Kraut-Pop

Jack White, the man who made David Hasselhoff a pop star in Germany, is now unleashing First Love, Germany's answer to the international boy band craze, on an unsuspecting public.

First Love's debut, I Just Can't Get Enough, is the first release on White's newly created JWP/USA Records. It is an attempt to put the group's four heartthrob hopefuls — Delane, Tobi, Phil and Peanut (yes, Peanut) — into the consciousness of America's youth.

But First Love is a boy band in the same way that the Scorpions were Germany's answer to metal. What White and company seem to have overlooked here in the concept of pre-packaged teeny-pop is the whole "packaging" thing. The boys are definitely on the mark in terms of target audience — they scheduled a U.S. tour that consisted largely of high schools and middle schools — but the man behind the band forgot to give them any good songs, or even to check their English. (First Love's theme song, "Freaky" [RealAudio excerpt], the easiest to swallow, features the refrain "You got my lovin' baby/ You make me going crazy.")

The songs all appear to be laid over the kind of programmed music found on a basic $50 Casio keyboard, with a songwriting sensibility grounded somewhere between '80s synth-pop and AOR fodder like Air Supply and Barry Manilow. Everything from song titles like "Yippee Yi Yo" (RealAudio excerpt) to lines such as "If you were my girl I'd make you see/ what a perfect boyfriend I could be" (from the song "Perfect Boyfriend" [RealAudio excerpt]), to primitive album artwork and an overall apparent lack of thought make it seem as if First Love were never really intended to succeed Stateside.

As for Germany, though, maybe one day David Hasselhoff will open for them.