Soulful songsters and perennial ladies men Boyz II Men took a break from handing out roses to their fawning fans and sat down with us to talk about the best music for setting the mood.
Baritone Nathan Morris and tenors Shawn Stockman and Wanyá Morris offer these smooth sounds from the annals of R&B to make love more lovely.
As Wanyá said, “It’s a dance. Music has to be involved.”
1. “When I Fall in Love” by Nat King Cole
Shawn: “It just sounds like one big, beautiful floral arrangement … It’s a gorgeous song sung by one of the greatest voices in the world. It’s smooth. It’s mellow. The words are sentimental, and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful record. To hear that and for that to be played in the right setting and the right situation, whether you know Nat King Cole or not, you just feel a certain energy. Any time a man will play that record, the woman — unless she’s, like, dead — will understand what the vibe is — what the evening entails.”
2. “Groove with You” by The Isley Brothers
Shawn: “It’s a really sexy, slow R&B record by one of the greatest R&B bands ever. It’s a suggestive record. It kind of sends an innuendo out. “Groove with You” could mean other things, but the way they did it, it was tasteful, and the music kind of sets the backdrop and the mood to exactly what “Groove with You” means. Our nasty parents probably did it to that song a few times. It’s just one of those records. It’s a timeless R&B classic.
“Women gotta understand that men find women absolutely delectable. A man can actually be enthralled by a vision of a woman. Just to look at her is a treat for us. If you’re 30 years old or older and you don’t understand that men are visual, give up. We’re visual creatures. That’s why God made women beautiful … When that song comes on, if you’re in the midst of a beautiful moment, just taking time to take it all in — certain songs just capture that.”
3. “Teach U a Lesson” by Robin Thicke
Wanyá: “There’s a certain element of mystique about that song. It’s like, ‘We’re going to learn from each other.’ It’s compelling to hear somebody else’s lyrics from your own brain. That’s what I’m thinking. Wow. That’s incredible. This song definitely has a sensual element. I think that’s the beginning — the foreplay.”
4. “Soul Sista” by Bilal
Wanyá: “It is the intimate aspect of the situation. It’s right when you’re about to create the musical … It’s the beat behind it. You can actually dance to that song. The words are coming from a man’s perspective, and there’s a definite connection between the man and the woman, but it’s basically a man pleasing a woman and showing them how much their body is bringing him to that point.”
5. “Just Like That” by R. Kelly
6. “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D’Angelo
Nathan: “It’s self-explanatory. ‘How does it feel?’ It’s one of those songs. Sometimes there’s those songs that only certain people can sing, and there’s not too many people who can bring that mood across. It’s a real sensual, sexy song. I don’t think anybody would not get in the mood by hearing that record.”
7. “Damn U” by Prince
Wanyá: “That’s just basically recognizing and understanding the element of a woman’s sensuality. You’re paying homage to everything about her. I believe that in the intimate aspect of the time, when you have just climaxed for the first time and you’re standing up and you’re walking around the bed. You’re walking around the bed just looking at that woman and saying, ‘Wow. How did — What? — How? — Why am I so blessed?’ That type of vibe.”
8. “Just Me and You” by Tony Toni Toné
Shawn: “That’s what you play after.”
Wanyá: “That song takes away everybody in the vicinity. It’s the focus factor … You’re letting the woman know that ‘You know what? Right now, nothing else matters. In this room, it’s me and you. We might have met at a club, but right now it’s just me and you.'”
9. “Prototype” by Andre 3000
10. “Lost Without U” by Robin Thicke
Shawn: “That song is the declaration of how a man actually feels about her. The lyrics ask a woman, ‘Do you think I’m sexy? Am I the man of your dreams?’ It is how a man thinks and how he wants a woman to feel about him.”
Wanyá: “Once you’re finished, you realize that the intimacy was a gift. You’ve given each other a gift, and it’s time for everybody to recognize what that gift entails. You’re basically saying, ‘I don’t think that I will be able to enjoy this same feeling with anybody else.’