Friday, May 26, 2006

Boyz II Men - Thank You (1995)

**1/2 (of four)

Okay, I just mentioned that I have a hunch Az Yet is doing shows at casinos across the country, but I know for a fact Boyz II Men - such a massive act in the early and mid-'90s - recently played the Bottleneck Blues Bar at the Ameristar Casino here in St. Louis. Well, not "played" so much as stood around with microphones and harmonized over the sounds of Plinko bonuses on the Price is Right nickel slots. A couple friends and I even considering seeing Boyz II Men at Ameristar, which would have been a killer high school nostalgia trip, but the tickets were something outlandish like $45 and they were missing one of their guys. I think the guy with the deep-ass bass voice whose singing always sounded like it belonged at the low end of a Bobby McFerrin backing track.

On the VH1 Soul channel, though, at two in the morning, the Boyz II Men boyz live on in all their squeaky-clean Motown glory. I always much preferred the doo-wop dance harmonies of "Thank You" to the formula treacle of "I'll Make Love To You," which got like five times the airplay. The video, like the song, is happy as hell - director Lionel C. Martin shows the guys visiting their old Philly neighborhood by Jeep. The barbershop, the pool hall, the park, the stoop in front of the old brownstone? Represented. Meanwhile, fourth grade versions of the Boyz run wild in the streets and discover the magic of their parents' 45-rpm records. "Thank You" is pure cheese, almost embarrassing and still damn near impossible to resist.


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