Review Summary: "The girls of t.A.T.u have become veterans of this type of danceable, catchy, and fun, electropop rock."
After the lack-luster “Dangerous and Moving”, no one would have blinked if t.A.T.u fell flat on their faces with their next release. Fortunately, the woman duo has returned with a consistently good album, which means “Dangerous and Moving” can be discarded. Even their debut album, "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane", falls very short in classiness when compared to “Waste Management”.
Screeching high vocals in adrenaline pumping songs like ‘Not Gonna Get Us’ are practically nonexistent here. ‘Little People’ has unnatural vocals in the chorus, but at least they fit the song. Instead of an album writhing in overly processed vocal hell, “Waste Management” answers with the bright single, ‘White Robe’. It is the perfect starter with shimmering synths, a strong drum beat, and an excellent give and take with Lena Katina singing the verse, and Yulia Volkova during the chorus. Lena’s strong authority over the mike, combined with genuine vocals by Yulia, results in their most distinctive performance yet. Finally, the singers have found their voices.
For the umpteenth time, Lena and Yulia have cloned their mega-hit, ‘All The Things She Said’; the song is, ‘You and I’, and is rather dull. But perhaps I spoke too soon. With a bit of research, I learned that ‘You and I’ has an interesting back-story, and has not only inspired a novel, but even a movie currently in production! The true story involves two girls: one living in America, and one in Russia. Both have mundane lives and find each other on the t.A.T.u fan site - soon they create a song called ‘You and I’. The song is accepted by t.A.T.u’s managers, the girls meet each other, and they both escape their awful lives finding solace in each other. It is a heart-warming tale for sure, and who better to sing it then the t.A.T.u girls who have had their fair share of discrimination problems (the band was formed with the idea of enlisting fake lesbians)? This type of story is unheard of in the musical scene. It is refreshing to know that t.A.T.u have meaningful lyrics to go with there music, as well as meaningful interactions with their fans.
t.A.T.u have no intention to recreate their past work – they would rather surprise with a sensual romp like ‘Sparks’. With such an infectious beat and adorable chorus, any other song would surely pail in comparison! This is not the case. Instead, we are treated with the serene ‘Marsianskie Glaza’, the beat-heavy ‘Snowfalls’, and the theatrical ‘Fly on the Wall’. Another excellent song is ‘Time of the Moon’, the only guitar-driven rock song. Although it seems out of place at first, with time it sinks into the album like a knife into heated butter. Lena’s vocals are perfect for the chilling, ethereal chorus, and it is easily her best performance in the album. Even Yulia finds her stride, with her emotionally absent vocals giving the track a rock-and-roll attitude. The funny thing about ‘Time of the Moon’ being a success is that it comes from a completely rock-less album. Even more ironic is that “Dangerous and Moving” was a rock album at its heart, and failed to deliver any pure rock songs. The only exception was ‘Loves Me Not’ which had a ferocious chorus.
After such overwhelming praise, a negative response is called for. The girls’ innocent voices may impress for a while, but it becomes evident that they sometimes sound bored. A song like ‘Running Wild’ proves that not even a driving song can hide the girls’ predictable vocal performances. Their singing voices have actually matured a great deal since their debut album (Yulia has a clear voice and apparently more natural talent than Lena) but somehow they sound disconnected from their music. The largest problem with the album is little lasting appeal. The songs are all rather catchy and attractive in theory, but ultimately the consumer wants music that is more than just club beats and uninspired vocals. This album is great for the occasional spin (and is an enjoyable listen), but do not expect to fall in love with it unless you are already a fan of t.A.T.u.
In the end, it is irrelevant that “Waste Management” is filled with expected synths/keyboards and the occasional auto-tuned vocals - the end result is a consistent and surprisingly solid album. “Waste Management” is easily t.A.T.u’s best work to date. There’s no denying that the album sounds great, even if it is a result of technical wizardry, ensuring impossible perfection. To be fair, this is exactly what pop is: unadulterated, sugar-coated, goodness. The girls of t.A.T.u have become veterans of this type of danceable, catchy, and fun, electropop rock.
- White Robe
- Fly on the Wall
- Time of the Moon