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Popmatters: Fabber than Abba? by Roger Holland

 
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AnimeInu

 

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Post subject: Popmatters: Fabber than Abba? by Roger Holland Reply with quote
Quote:
t.A.T.u
Dangerous and Moving

(Interscope)
Rating: 8
US release date: 11 October 2005
UK release date: 10 October 2005


by Roger Holland

Fabber Than Abba?


If you don't like t.A.T.u, you don't like pop music. Simple as that. Straight outta Eurovision-East, t.A.T.u are the Abba for the new millennium. Following a split from svengali Ivan Shapovalov and a hype-confounding pregnancy, the t.A.T.u girls have regrouped and taken control of their own destiny, and now they're back with a collection of songs bigger, brighter and better than their Western debut, 200km/h in the Wrong Lane.

Rare flowers blooming from the rancid dustbins of modern pop, a contemporary Agnetha and Frida with no need for ugly geek muso husband sidekicks, Lena Katina and new mother Yulya Volkova have actually out-punched Abba so far. The Swedes' debut album had just two halfway decent songs and made no sort of international impression. 200km/h boasted two of the very best pop moments of the 21st century: the irresistible strained rush of "All The Things She Said" and the bunker-busting cover of "How Soon Is Now". And if Abba's second release took things up a notch with three good songs, Dangerous And Moving is still decidedly fabber than Abba.

You don't believe me? Just check out the new single, "All About Us". Yes, in many ways, it's "All The Things She Said - Part Dva". But so what? It packs more amateur operatics, more rock and more intelligent pop into a little under three minutes than Queen could shoehorn into the entirety of "Bohemian Rhapsody"; and it's by no means the best song on Dangerous and Moving. And if the sub-text is still the relationship between the two girls, then again, so what? Why was their exploitation of the haze surrounding their friendship any worse than Freddie Mercury pretending to be straight? If Joe Strummer could pretend to be working class to create a compelling rock theatre, then why shouldn't t.A.T.u's willful provocation be celebrated like the Sex Pistols?

tATuTruFax #1: t.A.T.u comes from a collocation of "ta" and "tu", two forms of a Russian feminine pronoun, that can be translated as "This female (does something to) that female." The implication is that "this girl fucks that girl".

Clearly, t.A.T.u understand that presentation and exploitation are intrinsic parts of their craft, but they also know it's easier to sell the truth. Lena Katina has said t.A.T.u have been essentially honest with their audience, attempting to express elements of a long lasting friendship that's been confused, difficult and ripe with sexual tension; and I see no reason not to believe her. Although in the context of modern pop music, the truth is supremely irrelevant, Dangerous and Moving seems very much an exploration of a friendship under stress. In the helter skelter "Loves Me Not", Yulya Volkova confesses "I complicated our lives by falling in love with him ... now I'm losing my only friend". In the gentle "Gomenasai" (from an abbreviated form of the Japanese phrase meaning "I'm sorry") she pleads, "I never needed a friend like I do now".

tATuTruFax #2: Tatu was the codename Che Guevara used during his time as a guerilla in the Congo.

Subversive pop firestarters in Armani Exchange hoodies, t.A.T.u do pop like Drew Barrymore does cute -- with effortless beauty, wit and personality. At times, their singing suggests Madonna circa Like a Prayer and, like the Equestrian Girl herself in her time, they're pretty much a perfect pop package; yet they also offer a deconstruction of the form that's pure punk rock at heart. Live, t.A.T.u shine with a shy playful glee, urging us to join their club. On video, they deliver drama, scandal and nightmare images of urban collapse. On Dangerous and Moving, they bring us alien-sweet, broken helium-honey harmonies besieged by vibrant pulsing instrumentation and classically theatrical pop dynamics. Sweeping Russian symphonies in electro-punk pop tempered with quieter episodes of quite bewitching delicacy.

tATuTruFax #3: When Beijing was the capital of the Great Mongolian Yuan Empire in the 13th and 14th centuries, it was known as Daidu, or Tatu.

Western pop luminaries such as Trevor Horn, Sting, Dave Stewart and even Richard Carpenter have all contributed to the making of Dangerous and Moving, but it's still an essentially Eastern work. Even Horn's impeccable "Craving (I Only Want What I Can't Have)" is a perfect Billboard moment seen through the glass of a Russian Standard vodka bottle darkly, and sung quite beautifully by Lena and Yulya. Partially, of course, it's the accents. Exotic voices singing in English have a special appeal. The phrasing is less glib, so the emotions seem more sincere, which perhaps explains why Agnetha and Frida got away with singing so much Euro-nonsense for so long. But there is something more here. Perhaps, at heart, t.A.T.u simply represent the tensions between their Russian traditions and the Western pop culture that brought down the Berlin Wall.

Whatever, t.A.T.u still sound best when they sing in their native tongue. Sadly, Dangerous and Moving has only one example of the otherworldly beauty and soul of their Russian language work. Happily, "Obizienka Nol" is magnificent. An electro-epic "Kashmir", it makes the very most of the different textures and emotions offered by Lena and Yulya's quite distinct vocal ranges and it touches places most pop music couldn't find with a map and GPS.

7 October 2005

http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/t/tatu-dangerous.shtml

Source: posted by ekks in the tatu.fatal forum

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PostSun Oct 09, 2005 2:20 pm
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Chey

 

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That's the best review I've read by far.

It brought a happy smile to my face while I read. Truly fantastic.

Thanks for posting AnimeInu!
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PostSun Oct 09, 2005 5:48 pm
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Fanglobe

 

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Post subject: Re: Fabber than Abba? by Roger Holland Reply with quote
AnimeInu wrote:
tATuTruFax #1: t.A.T.u comes from a collocation of "ta" and "tu", two forms of a Russian feminine pronoun, that can be translated as "This female (does something to) that female." The implication is that "this girl fucks that girl".


I hate when journalists say wrong things! Bash
PostSun Oct 09, 2005 6:58 pm
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QuieroTatu

 


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Post subject: Re: Fabber than Abba? by Roger Holland Reply with quote
Fanglobe wrote:
AnimeInu wrote:
tATuTruFax #1: t.A.T.u comes from a collocation of "ta" and "tu", two forms of a Russian feminine pronoun, that can be translated as "This female (does something to) that female." The implication is that "this girl fucks that girl".


I hate when journalists say wrong things! Bash


Actually that is perfectly accurate.


And tatu isn't as good as abba.
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PostSun Oct 09, 2005 9:06 pm
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idioteque

 

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Jesus. This reviewer must really love Tatu, because he's basically comparing them to rock legends, which lets face it, they are not really. Yet. They're too young, they haven't experimented enough with certain genres of music to be heralded as such. But given time, I'm sure that will change.

However, I do agree with the opening sentence, and, this was a very well-written interview, which I always appreciate. Thumb
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 2:26 am
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Liyah

 

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Hey Abba rocks! Half Frown

Good review, but:
Quote:
"I never needed a friend like I do now".
Is she talking about Lena or about the fans? I thought the fans..
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 3:04 am
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Alex22

 



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I can't see what t.A.T.u. have to with ABBA Confused It's a silly comparison, IMO.

But... Good review Thumb
PostMon Oct 10, 2005 4:46 am
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Troika

 

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In 25 years time if t.A.T.u. are still being played and are considered legends then I think we should start comparing them to ABBA, I'm not a big fan of theirs but even I think there is no comparison as of now.

Great review and it's always nice to see something positive for a change but I sence a little bias on the writers part Grin

BTW I may be wrong on this so feel free to correct and pummel me into the dirt but didn't ABBA actually win Eurosvision Wink

Still nice to see a really positive review though Smile
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 5:47 am
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Liyah

 

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Troika wrote:

BTW I may be wrong on this so feel free to correct and pummel me into the dirt but didn't ABBA actually win Eurosvision Wink


Yeah they won it.
In Germany and GB they had 9 #1 hits.
So tATu still got a lot to do, to be better than Abba Grin
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 6:02 am
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Troika

 

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Liyah wrote:
In Germany and GB they had 9 #1 hits.
So tATu still got a lot to do, to be better than Abba Grin


I agree, regardless of what I think of ABBA (I like quite a few of their songs but wouldn't buy their stuff) t.A.T.u. have a lot of catching upto do :)

Though in ABBA's defence they did actually win Eurovision before it became a joke Wink
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 6:07 am
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multieyedmyr

 

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ok tho they might not be the ABBA of today the reviewer might be old enough to remember ABBAs beginings and compairing them to that time. 8) and the comparison is perfectly fine given hes compairing 2 pop "bands".
8) it sure beats all the rap that has infected the air waves. (tho slick rick is still the man )
PostMon Oct 10, 2005 6:25 am
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howard h

 

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Liyah wrote:
Hey Abba rocks! Half Frown

Good review, but:
Quote:
"I never needed a friend like I do now".
Is she talking about Lena or about the fans? I thought the fans..


Both.
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 8:19 am
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Fanglobe

 

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Post subject: Re: Fabber than Abba? by Roger Holland Reply with quote
QuieroTatu wrote:
Fanglobe wrote:
AnimeInu wrote:
tATuTruFax #1: t.A.T.u comes from a collocation of "ta" and "tu", two forms of a Russian feminine pronoun, that can be translated as "This female (does something to) that female." The implication is that "this girl fucks that girl".


I hate when journalists say wrong things! Bash


Actually that is perfectly accurate.


Accurate? I read a lot of times that 'TATY' means: TA lyubit TY and in both, english and russian it pronounces "t.A.T.u."

OMG, am i going crazy!?
PostMon Oct 10, 2005 12:07 pm
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xena225

 



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From the Tatu FAQ, here: http://www.tatu.us/forum/viewtopic.php?t=891

Quote:
Which is it: Taty, Tatu, or t.A.T.u. ? And what does it mean?

In Russian the name "Tatu" (Cyrillic letters: ???? / transliteration: Taty) means 'Ta [Lyubit] Tu'.
- This can be roughly translated as 'this girl loves that girl'.
- It's been said that when they made the English album, they ran into a problem because there already was a band named Tatu. So they put some dots in between, and there you have t.A.T.u.

[...]

When asked for the meaning of the name, the girls used to say: this girl loves that girl.

Here's one example - (WWE Confidential, Lena Katina meets "Victoria", 2003):
Victoria: t.A.T.u. stands for what?
Lena: It's "ta" loves "tu" in Russian, so "ta" is "this girl", "tu" - "that girl", so "This girl loves that girl."

PostMon Oct 10, 2005 12:29 pm
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Liyah

 

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Yeah thats what they're saying.. same thing like the "we never said that we are lesbians". Well "This girl does something to that girl" fits the best, imagine yourself what it could be Smile

um what was the topic? Grin
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PostMon Oct 10, 2005 12:40 pm
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Fanglobe

 

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Half Frown I read the article, but i couldn't understand it very well... Could someone in here, who speaks spanish, translate it?... Please?
PostMon Oct 10, 2005 6:12 pm
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QuieroTatu

 


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xena225 wrote:
From the Tatu FAQ, here: http://www.tatu.us/forum/viewtopic.php?t=891

Quote:
Which is it: Taty, Tatu, or t.A.T.u. ? And what does it mean?

In Russian the name "Tatu" (Cyrillic letters: ???? / transliteration: Taty) means 'Ta [Lyubit] Tu'.
- This can be roughly translated as 'this girl loves that girl'.
- It's been said that when they made the English album, they ran into a problem because there already was a band named Tatu. So they put some dots in between, and there you have t.A.T.u.

[...]

When asked for the meaning of the name, the girls used to say: this girl loves that girl.

Here's one example - (WWE Confidential, Lena Katina meets "Victoria", 2003):
Victoria: t.A.T.u. stands for what?
Lena: It's "ta" loves "tu" in Russian, so "ta" is "this girl", "tu" - "that girl", so "This girl loves that girl."



From what i have heard from russian speakers it mean more along the lines of this girl fucks that girl. To tame the name for a more western audience they gave the this girl loves that girl definition.

Bah! we are splitting hairs, it is basically the same thing.
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