Japan Loves Boyz II Men

21.10.11 ShaSha LaPerf 7 Comments


 
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Boyz II Men and the release of their 2 CD-set album, TWENTY. When I first heard this, I was like, "Damn has it really been 20 years!" Seriously, "Motownphilly" and "So Hard to Say Goodbye" are frequently popping up on my MP3 playlist. It's too bad the we hit the end of the R&B boyband era in the states because Boyz II Men was one of the most vocally talented groups out there. I don't need to give an into to these guys because if you don't know them, slap yourself! But what many people don't know is that although Boyz II Men have lost steam in the states, they are actually still quite popular in Japan. So here's a look at some collaboration and cover work between Boyz II Men and a few Japanese R&B artists.

Boyz II Men has heavily influence many artists, including quite a few Japanese R&B groups. One of the groups is DEEP (formerly known as COLOR). The quartet released their own version of Boyz II Men's "End of the Road," which they performed as part of their "BLUE" tour in 2007:






But things can go both ways. In 2005, Boyz II Men released Winter/Reflections in Japan, which featured covers of some popular Japanese songs from artists like Nakashima Mika, and EXILE. Here's Boyz II Men doing a cover of "Kimi wo Sageshiteta" by CHEMISTRY. The English title is "I've Been Searching":



And here's the original version:


And I have to bring up DEEP again because the group also released a song with Boyz II Men titled "Can We Fall in Love" which was featured on their WHITE~Lovers on Canvas in 2009. Boyz II Men and DEEP did make a video for the song, however it's been removed from YouTube and I don't know how to rip DVDs onto my computer, LOL. But I was able to find the audio for the song here:


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But DEEP isn't the only group of folks who got the chance to collaborate with Boyz II Men. Atsushi from the group EXILE (who was also a member/producer of DEEP) appeared on two Boyz II Men albums. The first appearance was on the Japanese release of Boyz II Men's 2006 release of The Remedy. He added vocals to the track Muzak, which they all performed on the TV variety show, "Our Music 3":


 
And Atsushi made an appearance again on the TWENTY album, on the song, "End of the Day."

LOL, sadly Boyz II Men have yet to work with Hira Ken or Kubota Toshi. Let's hope to see them together int he future!

And even though I mostly focused on Japan here, I also have to make note of the Korean R&B group Soulstar, who I mentioned in a blog post before. They've covered several Boyz II Men songs such as "So Hard to Say Goodbye":




I got to listen to the TWENTY album and although Michael McCary's sexy bass voice was missing, the songs still feel like Boyz II Men. A good mix of funn music and baby making music. :) The did do new versions of their classics like "I'll Make Love to You," which I have to say I wasn't too keen on (because of Michael's voice no being present). But the original songs on the first CD were pretty good. So please check out the album today!

7 comments:

  1. OMG! What was Boyz To Men Thinking? How do you miss out on these guys( Soulstar)?! I mean..they really sound good...Really beautiful music. Even myself, I feel really bad that I missed out on this. Oddly,I loved Japanese entertainment and Bollywood in the past and I still do.

    I don't know what to say.. just listening to EXILE and Boyz to Men! I thought that I was in church listening to that. I was jumping up and down on my seat listening to that. I don't know if that song was ever played in the states,but that should have been a hit. I'm not just saying that because I like Japanese culture( I do),but..really,it sounds really good.Soulstar wasn't sounding too shabby themselves. They are BTM Japanese nemesis.

    Right now, Japan have been going through a lot of problems and some people have written them off. They may be down but they should never be counted as KO'D. The thing that I loved about the Japanese is that they can make beautiful, original music whether if it's traditional or someone else's stuff. I hope that they will come back bigger and better.

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  2. I don't think B2M has spent as much time in Korea as they have in Japan so they may not no much about Soulstar. Plus Soulstar had taken a hiatus for a while. It's funny, I did hear that B2M will have a concert in Korea but the opening act is a girl group. LOL maybe B2M and Soulstar would be an overload of sexy singing?

    The EXILE/B2M collaborations only seem to appear on the Japanese versions of the albums. Most of the American artists' albums I owe are from Japan because they usually have extra tracks or even full albums like B2M, but they cost more >:(. I think Atsushi blends will with the group and hole they continue to work together. And DEEP for that matter!

    Japan's still No. #1 in my book when it comes to Asian music. It's still a thriving industry, it's just not expanding internationally. Anime/manga is and easier thing to market and sell so Japan's probably happy shelling that out vs. their music.

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  3. Wow, I am very happy for Boyz II Men, even though last time i saw them on t.v. performing in the States was in 1996 and i was in the first grade. I think it is a shame how they are not appreciated as they should be, but its not surprising since many black artist end up in the back burner when it comes to music in the States, but they can always go to Europe or Asia and be appreciated and loved with open arms.

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  4. Boyz II Men recently did a video for the site College Humor which is pretty hilarious: http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6630439/boyz-ii-men-ringtones

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  5. Is Soulstar a Korean group? I didn't know that. They sound good. This is what Korea need more of the Soulstars, the Clazziquais and a more ..music that is more mature and wholesome.

    I'm with you about the Japanese music scene.It's just not something that just started and is just focusing on one genre of music. Japan will forever be a country..in my book..that will always be on top of their game mo matter what it is.

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  6. Yeah Soulstar is Korean. I wrote about them when I did my blog on Korean groups I missed. The took a 4 year hiatus and are just now getting back into the music game. I think they have a decent fan base in Korea but they're not a flashy group that rely on dancing, and being pretty (though they're not bad looking). I damn near melted when I heard their new song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uVeJ3w0sERo

    There hasn't been any news about an album release. Wen I hear there stuff I'm like, "umm Korea, why aren't you releasing more groups like THIS!?"

    @ Ellimac: LOL damn thanks for making me feel old! :P I think the last time I saw B2M on TV was when Shawn first started doing that show the Sing Off. That was maybe 2-3 years ago? Not sure. We don't have shows like Video Soul and Soul Train anymore which sucks because I did like seeing artist perform on TV. I refuse to watch 106 and Park. Seems like the only time we really see artist perform is when they're on a reality show like American Idol. That's almost a slap in the face. And you're right about blacks in Europe though. I remember hearing about how Kelly Rowland was originally struggling in the states when she went solo but was crazy popular in Europe.

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  7. Wow! I can't believe I completely lost track of Boyz II Men. I was such a fan when I was little (I'm 26 now). I know what I am getting from iTunes next (assuming they are on there, since I have not checked yet). Also, thanks for introducing DEEP and Soulstar! It looks like I have two new Japanese music artists to check out ^_^

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