t.A.T.u.
Happy Smiles


2.0
poor

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
December 5th, 2008 | 64 replies | 17,589 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album resulted in a music video where both of the girls get naked and that has to count for something.

If you’ve ever done a Google search for “Russian school girls” you’d know that it gives you over 3 million results. If one were to browse through those sites (in the name of research, of course) you’d wind up stumbling across this duo. This Russian act’s whole image was based around a lesbian schoolgirl theme. Their videos featured everything from girls making out to both vocalists sporting their birthday suits (link to follow). The huge emphasis on style over substance might lead some to believe that t.A.T.u.’s music was basically generic, throw-away crap; simply background noise for music videos and internet pictures, but it wasn’t. It turned out that the hard push to sell their image really clouded the fact that their music was quite good and even unique for its genre.

Musically, t.A.T.u. succeeded because they were doing something different than their contemporaries. Of course, the core of their sound was simply dance pop, but they dressed it up with an electronica edge and even some modern rock influences. Not only was the music sufficiently different enough to set them apart, but the song writing was also very strong, featuring hooks that people could never get out of their head (try listening to “All the Things She Said” and tell me it’s not in your head the rest of the day). So, when the girls revealed that the lesbian thing was simply an image it gave them a great opportunity to showcase their music without anything else getting in the way. Instead they’ve released an uninspired collection of songs where they seem to simply be going through the motions.

The subtle experimentation, strong choruses and electronica edge have almost entirely been tossed aside in favor of standard club beats and bland vocal performances. This change in direction wasn’t entirely unforeseen as the girls had made mention of a more dance club-friendly direction in interviews, but they never mentioned dropping most of the elements that got them where they are today. With the exception of the first single, “Beliy Plaschik”, the songs are as generic and forgettable as anything else you’d hear while drunk on the dance floor. The simple formula that seems to be used on this album is to take a strong beat and then place just enough synth and keyboard sounds over it to make it seem like maybe someone gave a damn about this release. Basically, after the beats everything else is secondary including any attention to vocal melodies, hooks or anything else.

I do have to point out that later in the album things begin to pick up ever so slightly starting with the tenth track, “Fly on the Wall”. That song manages to combine a dance-friendly beat with some thick synth melodies and an actual memorable vocal performance complete with a strong and impressive chorus. The song following it, “Vremya Luny” even brings back the rock influence that was most noticeable in their cover of the song “How Soon is Now” from their debut album. It is quite literally the only song that contains any kind of fire or energy. Its beat is rhythmic and layered and the guitar riff is a welcome addition as are the unexpected changes throughout the song. Unfortunately, two good songs are not enough to save this album from being instantly forgettable and easily discarded.

It is obvious that this album was geared towards the club crowd, but too many things were lost in the execution. If I was out there doing my best white-boy shuffle and something from this album came on I would use that opportunity to go back to the bar or maybe unload the drinks I’ve already ingested and nothing more. I have a feeling, though, that most people listening to this album are going to do so in their car or at home and that is when its weaknesses are going to become even more apparent. Simply put, this album lacks any kind of substance. The beats are strong, but that is the only thing it has going for it. The vocal performances are forgettable and lackluster, and musically things have been stripped down to a bare minimum. Due to this glaring lack of quality, I can’t see this being played in any club and it definitely lacks the staying power that active listening would require. Whether you were a fan of this band before or not I would suggest saving your money/bandwidth and seeking out something else.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This review went through numerous re-writes and I didn't even really want to do it after I realized how bad the album was but I pushed through it... definitely not my best.

The music video with gratuitous nudity: http://www.tatu.ru/en/news.html?id=647&page=0
This Message Edited On 12.05.08

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Captain North
December 6th 2008



6779 Comments


Yeah, the only good thing about this band were the images.

Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I actually really liked their first two albums, so this review isn't coming from someone that's always hated the band or antything...

Asiatic667
December 6th 2008



4648 Comments


Ha, I remember when All The Things She Said was a big hit years back.
I forgot all about it, and then last year I was up late and the video came on. It felt weird

windpromoteshate
December 6th 2008



179 Comments


I don't know if I could ever take this duo seriously, ever.

Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

That's my point. I think if they hadn't come in with that elaborate image and overblown antics that some people may have taken their music more seriously.

McP3000
December 6th 2008



3941 Comments


intro paragraph was gold

ninjuice
December 6th 2008



6761 Comments


These two were on a good Rammstein song (Moskau), and I assume they helped write it since it's an almost 'poppy' song. maybe not.
Review could possibly be better, but I think you described and analyzed this pretty well.

tinathefatlard
December 6th 2008



1597 Comments


^^ Nope, those were rumors, plus her voice(Viktoria Fersh) sounds similar to that of Yulia Volkova so that might have been the mistake people made when they said that.

lol @ naked video having a 14+ restriction in Russia, but it says Adult for everywhere else.

Burn2Burn
December 6th 2008



2378 Comments


i stopped watching that when i saw she was pregnant. DO NOT WANT.

Asiatic667
December 6th 2008



4648 Comments


Appearing naked in thier music video is just a pathetic yell for attention.


Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Review could possibly be better, but I think you described and analyzed this pretty well.
Yeah, I know. I'd been working on it and re-working it for a few weeks and the album was bad making it hard to listen to and write about.
Appearing naked in thier music video is just a pathetic yell for attention.
Some say "pathetic", but others might say "effective".

Asiatic667
December 6th 2008



4648 Comments


touche'

rasputin
December 6th 2008



14517 Comments


Their first two singles were so terribly catchy.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2008



17920 Comments


music video ruled

YourGuardianAngel
December 6th 2008



12 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

you know you said that the problem with this song and the music videos was that it was all about girls getting naked


...........i ask whats wrong with that?
tht makes an album even better
Then a 1. lol


YourGuardianAngel
December 6th 2008



12 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

dude............best music video ever
go uncesored!!!!

Iai
Emeritus
December 6th 2008



3553 Comments


also that song where they cover that Charmed (the tv series) themesong

*face palm*

BallsToTheWall
December 6th 2008



44164 Comments


I need to hear this but the single was painful. I won't lie and say What About Us and the other main single wasn't catchy as hell.

Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

also that song where they cover that Charmed (the tv series) themesong
I'd have to say that the song is actually by The Smiths and if it's going to be associated with anything it should be them and not a shitty T.V. show ;)
you know you said that the problem with this song and the music videos was that it was all about girls getting naked
...........i ask whats wrong with that?
No one said it was a "problem".
I need to hear this but the single was painful.
The single isn't nearly as strong as the ones on past albums. You're not missing anything, Balls.
This Message Edited On 12.06.08



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