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Oh, goody. We now have another teen "band" in our faces to scream "We're cute, talented, pubescent and full of poppy energy!" This time it's M2M, an ABBA/Britney Spears hybrid brought to us by some geniuses in Norway who think it's all right to glut the teen scene with one more duo singing about first love, awkward kisses at the movies and, gosh darn it, just taking your time to go all the way.

M2M is Marion Ravn and Marit Larsen, two sixteen-year-olds who have a certain talent for being waif-like and adorable. They originally got together in 1990 when both were five years old and have since won the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy for a children's album. Both have also acted in productions of the Wizard of Oz, Annie, The Sound of Music and Bugsy Malone. Unfortunately, on this record, the girls' contrived earnest sentiment and youthful energy get drowned out by overproduction, bad music (the keyboard parts sound like Flock of Seagulls on crack) and a tendency by the label to push sweet-sounding swill geared toward the audience of Saved by the Bell.

For the most part, the short collection of singles serves as a precursor to the horror that will no doubt follow with M2M's inevitable full-length release and subsequent full-throttle American invasion. The first track, "Don't Say You Love Me," is about a girl telling a boy that she just is not ready to have that first kiss yet. Apparently, the song's subjects are in a movie theater and the guy turns to get a kiss. The girl says "No!" and tells the guy to take his time if he really wants her. The song explores the notion that girls do mature faster, but it's hard to tell whether Marion and Marit wrote the song, or if the two co-writers -- Peter Zizzo and Jimmy Bralower -- guided the girls toward making such an observation about young love. The other tracks fare no better, probing such topical problems as guys showing off to their buddies and the end of first crushes. That's like, hard, ya know? Yet M2M just might be banal enough to join the echelons of the teen-music hierarchy. After all, they are part of the Pokémon: The First Movie soundtrack, sharing space with Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees, Vitamin C, Baby Spice and Britney Spears. Teens rule!

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Sean Neumann

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