I Just Can't Get Enough

firstlove

JWP Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/29/2000

Okay, I've kept quiet long enough.

I didn't say a thing when the Backstreet Boys or 98° came out on the market -- because, frankly, I've liked what I've heard from them. (Whether teeny-bopper music is your cup of tea or not, you have to admit the Backstreet Boys are excellent harmony singers.) I even kept my mouth shut about 'N Sync, who I've not enjoyed as much. I thought, "Hey, someone's having fun with this music. Who am I to judge?" (What am I saying?!? I'm a friggin' music critic!)

That whole philosophy went out the window when I listened to firstlove, a four-piece group out of Germany. Their independent release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 I Just Can't Get Enough has a few moments on it which suggest they could carve a niche out for themselves in top 40 radio, but in the end, they come across as another cookie-cutter wanna-be band whose chops are second-rate. (I won't even begin discussion on why a grown man would go under the name of "Peanut".)

Problem number one with this band is pure and simple: they don't harmonize nearly enough. When they do, it's quite pleasant. Regrettably, it often seems that their vocals tend to overlap each other, creating more of a sonic mush than a musically rich texture. Tracks like "More Better Days," "Perfect Boyfriend" and the title track all fall under this trap -- and these are tracks which could have been stellar, at least in this genre.

The second trap is the inclusion of four -- count 'em, four -- versions of the song "Freaky." The original is lame enough -- and if the lyrics in one portion of the song say what I think they say, well... let's just leave it at this: it's a line you wouldn't expect to hear in a teeny-bopper song. (I'd like to confirm the lyric, but that portion of firstlove's Web site keeps crashing on me.) But, no, I Just Can't Get Enough is padded with three additional mixes of the song, none of which add anything to the original at all. It's enough to make you dive for the remote control.

All of this said, tracks like "Gotta Get Movin," "Smile" and "Believe" do leave the glint of hope that firstlove will need to survive in such a competitive field. Musically, they need to harmonize more and put some focus into the instrumentation (though, admittedly, the band had very little say in this aspect). They already have some foothold in the market, with spots on shows like Jenny Jones and getting Disney to use some of their songs on cable programming. Whether this will be enough for them to stake their place in the genre is yet to be seen.

I Just Can't Get Enough holds out the hope of better things to come, though this disc ends up being far too formulatic to be anything but typical of the genre. Less padding and more attention to the final product could be what the band needs -- but until then, sorry, but I've had enough.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of JWP Records, and is used for informational purposes only.