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A*Teens

MCA

What’s the name of the game? How about ABBA-mania? Or, more precisely, ABBA Gold house-ified for the post-“Believe” age? I prefer, however, to think of this studio-confected gang of Swedish teeny-boppers (Marie, Sara, Dhani, and Amit) as offering classical music for an ‘N Sync/Britney Spears world. I’m not talking about the kind of quasi-classical “pops” treatments that appear on Richard Clayderman Plays ABBA—The Hits or The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra Plays ABBA Classic, although I recommend both. The program of The ABBA Generation draws from a time-honored repertoire that takes as its three B’s Bjorn, Benny, and Bjorn again (but not Bjorn Again, because A*Teens are about as ironic as a box of cornflakes). They do have their enemies, though. There are a surprising number of ABBA purists (think of them as original-instrument freaks) who protest that the girls can’t hit the helium heights scaled so nimbly by Frida and Agnetha. There’s also a sizable contingent of clubby-ABBA-update snobs (think of this group as your von Karajan-or-bust crowd) who sneer that Erasure’s Abba-esque shouldn’t be trifled with by producer-prodded kids. But from where I’m sitting, there’s little I’d rather hear as the AC drips cold condensate on my toes. It’s refreshing to have a sub-17 singer address the young, sweet dancing queen that lies in her future, rather than in her past. And I’m not one to complain if, when “one of us is lying in a lonely bed, staring at the ceiling,” you can still see the glue spots left around the overhead by last year’s Day-Glo stars. —Glenn Dixon