Tatu
200 KM/H In The Wrong Lane
Interscope
2002
D

despite the obviously imperfect title for American audiences, Tatu has constructed an admirable English language album rife with two potentially hit singles and one of the finest media stories ever concocted.


First, the hype. Tatu consists of two girls, Volkova Julia Olegovna and Katina Elena Sergeevna. These two girls were picked by psychologist/former TV commercial producer Ivan Shapovalov to front the group. The catch is that they are lesbians. And all of their songs revolve around their love for one another. Whether Shapovalov picked the two because they were already in love, they fell in love as they began to work together, or their faking the funk is a moot point. The story is set in place and the girls are playing the part to the hilt. Their live shows are notorious for scant costumes and a large amount of dry humping. It’s all enough to make one forget why they are known: the music.


As with a large amount of constructed pop groups, the two singles frontloaded at the beginning of the record are phenomenal confectionary pop constructions. They have simple, catchy choruses, hummable melodies, and great videos. The two songs each feature different keyboard based melodic figures that revolve around big beat influenced drums. The vocals soar over the mix adding to the epic feel of each track. In contrast to the Russian language versions, which are included later on in the album, the vocals are only slightly accented and are much more pleasing to the American ear than the harsh phonemes of the Russian tongue.


The third track, “Show Me Love” starts off with a phone ringing. Strangely prescient, this is where the album begins to sound phoned in or padded. “Show Me Love”, in particular, lacks the energy and dynamism of the previous two singles, merely plodding along at its own pace. The song is simpler in construction and is less busier, sound wise, than the first two tracks- and this becomes the main failing of much of the rest of the record.


Aside from the hashed out later portions of the album, the group takes on the Smith’s classic “How Soon Is Now?”. Taken in the context of a lesbian union adds little to the always ambiguous (a)sexuality of Morrissey and the cover ultimately fails as an independent entity but is certainly worth a download.


All in all, Tatu’s debut record is exactly what is to be expected. Eight songs, two great singles, two Russian language versions of the singles, and an extended version of another song. It’s obviously pop product and probably not worth the money to buy, but certainly essential pop listening if only for the already European released singles.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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