A lot happened between t.A.T.u's debut album and their latest effort Dangerous and Moving. Their musical careers basically stood still for 3 years as the duo Julia Volkova and Lena Katina sorted out their managerial problems and their personal life. The Russian pop duo dumped their manager Ivan Shapovalov who they felt reduced them to a mere gimmick, as well as this Julia Volkova got pregnant. Wait a second, lesbians can’t impregnate each other! Well much to the dismay of pubescent boys everywhere, the Russian pair revealed that they're not actually lesbians. So with their lesbian gimmick in the dust, the girls were ready to start their musical careers anew, and to earn the respect of the music world.
T.A.T.u certainly did show they were serious about this album by hiring a range of highly respected musicians to help them out on Dangerous and Moving
. Even Sting put his mark on the album, by playing the bass on one of the tracks. In theory Dangerous and Moving
should reflect the girls’ growing up in life.
The first real track on the album is the hit single All About Us
. For lyrics that are written by some guy in a studio, they do have quite a lot of meaning. This song is largely about the 3 years in between 200 km/H In The Wrong Lane
and Dangerous and Moving
. The lyrics send a message to their old manager, by constantly repeating “It’s all about us,” a bit selfish if you ask me. The song also talks about the trials and tribulations that the girls have faced. “If they hurt you, they hurt me too, so we'll rise up, won't stop.” Despite the strangely relevant lyrics, the song is still another cheap and tacky Pop anthem. The video clip for the song features the girls in skimpy cleavage enhancing clothes, and instead of girl on girl action (like in their last hit single All the Things She Said
) the video features girl on guy action. The song itself mirrors this ever so slight evolvement. The song itself sounds quite familiar upon first listen, no doubt because it sounds like their lesbian single All the Things She Said
, just in a different key with a slightly different drum loop. Alright so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but t.A.T.u’s new manager certainly didn’t make an effort to separate this album from their last.
Despite the obvious short cuts, All About Us
and many other tracks on the album still hold their merits. Songs like Cosmos (Outer Space)
, Perfect Enemy
, Loves Me Not
and Friend or Foe
all have catchy synth Dance-Pop rhythms that can become quite addictive. Although all 3 songs will make you shudder at yourself for listening to them, they become quite addictive. Before you know it you’ll be listening to it non-stop, loving it and hating it at the same time. Perfect Enemy
stands out above the other 2 though, and could quite easily be on a highly respected artist’s album. The only thing that stops it is those whiny Russian vocals that will either grate on you like a cheese grater or just let it slide and enjoy. Loves Me Not
is a low point in the album repetition wise. The girls resort to repeating “She loves me, she loves me not” through the whole song, sometimes as backing vocals and also featuring as the vocals in the Chorus. Loves Me Not
somehow manages to avoid turning into drivel though and will no doubt have a nicotine like effect on unbiased listeners.
At times the girl's vocals have noticeably improved; they don't try and shout every single line. A lot of the tracks feature subtly crafted vocals that aren’t obnoxious and in your face. Although in some songs like Sacrifice
you can feel Julia and Lena trying to break out of their producer’s octave limiting, and just shout it as high pitched as possible. The vocals do not have much variety in their tone and pace (partially due to the fact that half the tracks sound the same), but they certainly are improved over the shout everything 200 km/H In The Wrong Lane
Slow songs take up a large portion of Dangerous and Moving
, with arguably over one third of the album being slow songs. One of the producers few short comings on this album was clumping together all the slow songs together in the middle of the album. This gives the slow songs a somewhat filler track like feel, and doesn’t show much song arrangement flair. We Shout
is ironically one of the tracks where the girls show their vocal advancement and don’t shout at all
. We shout
also shows progression in other areas. It starts off slow but the song soon turns into a quite nice soft Dance Pop song. The song even shows patience, and doesn’t try and rush straight to the chorus, but rather flows softly like non-gimmick Electronic artist tracks. The other three slow songs do not have much flair, but have a filler track vibe. Gomenasai
feels like a million other romantic Pop songs with stereotypical violins, soft synthesizer sounds and mushy lyrics.
This album is certainly not meant to be taken too seriously; it is aimed at the mainstream audience. Not highly critical Alternative listeners who try to find the faults in the album rather than positives. Unlike its predecessor, there is no gimmick to attract pubescent boys. Dangerous and Moving
at times feels like it is lacking a target audience, which makes you wonder. What is the point? The songs have evolved since their previous outing, but enough to warrant a retraction of the ‘gimmick’ label. T.A.T.u. has made their best effort to be taken seriously in the music world employing the help of Sting, Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters) and more. But ultimately this falls short too, with many of the songs feeling like rehashes off 200 km/H In The Wrong Lane
The album is not lacking in catchy synthesizer hooks and melodies, but has far too many shortcomings to ignore. If you enjoyed the hit single All About Us
and have money to spare then by all means give it a try. The one thing you have got to remember about this album is to not take it too seriously; if you do it’ll end up in your bin within a week or two. But when listened to with an open mind and a light heart, you’ll find yourself bopping away to this straight duo’s addictive tunes.
- All About Us
- Perfect Enemy
- Julia Volkova in the All About Us
- We Shout
- Dangerous and Moving