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POP MUSIC | Record Rack

BOYZ II MEN, "Nathan, Michael, Shawn, Wanya," Universal

September 10, 2000|CONNIE JOHNSON

Forget everything you think you know about Boyz II Men. After a three-year recording hiatus, the new and improved pop-soul unit has developed a grown-up, sophisticated side. This album, largely written and produced by the quartet itself, has its fluffy moments, but the musical chances it takes are surprisingly mature and satisfying. Beyond that, BIIM recognizes that its purpose is to remind us that life wouldn't be nearly as sweet or enjoyable without its fluffier moments.

The atmospheric "Beautiful Women" is purely Latin in spirit, while "Good Guy" is a different take on the male-bashing trend that's currently so popular in R&B. Fans of the group's ballad-heavy proclivities won't be disappointed by "I Do," with its sepia-toned, doo-wop sentiments. Easily the best song here is one the guys didn't write. Shep Crawford's "Thank You in Advance" has a heart-tugging poignancy sure to appeal to your inner Hallmark card buyer. Its loving sentimentality stands in contrast to the edgy cynicism that permeates a lot of popular music these days.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums will be in stores Tuesday.

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