Saturday, August 8, 2015

6 PIECE-Phase I (2000)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 8, 2015

I've entered the next phase of my current boyband listenings tonight with "Phase I", another recent gift from that same fellow boyband lover who brought me T-BOYZ and the first and only album by the too-short-lived boyband that called itself—well, to put it simply and right down to the point—6 PIECE. Had never even heard of these guys until I received this surprise gift, so I should add them to the list of boybands rescued from the depths of pop music obscurity. Of course, I was curiosity about their background, so a bit of exploration led me to the revelation that they were produced by Maurice Starr, the man famous for his fine production work with NEW EDITION and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK. And a fine job I'd say Maurice did here with this "Phase I" album as well. When you've got a group of guys with smooth, harmonious voices, you can do a lot with it. One option is having them throw down with a groovy 90's-inspired dance beat backing them up, as is the case on the opening cut, "Can't Let Go". Loved it all the way through to the marvelous end, where they perform the lyrics to the main chorus acapella and showing off that talent vocal harmony. Pretty neat how that glides right into the all-acapella piece, "The Wish Song". Much more than just a birthday wish, the words to this song are a wish for romance and to be with the one whom their heart desires for always. I like that refreshing 'aah' they sing right before the 'wish for you' line. They're good without music and they're good with music—it's a good ole dance-poppin' good time on "My First, My Last", and it's on this song where the stunningly soaring vocals of the group's lead singer first got my attention. Before I got to hear that stunningly soaring voice again on the thrilling 'Club 45' remix at the end, my ears would receive it well on "Don't Go" against the cooled-down syncopated beat (I really liked this song, though it seems it started to fade out just as it was getting really good; I surely would've taken another minute of two of this one!) and "Been Too Long" (he absolutely shines when he delivers the line 'I wanna love you and squeeze you over and over again', although the short rap break midway through is a shining moment itself). 'There's that refreshing 'aah' again'—just one of the little things I noted after the warming intro to "Breaking My Heart" before the uptempo beat swings in that made this song so pleasant. But here's a jam that I found totally refreshing: "Groovin' On You". A mix of old-school r&b, a funky electro sound reminding me of something by ZAPP and that typical boyband-style dance-pop—that's how I would describe the stellar production that went into this one, and you can bet that it's been added to my playlist of favorites! And if jamming to "Groovin' On You" isn't refreshing enough, perhaps immersing yourself into the album's trio of tender slow jams will do the trick: "Cherish Your Love", " Just A Little Mo' " and, my latest pick for your 'Slow Jam Of The Night', "Share Your Love", where the dreamy melody, the earnest lyrics and the soft, collective voices of this 6 PIECE bunch will melt your soul:

1. Can't Let Go
2. The Wish Song
3. My First, My Last
4. Breaking My Heart
5. Don't Go
6. Just A Little Mo'
7. Groovin' On You
8. Share Your Love
9. Been Too Long
10. Cherish Your Love
11. My First, My Last (Club 45 Review Extra)

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