Picks and Pans Review: Evolution

updated 10/27/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/27/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

Boyz II Men

There aren't many pop groups that can sing an ode to their mothers and actually appear to be sincere. Such is the gift of Boyz II Men, who have managed, despite the temptations of multiplatinum success, to retain their wholesome, nice-guy persona. On their two prior CDs, armed with exquisite, chart-topping songs like "On Bended Knee" and "I'll Make Love to You," Boyz II Men became the leading lights of polite soul. On Evolution, the same team that gave the Philly quartet its biggest hits is back. But this time, Babyface (who wrote the aforementioned "A Song for Mama"), Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have let the Boyz down. The best those consummate writers and producers can cook up is "Human II (Don't Turn Your Back on Me)," a weak retread of their 1986 hit "Human." Yes, the Boyz are still as likable as ever, but tight harmony can only go so far when there's not much to sing about. (Motown)

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