I gave up on pop when a slightly talented, surgically-enhanced teen queen made the cover of Rolling Stone. Stereotype A convinced me to give it one more try.

They may be slender and under 21, but the two girls who sing under the name Cibo MattoaCrazy Food<= in pidgin Italianaare nobodyPis babies, and they prove their toughness on this new album. After all, these are cute girls who rap about economic duality<= and have a guest spot on the Beastie BoysPi Hello Nasty.

Yuka Honda and Miko Hatori have matured since Viva! La Woman, their 1996 debut. That album was a novelty; this one qualifies as a legitimate soundtrack for the summer. Granted, the lyrics are still a little insipid and confusing, and Stereotype A is hardly as quirky as Viva! La Woman, sounding almost overproduced. But therePis something about this album that gets you singing along, even if you donPit know the words. The girls are at their best with Working for Vacation<= and Speechless,<= voices tangoing together to a heavy beat. Stereotype A has its mellower moments as well: Stone<= and Flowers<= are as smooth as a dry martini and as lilting as lounge music. (The opening to the latter is reminiscent of Smooth Operator.<=) And Spoon<= might just be the groove the club scene has been missing since Madonna ran out of songs.

Okay, so Blue Train<= sounds like a Metallica riff gone bad. And Sci-Fi Wasabi<= is a peppy but ineffectual attempt at rap, despite its timely references to Obi-Wan.

Overall, though, itPis a funky alternative to G-105 and definitely a sign that all pop music hasnPit gone to hell yet. HerePis to hoping Honda and Hatori can bring it back.