Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time, is back with one of the most diverse and exciting albums of their 23 year career: Collide, out this fall is, true to its title, a collision of sounds and styles, fusing grittier rock, lush pop and funk with the soulful R&B that first catapulted the 4-time Grammy Award winners to superstardom.
Signed to BMG, Boyz II Men stand as one the most iconic bands in music history. The group redefined the popular R&B genre and continues to blaze new trails, creating timeless hits that appeal to fans across all generations- including some of the some of the most celebrated classics of the past two decades. And the group’s accolades speak for themselves: in addition to their 4 Grammy Award wins, Boyz II Men have also won 9 American Music Awards, 9 Soul Train Awards, 3 Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
The trio- comprised of Nate Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Wayna Morris- also holds the distinction of being the best-selling R&B group of all time, with an astounding 60 million albums sold worldwide. And the reason is abundantly clear: for the past two decades Boyz II Men have given fans a rich catalogue of hits filled with smooth harmonies and enduring themes.
Now comes Collide– an album that showcases a sound as big and bright and expansive as the group’s 23 year career:
“Collide highlights a broader side of our creativity, going further into doing what feels right for us at this moment in our lives,” says Shawn Stockman. “And the product of that is an album with the type of sound that works in any era: big drums, dramatic, lush piano, it’s expansive and it grooves.”
And from the album’s first singles, “Better Half,” and “Diamond Eyes,” it’s clear that Boyz II Men have been stretching their creative muscles. “Better Half” is a passionate pop ballad about the “possibly infinite” search for a soulmate. “Not the perfect someone– but someone perfect for them, as Stockman puts it. “The subject is serious, but we loved the song for its hopefulness.”
Meanwhile “Diamond Eyes” is arena-ready rock with big, thunderous drums and driving guitar. And if it weren’t for the guys’ unmistakable voices, you’d never guess it was a Boyz II Men record: “When we first heard it, we instantly fell in love with the intense energy,” said Nate Morris. “There’s a definite 80s influence, and we took that and ran with it, giving it a modern twist.”
The album’s title track, “Collide,” meanwhile, is the ultimate “goodbye” song according to Wanya Morris. “It asks the question, who would you want to be with if the world ended tomorrow?” That feeling of despair and peace at the same time; all of love’s emotions in one song. And that’s truly what this whole album embodies: A range of emotions and a diverse range of sounds and energy along with that. Thus, the name.”
And the song “Already Gone” is a perfect showcase of how sonically interesting this album is. “From the signature changes, to the synths and the way that the drums are arranged; it’s clever,” says [Nate] Morris. “The song itself is basically about a relationship gone awry, but the instrumentation is what makes this interpretation cool.”
“Vegas,” meanwhile, is a love song not for a person but for a certain city that’s become very close to the guys’ hearts: Boyz II Men have had a successful residency at the famed Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas since March 2013 (continuing through the end of this year) and Sin City has truly become their second home. “Being there for as long as we have, we really have been able to capture the excitement of those who visit the city,” says Stockman. “People come looking for luck- and not just at the casinos. Sometimes it seems like everyone is after that ultimate encounter with some mystery person, or with destiny, a moment that will change things forever. For many people, that’s Vegas- and that’s the song!”
“Losing Sleep” is one track that will definitely have listeners bouncing their heads, featuring human beat boxing mixed with a drum loop. “It’s a dope track yet it still has a great deal of musical integrity,” says [Wanya] Morris, “which makes this different from your typical groove track. The song’s about a woman who’s got us admittedly ‘sprung,’ and we’re trying our hardest to shake her hold, but to no avail. It’s a head-bopper for sure.”
“Underwater” on the other hand has no drums- but rather is carried by the keys and baseline as it depicts the ultimate disconnect in a relationship- so much so that the words dissipate as the track progresses. And while the majority of the album focuses on love, “So What” is simply about a man who’s lost his religion, and is trying his best to keep it in his heart before it completely dissolves.
Collide is a stunningly diverse collection of sounds, styles and genres- but it evolved very organically for the R&B icons. “I think music changes the same way people naturally change,” says Stockman. “Our music has grown with us and our approach to recording has become simpler. We weren’t in the studio toiling over nine-part harmony arrangements just because we can… For us, it’s about what makes the songs sound their best.”
“Collide is a landmark album for us not only because it contains some new stylistic elements, but also because it is a reflection of exactly who we are now: 20-plus year veterans still taking risks and feeling good about life! Life truly is good at this moment in time. And this album is a product of that.”
For information on tour dates and everything Boyz II Men, head to: www.BoyzIIMen.com and follow them on twitter @BoyzIIMen. And to to pre-order Collide and receive both “Better Half” and “Diamond Eyes” instantly, go to http://smarturl.it/CollideiTunes