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Slate.com: Ashlee Simpson vs. t.A.T.u. [Nov.1]

 
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xena225

 



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Post subject: Slate.com: Ashlee Simpson vs. t.A.T.u. [Nov.1] Reply with quote
Quote:
Ashlee Simpson vs. t.A.T.u.
Guess who made the better new album.
By Michael Idov
Posted Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005, at 2:02 PM ET

The band t.A.T.u. was a product that one could only sell, or buy, once. Even as the goth-chipmunk ardor of their 2002 single "All the Things She Said" was steadily denting stateside radio playlists, it was safe to assume there would be no competing teenage-lesbian Slav duo that year. Lena and Julia took the waning Britney-vs.-Christina debate and resolved it as only a reeling post-socialist mind would—Both! Making out! In a way, they formed the ultimate, albeit belated, punch line to the 1990s: liberation as political correctness as farce. Not bad for two girls in Catholic-school uniforms, especially considering there are no Catholic girl schools in Russia. The highbrow reaction was a mix of bemusement and horror, with Gary Shteyngart doing the requisite hand-wringing in The New Yorker. His conclusion: The girls were in need of deprogramming, and the duo's manager, Mr. Shapovalov, was a man capable of mesmerizing Mesmer.

One small detail spoiled the otherwise immaculate picture of corrupted youth, hair-raising exploitation, and proto-capitalist greed run amok: "All the Things She Said" was a terrific song. Tightly constructed by craftsmen unknown and given a steely sheen by the celebrated producer Trevor Horn, the killer single ostensibly about same-sex lust was, in fact, a valentine to all of us who like a bit of a challenge with our pleasure. In an era when one good hook is enough to hang an album's worth of filler on, "All the Things She Said" contained at least five distinct parts, each catchier than the other. What's more, it drew freely from disparate sources, both above- and underground: goth rock, industrial, sleek '90s techno. In short, it was a ubiquitous hit that also doubled as a hip discovery—a phenomenon that hasn't recurred until Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone."

Second albums by pop groups always demand a shift in narrative—Clarkson "matures," Pink "goes punk"—but how do you follow up an act that involves strategically timed onstage snogging during guitar solos? For their sophomore disc, Dangerous and Moving, t.A.T.u. have bravely downgraded love to very, very tight friendship. The video for the first single binds our heroines in blood as they violently dispatch a date rapist: The new template is a buddy movie, not Girls Gone Wild.

The main risk to such a flippant disposal of a gimmick is, well, financial. Indeed, t.A.T.u.'s Dangerous and Moving arrives to an audible yawn from its teenage target audience (who appeared to have long moved on) but to some genuinely eager anticipation from the overage music-geek crowd. An odd thing happened in the intervening years: t.A.T.u., the most shameless of all manufactured pop sensations, have become critics' darlings. Dangerous and Moving can be described, without reservations, as a very good second album. It's stronger and stranger than the debut, and t.A.T.u.'s improbably winning songwriting formula—equal parts Roxette, Nine Inch Nails, and Buddha Bar—has, by now, been sharpened into the kind of sound you recognize from the opening bar. This is not to call the album homogeneous. Even the single, "All About Us," conceals some new rewards—for instance, a disarmed and disarming bells-and-timpani bridge that dawns after each squall of a chorus.

In lieu of a great novelty cover (last time around it was the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?"), Dangerous and Moving brims with collaborations that appear more bonkers than they actually are. Richard Carpenter—yes, that Richard Carpenter—handled the strings arrangement (they're a little bit lesbian, he's ... ah, forget it). The most toxic-sounding group effort—a tune penned by the Eurythmics' mastermind Dave Stewart with Sting (!) on bass—turns out to be the catchiest song of the whole affair. A bitter ditty titled "Friend or Foe," it rides an anthemic chord progression that wouldn't be out of place on an early Eurythmics record as the girls demand loyalty in its simplest terms: "We used to love one another … / So/ Are you friend or foe?" For his part, Sting's laconic bass riff is not the fretless atrocity you might expect but a taut reminder why the Police sounded pretty damn good. Interscope would be insane not to release this song as the corrective second single.

Unlike t.A.T.u., Ashlee Simpson belongs to the wonderfully elastic category of pop attractions designed to be resold indefinitely. Whereas sister Jessica has managed to elevate a sort of honed vacuousness to the level of physical comedy, Ashlee appears to harbor no ambition more specific than to be photographed with a microphone. This makes her a perfect vessel for show business: As the market demands change, she can be recast as absolutely anything with no danger to the bottom line. That's why it's so surprising to see Ashlee cling to the snoozefest of her original narrative: self-definition through hostility.

Like fellow rebel Lindsay Lohan, whose very first single curtly demanded that we leave her alone, Ashlee excels at telegraphing mild, all-purpose annoyance. On her new album, I Am Me, she finds time to complain that "Hollywood sucks you in/ But it won't spit me out" on the otherwise fun single, "(I Didn't Steal Your) Boyfriend." This song grafts a Franz Ferdinand stomp onto a melody that could have just as easily accommodated Interpol's saddo drone (as "Since U Been Gone" did) and remains the liveliest on I Am Me. The rest of the album alternates between Extreme-sized ballads and tentative nods at louder rock genres like emo. This would be fine if every song, soft or loud, didn't give itself a hernia trying to tell you Something About Ashlee.

The ghost of Ashlee's little SNL snafu casts a pall over the whole production. Apparently, the producers decided that it's as good a grist for the mill as anything. In the singer's own words, the event and its aftermath inspired not one but two songs on the record. One of the two, "Beautifully Broken," opens with sorrowful guitar harmonics under a line that skillfully mixes about three metaphors: "It seems like yesterday that my world fell from the sky." The expansive chorus, when it arrives, serves up an exquisite logical pretzel by offering this as a mea culpa: "I'm beautifully broken, and I don't mind if you know it/ I'm beautifully broken and I don't care if I show it." As an album, I Am Me plays a game of courting pity by loudly rejecting it, which amounts to annoying passive aggression. Dangerous and Moving, on the other hand, is that rare thing—a pop confection that doesn't seem to give a damn if you like it.

Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2129190/


Thanks to simon (tatysite) for this article, and to Rob for posting it on the tatugirls.de forum, here. :thumbsup:

xena225
PostTue Nov 01, 2005 6:56 pm
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TaTy_DuDe

 

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What? not even a competition. T.A.T.U. all the way!
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 7:05 pm
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OutLookingIn

 



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yeah it is a big competition!

Great review! they beat Ashlee!
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The album that took 3 years in the making


Dangerous and Moving
Coming October 11, the Highly Anticipated Album by the Inventors of Dance//Rock Music:
t.A.T.u.
PostTue Nov 01, 2005 7:14 pm
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TaTy_DuDe

 

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in quality but not in album sales. Unless there counting international album sales.
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 7:27 pm
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t.A.T.u97

 


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Ashlee is being promoted more in the US than t.A.T.u is. But their song "All About Us" beat Ashlee's on Rolling stones top 5, so they are ownin lip syncing punk wanna be. Grin
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 8:24 pm
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AllTheThingsSheSaid123

 


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t.A.T.u97 wrote:
Ashlee is being promoted more in the US than t.A.T.u is. But their song "All About Us" beat Ashlee's on Rolling stones top 5, so they are ownin lip syncing punk wanna be. Grin


haha^^
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 8:39 pm
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OutLookingIn

 



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t.A.T.u97 wrote:
Ashlee is being promoted more in the US than t.A.T.u is. But their song "All About Us" beat Ashlee's on Rolling stones top 5, so they are ownin lip syncing punk wanna be. Grin


oh please! Rolleyes it means nothing!
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The album that took 3 years in the making


Dangerous and Moving
Coming October 11, the Highly Anticipated Album by the Inventors of Dance//Rock Music:
t.A.T.u.
PostTue Nov 01, 2005 10:40 pm
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Spanky

 

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t.A.T.u97 wrote:
Ashlee is being promoted more in the US than t.A.T.u is. But their song "All About Us" beat Ashlee's on Rolling stones top 5, so they are ownin lip syncing punk wanna be. Grin


Haha, it's doesn't hold the same weight - making fun of Ashlee's lip syncing in a tATu thread. :p

Good review for them. Thumb
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 11:06 pm
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QuieroTatu

 


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great article

Was there any doubt who would win?
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PostTue Nov 01, 2005 11:44 pm
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LOL! What the fuck! Um....lets compare cosmos to I stole your boy friend. lol, why even bother wasting time? Anyone? When the only reason you are famouse is because your sister is a famous person for having a reality show about how fucking stupid your relationship is based on that both you and your husband are stupid as fuck doing so predictuble songs about the obvious catches the eye of those who will buy draw string pants because they saw that on an old navy comercial is stupid as super fuck. Long live tatu and the fact that they don't give a fuck to be shown on Mtv because ashlee is wasting everyone's time about her shopping for shoes and tatu is making more money world wide that that ***** because they relize america doesn't matter.
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PostWed Nov 02, 2005 5:21 am
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xena225

 



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Can we please not resort to Ashlee bashing here? Rolleyes We don't like t.A.T.u. bashing, so please let's be fair to other singers as well. Criticize her all you want, but let's keep it civil, please. Thank you. :)

I like this review. Let's face it, a lot of people think Tatu are superficial one-hit-wonders without potential. This reviewer took the time to look farther than the surface and the bias. He seems to be a very knowledgeable man who furthermore knows how to make a point. Even if I don't agree with everything that he says, this was a very rewarding read. And the fact that Mr. Michael Idov says "Dangerous and Moving can be described, without reservations, as a very good second album. It's stronger and stranger than the debut..." is simply fantastic.

xena225
PostWed Nov 02, 2005 6:55 am
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OutLookingIn wrote:
they beat Ashlee!


Who wouldn't beat Ashlee Tongue
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PostWed Nov 02, 2005 9:11 am
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That's a great review! Go t.A.T.u.!!!!
PostWed Nov 02, 2005 10:04 am
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Well duh, who wouldnt choose tatu over ashlee simpson lol! Rolleyes
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PostWed Nov 02, 2005 11:09 am
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That is a good review.. and hopefully fof will get peoples attention
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PostWed Nov 02, 2005 11:36 am
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That was soo great!!! Thanks!!
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PostWed Nov 02, 2005 5:50 pm
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Quote:
For their sophomore disc, Dangerous and Moving, t.A.T.u. have bravely downgraded love to very, very tight friendship. The video for the first single binds our heroines in blood as they violently dispatch a date rapist: The new template is a buddy movie, not Girls Gone Wild.


I REALLY, REALLY like how this paragraph was written. It could have been said so many other, worse ways.


Thumb to this journalist!
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PostThu Nov 03, 2005 2:08 am
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DeletedMemory

 



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Now this is what you call a review. Not some cheap arse like Rolling Stone's! Rolleyes

Thanks alot for posting xena! Thumb
PostThu Nov 03, 2005 12:29 pm
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Great review, thanks for postin xena
Quote:
An odd thing happened in the intervening years: t.A.T.u., the most shameless of all manufactured pop sensations, have become critics' darlings. Dangerous and Moving can be described, without reservations, as a very good second album. It's stronger and stranger than the debut

I not sure this is true – that they’ve become critics’ darlings. It seems critics either love them or despise them.
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PostFri Nov 04, 2005 6:55 pm
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Am I the only one who likes Ashlee Simpson???
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PostFri Nov 04, 2005 7:19 pm
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Post subject: Tierd of lame reviews.... Reply with quote
My mom used to say....


If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say Don't Say Nothing At All.

That article was just plain mean spirtited and whoever wrote it probly suffers from A Clinicly Diagnosed sarcastic Cynical point of view.

Neither Ashley Simpson or T.A.T.U are as bad as this person makes them out to be....
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PostSat Nov 05, 2005 7:30 am
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I hate Ashlee Simpson, she can't sing and she's just wannabe punk Rolleyes
t.A.T.u. are much better... Great review Thumb
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PostSat Nov 05, 2005 8:14 am
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c|oudchiisan wrote:
Now this is what you call a review. Not some cheap arse like Rolling Stone's! Rolleyes

Thanks alot for posting xena! Thumb


Yes, rolling stones review was a piece of crap. Shame on them!

Im glad the girls are getting strong press, good and bad.
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PostSat Nov 05, 2005 3:40 pm
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I have to agree with you idioteque, the paragraph is very well written, and shows the strong points of t.A.T.u. (not that there are any bad points Grin )
PostSat Nov 05, 2005 6:33 pm
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tatyshki

 

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No one is perfrect and I still love Ashlee Simpson and I think she can sing and yes she is wanna be punk but think of what t.A.T.u. used to sell even though they didn't come straight *no pun* out and say it and....*sighs*
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PostSat Nov 05, 2005 7:49 pm
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tatyshki wrote:
Am I the only one who likes Ashlee Simpson???

I agree with you
I like ashlee,to0!

but I think T.A.T.U. are much better than her!
I love them,especially Yulia Thumb
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PostSat Dec 03, 2005 8:49 am
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