t.A.T.u are a manufactured pop act from Moscow, found by a TV-ad producer called Ivan Shapovalov. They were signed to Universal Music Russia in 2001 and their debut single was a top five hit on MTV. They released this album in 2002.
I know, I know, I know. Tatu are a stupid manufactured Russian Euro pop band with their only bit of originality being that they are supposedly lesbians. However
I believe that this album could just be worth that second glance.
To start off, the gimmick. Despite their management’s desperate attempts to convince the world that these two young nubile girls were getting it on in hotel rooms across the world, that was quite clearly not true, as one look at them will hopefully tell you. As a side note, Julia has recently become pregnant with her long-term boyfriend, so there you go. So, go with me here and leave all of that in this space…
There we go.
Not Gonna Get Us
One of the singles from the album, a good driving rhythm to it saves it from utter drivel, but for those unfamiliar to the band the voices of the duo will be a little straining for those trying to really listen to it. However, rest assured, the verses do go down a couple of octaves. Nice mellow synthesiser in the background adds a certain something to track, but this isn’t the best on here. A good club anthem though.
All The Things She Said
This was the song of the album, the one that got everyone talking and the accompanying video stirred huge amounts of controversy. As I’ve asked you to ignore all of that, I ask you to judge the songs on its merits as a pop anthem. It’s a great piece of writing slightly angsty lyrics but not enough to really get worked up about and an electro beat combined with a somewhat hypnotic rhythm make this a little sample of how good pop can be.
Show Me Love
Once again, the idea of a mellow backing works well here, the chorus is repetitive and a little irritating, but this song does feature the classic line ‘like a game of pick up sticks, played by ****ing lunatics’. Worth listening to in spite of the gimmicky phone call thing at the beginning, but not particularly a highlight.
The outright poppiness has died away now and the band get into a much more calm frame of mind, which really suits their voices. If they’ve sustained your interest thus far then this song will probably make you want to listen to the rest of the album. Hardly a ballad, but a wonderfully mellow song nonetheless.
How Soon Is Now?
I know, I know. Russian poplets covering the Smiths?! This cannot be allowed! And I would agree with you, before listening to the song. The original is unsurprisingly far superior, but the melancholy mood the band have started setting up carries on into this song turning it into an unlikely after-party song. Certainly better than the 100 Reasons version flitting around at the moment.
Clowns (Can You See Me Now?)
Please ignore the lyrics for this one, highly irritating but the song is good nonetheless. The last three tracks have barely changed pace, but it ends up working in their favour as the listener becomes more and more drawn in to their sound. Don’t worry, there’s a break coming up. Some of the singing here is a little high for comfort, but somehow they carry it off.
This song is different from the rest of album, which is just as well as otherwise it would be samey beyond belief. A more standard theme of unrequited love here, the verse is a bit of a non-event but the chorus is understatedly catchy in an appealing way.
The best song on here. There’s some genuine emotion in here that is well portrayed in the singing. The odd almost-rap in Russian could perhaps be improved, but the almost acapella singing at the beginning is clear and very nice to listen to. Resuming the bittersweetness of many of the previous tracks, t.A.T.u finally get it spot on here for a great song.
The last few tracks don’t need the track by track treatment; the two in Russian are simply the first two tracks on here back in their mother tongue, and the extended version of Show Me Love
is nothing to get excited about.
My verdict on this album is simply this: if you consider yourself open-minded in your music taste, check it out. You just might be surprised.