Review Summary: "Any way you slice it, 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane is a classic pop album."
There are a lot of pop artists/groups/albums that I absolutely hate. My scars began in childhood, when a certain girl suddenly fell in love with Spice Girls and ‘N Sync. I had never heard their music before, but I knew enough already because of all the things she said: “Justin is soooo hot!”, “Little Spice has big boobs, I’m jealous!” It wasn’t about the music, it was about who was the most popular. Gripes aside, the main reason I hated pop music, for awhile, was because I had just assumed its awfulness, due to my metal obsession. Pop music seemed to be everything that was wrong with music, so it took quite a while to get into it. In fact, it took one very impactful album to finally enlighten me on the power of music that wasn’t metal. It took t.A.T.u’s 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
to completely destroy and reorganize my musical brain. Originally, it was because it was untrodden territory, but looking back at it, I fully realize the greatness of this album.
To be fair, 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
had every right to be awful. t.A.T.u rode on the coattails of popularity due to their unheard-of-gimmick, which was that Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova were hot lesbian school girls. Or at least that’s what we thought until it was announced that they were not actually lesbians. However, at the time of this album, their gimmick watered the mouths of the public, having them salivating for more. It was a dirty trick made possible by the girls’ Russian manufacturers, and it perfectly succeeded. People flocked to buy the five released singles, which ultimately sold upwards of ten million copies. They weren’t, however, only buying them so they could stare at pictures of the two girls – the music itself was quite appealing. Sure, t.A.T.u’s rise could be considered a result of their gimmick, but the music was what ultimately sold the album. You see, the album wasn’t just interesting from a sexual stance, the music also happened to be very, very good.
t.A.T.u’s greatest seller was their first single, ‘All The Things She Said’, comprised of a sensual verse, catchy chorus, and an impossible-to-forget guitar line. Now this was all fine and dandy, but shockingly, the rest of the album is just as good. Second in greatness was ‘Not Gonna Get Us’; comprised of fast paced, blistering dance beats and europop synthesizers, it had instant club appeal. The rest of the album understood the appeal of these songs, and therefore continued in the same fashion. ‘Show Me Love’ had a chorus extremely similar to ‘All The Things She Said’, and there were two songs that followed in the footsteps of ‘Not Gonna Get Us’: ‘Clowns (Can You See Me Now?)’ and ‘Malchik Gay’. These songs had their own unique qualities, of course, but they also had enough similar parts for listeners to be drawn in.
It was the blatant club hits that really sold the album, but 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
was much classier than that. It had a song like ‘30 Minutes’, a wonderfully thoughtful inclusion with tense strings, yet a delicate, beautiful sheen. They also covered The Smiths’ classic song ‘How Soon Is Now?’ which was surprisingly well done considering that t.A.T.u was a teeny pop girl band. Songs like these proved that t.A.T.u wasn’t just another pop band, that there was actual merit to their music. Lastly to prove this was their black sheep song, ‘Stars’, which sounded more like a Massive Attack song than anything, and once again, this was a welcome surprise. t.A.T.u clearly knew how to make good music, but the question on everyone’s minds was whether they had they created an album that would pass the test of time. It didn’t take long to realize that they had indeed.
200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
is an example of how to both make a good pop album, and how to sell one. It may have been gimmicky, but that didn’t stop its music from shining. With some of the most memorable, and catchy pop songs ever created, the album has every right to be a classic. Unlike so many gimmicky pop albums, 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
stood the test of time, and is worth listening to, even today. t.A.T.u eventually faded, but this album didn’t, which further proves the meritoriousness of it. Any way you slice it, 200 Km/h in the Wrong Lane
is a classic pop album.