Picks and Pans Review: Son of Albert

updated 08/13/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/13/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Andrew Ridgeley

The forgotten man from Wham! detours from his car racing pursuits to make a pit stop in the recording studio. But the track never seems to be far from his mind.

A few songs begin with a revving-engine sound, and even his imagery seems obsessively automotive. He describes one hot momma this way: "Oh love, she's all curves and thrust.../ Come on, get it pumpin', give me all you got/ She excites me, she ignites me and she's hotter than a rocket on the Fourth of July." That's from "Red Dress," the album's most full-throttle rocker.

Ridgeley's presentation is always energized but never exciting; part of that limitation is his wan voice, part of it, stale song-writing. Playing his own material, Ridgeley, at his best, as on "Mexico," merely resembles bad Loverboy. The best numbers here didn't originate with him: a staccato version of "Hangin' " by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards and a jacked-up cover of the Everly Brothers' "The Price of Love" driven by Mark Felthan's dizzying harmonica.

Even when the amps are turned up and the band is whaling, though, the album is dreary. Something is missing. George Michael, call home. (Columbia)

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