30: The Big Room (M2M)

Album: The Big Room
Artist: M2M
Year: 2002

1. Everything
2. Jennifer
3. Don’t
4. Payphone
5. What You Do About Me
6. Love Left For Me
7. Miss Popular
8. Wanna Be Where You Are
9. Leave Me Alone
10. Sometimes
11. Eventually

Alright, hear me out.

Norwegians Marit Larsen and Marion Raven released their first album, Shades of Purple, while still in high school to pretty good success. They had a top 30 hit in Don’t Say You Love Me here in the states, and it went top 10 in several other countries as well. Mirror, Mirror, my favorite song of theirs, also did okay. They were popular among the Disney Channel crowd, released a ton of music videos, and toured relentlessly, or as much as teenagers can. Their songs consisted of pretty standard pop hooks and melodies, but their ballads were pretty bad.

Still in their late teens, they released The Big Room. They toured with Jewel, who was promoting This Way at the time, and I got to see them live. Their energy was infectious, they both play instruments, and their songwriting seemed a little more pointed than your average teen pop band, so I picked the album up. It really is well done.

Unlike their first effort, they wrote and were the lead writers on every song here, and it shows. They were obviously mature for their age, but still teenagers. I love this line from Jennifer:

She’s a fragile girl
Skin like porcelain
Shame on you, if you would hurt her

She’s adorable
Oh so vulnerable
I wish that somebody would drop her

On one hand, she idolizes this girl and doesn’t want her love interest to treat her poorly. On the other hand, she desperately wants this girl to break in some way so her love interest might turn his attention to her. Nothing terribly new, but refreshingly honest.

My favorite song, easily, is Don’t Say You Love Me. I’m sure a significant part of that is that I lived this song when I was a teenager. She is in love with a guy who also loves her back, but he’s too afraid to break up with his current girlfriend to be with her. She won’t let him cheat with her, but wants to be as supportive as possible. I was that guy, and was grateful I had someone mature and supportive on my side.

The girls also aren’t afraid to use some profanity on the album, though because their market was primarily young girls, there is some censorship.

While there’s not much here as far as top-tier music, it is certainly consistent in quality and energy from beginning to end, which is why I’ll spin the whole thing on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the studio broke up the band shortly after I saw them in concert due to poor sales, and they’re both now in solo careers. Marit’s has been much more successful, which is nice to see because she certainly has the better voice.

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