressive II album. This baby-making ballad has an r&b sound. This enchanting song is self-explanatory. Babyface wrote a song about making love and it didn’t sound graphic. It sounded passionate and romantic. Once again, he brought out the best in Boyz II Men. Here is some trivia about the song. Boyz II Men didn’t want to sing this song at first. They voted it off of the album. They thought it sounded too much like “End of the Road.” It was a good thing they changed their minds because it became a smash hit for them.
There’s no way this song shouldn’t have been included on the album. It is one of the best songs on the album. This song is showstopper. They display a lot of emotion on this track. All of the members do an amazing job, but Wanya is the true star of the song. He vocalizes and holds notes towards the end of the song. He uses vocals that stretched into big belted notes. This song is absolutely perfect.
Top 10 Boyz II Men Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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