Another manufactured vocal group made up of pretty teenage boys, Firstlove's novelty is in the fact that they're from Germany. Surfacing in the U.S. mid-2000 meant there was a lot of competition from other pretenders to the throne (Five, BBMak, Westlife), but this quartet (made up of Phil, Tobi, Delane, and Peanut) took the lead of two former teen sensations. First (after performing to sellout crowds of 100,000 in their homeland), they toured U.S. malls à la Tiffany. Second, and probably more important, their first single, "Freaky," sounded like a '90s version of a New Kids on the Block song; it's just as catchy but has better vocals and is sexed up a bit, while still being distinctly non-threatening. That's all fine and good, but despite the pleading "Stay Another Day" that showcases their voices best and with its pretty, forlorn melody has hit single written all over it (despite the press pack calling it a "smarmy" and "clever rewrite of the Backstreet Boys' Perfect Fan"), and "I Just Can't Get Enough," which is so catchy and summery it doesn't matter that it's a standard teenage declaration of love, the group doesn't rise above somewhat mediocre material and production. The album is predominantly filler or reworkings of songs that have been done better, before, and often. "Perfect Boyfriend" is aimed directly at 12-year-old girls: "If you were my girl/I'd make you see/what a perfect boyfriend/I could be." "Gotta Get Movin'" is the requisite dance groove, sexual, nonsensical, and common: "Gotta get Movin'/shake your body/every minute/every day." The problem with Jack White's unpretentious production is that it doesn't quite cover some of their weak vocals. This is a tentative foray into shark-infested waters, but to survive, Firstlove will need something stronger next time out.
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