North, South, East, Wes

Rick Wes, a teen with a pompadour (real name: Craig Gendreau), is the latest product of Maurice Starr’s hit factory. Starr, of course, is best known as the man who manufactured New Kids on the Block and more recently Perfect Gentlemen, an inane vocal trio 11, 12, and 13 years old. But with Rick Wes he now has hit a new low.

At the start of North, South, East, Wes an announcer invokes the hallowed legends of rock & roll, among them the Beatles, Michael Jackson, New Kids — and even Perfect Gentlemen. ”And now,” he says, carrying the succession of heroes firmly into the ’90s, ”General Entertainment Management proudly presents…Rick Wes!”

What follows, after a leaden pause, are nine of the lamest songs ever recorded, dance music blended with a watery memory of Elvis and so vapidly produced that you have to wonder whether Starr now thinks he can create hits without doing any real work. But Starr has made musical history. Albums now can start with promotions for themselves; musical entrepreneurs now can inject the names of their corporate entities directly into the consciousness of teenage fans. The hype that infects the music business has bored its way into the music itself. F

North, South, East, Wes
  • Music