Entertainment Weekly - 7/26/91
"...a virtual catalog of contemporary black-pop grooves..." - Rating: B-
Q - 10/99, p.160
Included in Q Magazine's Best Motown Records Of All Time - "...street corner soul balladeers whose mellow, lovelorn sound is an obvious heir to The Miracles. Add to that some modish and well-done hip hop and dance inflections and they were millionaires..."
Q - 1/93, p.783 Stars
- Good - "...a succession of spectacular, deep breathing ballads..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.794 stars out of 5
-- "[A] stone cold classic; close harmonies, quiet storm, touches of doo wop on Side One....Sexy, seductive and, despite the technical brilliance, full of feeling..."
Boyz II Men: Nathan Morris, Michael McCary, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman.
Additional personnel: Nakia Keith, Nichole Williams (spoken vocals); Rick Criniti (guitar); Troy Taylor (piano, keyboards, bass, percussion); Dallas Austin (piano, percussion); Rick Sheppard (samples, drum programming).
Producers: Dallas Austin, The Characters, Troy Taylor, Charles Farrar.
Engineers include: Dave Way, Dennis Mitchell, Darin Prindle.
Boyz II Men: Michael Bivins, Michael McCary, Wanya Morris, (vocals), Nathan Morris (vocals), Dallas Austin (piano, percussion); Rick Criniti (acoustic guitar); Troy Taylor (piano, keyboards, bass, percussion), Nicholle Williams, Nakia Keith (background vocals); Rick Sheppard (samples).
Producers include: Troy Taylor, Charles Farrar, Boyz II Men, L.A. Reid, Babyface.
Personnel: Nakia Keith (vocals); Michael Bivins (rap vocals); Rick Criniti (acoustic guitar); Troy Taylor (piano, keyboards, percussion); Dallas Austin (piano, drums, percussion); Rick Sheppard (sampler).
Audio Remixer: Boyz II Men.
Arrangers: Dallas Austin; Michael Bivins; Nathan Morris; Shawn Stockman; Wanya Morris.
Boyz II Men's debut contains all the seeds that helped the vocal quartet blossom into one of the most popular and best-selling R&B acts of all time. Released in 1991, and quite unlike anything else in the mainstream at the time, COOLEYHIGHHARMONY ushered in an era of retro-leaning new jack soul that referenced doo-wop, vintage Motown, seductive R&B bedroom balladry, and dance-influenced grooves all at once. While aided greatly by polished, contemporary production, the center of Boyz II Men's success was their phenomenal, complex harmonies, which sounded so old-school they were newly hip.
The album's artistic success was reflected commercially. Both of the album's singles made significant chart inroads, with the elegant "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" and the smoothly grooving theme song "Motown Philly" becoming radio and MTV staples. Yet even the deeper cuts stand up, making for a thoroughly solid album that ranks as one of the best R&B releases of the '90s. And while the group's harmony-heavy R&B may have become a bit formulaic with future releases, it sounds plenty fresh and vibrant on COOLEYHIGHHARMONY.