Boyz II Men – On Bended Knee

First Hit #1: December 3, 1994

Boyz II Men is an appealing group, but maybe not the most varied one out there. On Bended Knee isn’t terribly different from I’ll Make Love To You musically, it’s also a ballad, also trades heavily on the group’s vocal harmonies, but is otherwise not actually that different in sound. Oh sure, it’s a different subject, a pretty typical “take me back” narrative from the group, again portraying them as the sensitive party that just wants to make the lady happy. It’s a much more desperate song than the previous, but if someone who isn’t an English speaker was listening, they would be hard pressed to tell the difference. It’s a style of music for which Boyz II Men is certainly adept, and they acquit themselves well, but one also wishes they had more in their bag of tricks. Then again, for 1994 at least, they had enough success that maybe they didn’t need much more in that bag.

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One Response to Boyz II Men – On Bended Knee

  1. RBerman says:

    It’s Lionel Richie all over again. His piano ballads were all very similar throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, even when sung by Kenny Rogers, but the market just ate it up. Except that Richie had to actually come up with different songs whereas, for whatever reason, the top spot would just not let go of Boyz II Men in late 1994, with just a couple of different (but not really) songs.

    So what important songs missed #1 during Boyz II Men’s massive conquest of late 1994? The most significant “girl with guitar” was Sheryl Crow, whose talking-country “All I Wanna Do” maxxed out at #2 on its way to winning Record of the Year at the Grammies. Bon Jovi’s ballad “Always” made it to #4, showing that hair rock was only mostly dead.

    1994 was also a great year for modern rock; songs at the top of that chart included Beck’s “Loser,” Tori Amos’ “God,” Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm,” Live’s “Selling the Drama,” Green Day’s “Longview” and “Basket Case”, and The Cranberries’ “Zombie.”

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