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CD£12.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Interscope

CD£12.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Interscope

It makes no sense to discuss 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, the first album by Russian dance-pop duo t.A.T.u., without focusing on the gimmick, since that gimmick is the band. Of course, gimmicks have always been central to pop music, including much of the greatest pop music, but few have felt as tawdry as t.A.T.u.. Which is, of course, that the girls are teenage lesbians. Or to shoddily paraphrase Charlie Sheen in Being John Malkovich, "they're hot teenage lesbians, and how can you not be into that?" Well, it's easy not to be into it when Julia and Lena appear to have been run through a marketing processor so they could become two Sapphic tarts who sing songs with suggestive titles like "Not Gonna Get Us," "Show Me Love," and "All the Things She Said" (it's likely a coincidence that the latter two share titles with songs by Robyn and Simple Minds, respectively, but perhaps not), while covering that perennial anthem of tortured unrequited love and lust, the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" (it was strong enough to withstand Love Spit Love's cover; it's strong enough to weather this). Perhaps this would have been fun if the music were fizzy, trashy, and disposable, the way Brit-pop novelty Shampoo was on its lark We Are Shampoo. Instead, it's heavy, portentous Europop, often helmed by Trevor Horn, and badly sung by two girls with annoying squawks for voices. With those relentless, gloomy beats and those voices that cut against the grain, it's easy to concentrate on nothing but the gimmick, because it's more fun to talk about Russian teenage lesbians than listen to this noisy, oppressive murk. Even then, you'll feel unclean, given the shamelessness of the exploitation in this whole crass, commercial enterprise. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£12.49

Pop - Released September 17, 2002 | Interscope

It makes no sense to discuss 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, the first album by Russian dance-pop duo t.A.T.u., without focusing on the gimmick, since that gimmick is the band. Of course, gimmicks have always been central to pop music, including much of the greatest pop music, but few have felt as tawdry as t.A.T.u.. Which is, of course, that the girls are teenage lesbians. Or to shoddily paraphrase Charlie Sheen in Being John Malkovich, "they're hot teenage lesbians, and how can you not be into that?" Well, it's easy not to be into it when Julia and Lena appear to have been run through a marketing processor so they could become two Sapphic tarts who sing songs with suggestive titles like "Not Gonna Get Us," "Show Me Love," and "All the Things She Said" (it's likely a coincidence that the latter two share titles with songs by Robyn and Simple Minds, respectively, but perhaps not), while covering that perennial anthem of tortured unrequited love and lust, the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" (it was strong enough to withstand Love Spit Love's cover; it's strong enough to weather this). Perhaps this would have been fun if the music were fizzy, trashy, and disposable, the way Brit-pop novelty Shampoo was on its lark We Are Shampoo. Instead, it's heavy, portentous Europop, often helmed by Trevor Horn, and badly sung by two girls with annoying squawks for voices. With those relentless, gloomy beats and those voices that cut against the grain, it's easy to concentrate on nothing but the gimmick, because it's more fun to talk about Russian teenage lesbians than listen to this noisy, oppressive murk. Even then, you'll feel unclean, given the shamelessness of the exploitation in this whole crass, commercial enterprise. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£11.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | OOO Universal Music

CD£12.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

Three years after they were an international media sensation -- hey, who doesn't like talking about and looking at Russian lesbian schoolgirls? -- t.A.t.U. returned in 2005 with their second album, Dangerous and Moving. As Tommy Duncan sang, time does indeed change everything, and t.A.t.U. had a turbulent three years, separating from the Svengali manager and, most shocking of all, revealing that they weren't lesbians at all! In fact, Julia Volkova actually had a child, which kind of punctured the whole schoolgirl lesbian fantasy that had been pushed by the dearly departed manager in the first place. So, free to be themselves, t.A.t.U. decided to grow up for their second album -- and nothing says maturity like ditching the short plaid skirts and bringing in Sting to play bass for a track, while hiring Richard Carpenter for a string arrangement for another. The presence of these two middlebrow titans may suggest that Dangerous and Moving sounds different than their debut, 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, and while that's true to a certain extent, it's also misleading. Yes, there are a couple more ballads here, the Eurotrash quotient isn't quite so trashy (yet it's every bit as Euro), and, best of all, the girls' voices aren't run through the computer compressor that makes them sound as high and shrill as a drill. But all these little changes don't alter the duo's music much at all: they still make cold, crass, clinical dance-pop sung by two ciphers with thin, awkward voices. Like last time, they have one single with an insistent, repetitive hook built around the word "us" that opens the album (last time it was "Not Gonna Get Us," it's now the sound-alike "All About Us"), and then they recycle that sound to staggeringly diminished returns for the remainder of the record. As Dangerous and Moving wears on -- hell, by the second track -- the icy digital sheen of the production starts to grate nearly as bad as the flat, bored vocals of the girls. Since the beats are monotonous, since the songs are insipid and forgettable, since the girls not only can't sing but have no on-record charisma, since there's no sense of style and, most importantly, sense of fun to this whole enterprise, Dangerous and Moving is the worst kind of pop music: the kind that is better to theorize about than to listen to. And now that they're not hot lesbian schoolgirls anymore, it's not even that much fun to theorize and argue about, since without the sapphic gimmick, t.A.t.U. simply doesn't have a reason to exist. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£2.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£2.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Interscope

CD£4.49

Pop - Released August 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£3.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Interscope

CD£3.49

Pop - Released September 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£4.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£2.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£11.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

Three years after they were an international media sensation -- hey, who doesn't like talking about and looking at Russian lesbian schoolgirls? -- t.A.t.U. returned in 2005 with their second album, Dangerous and Moving. As Tommy Duncan sang, time does indeed change everything, and t.A.t.U. had a turbulent three years, separating from the Svengali manager and, most shocking of all, revealing that they weren't lesbians at all! In fact, Julia Volkova actually had a child, which kind of punctured the whole schoolgirl lesbian fantasy that had been pushed by the dearly departed manager in the first place. So, free to be themselves, t.A.t.U. decided to grow up for their second album -- and nothing says maturity like ditching the short plaid skirts and bringing in Sting to play bass for a track, while hiring Richard Carpenter for a string arrangement for another. The presence of these two middlebrow titans may suggest that Dangerous and Moving sounds different than their debut, 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, and while that's true to a certain extent, it's also misleading. Yes, there are a couple more ballads here, the Eurotrash quotient isn't quite so trashy (yet it's every bit as Euro), and, best of all, the girls' voices aren't run through the computer compressor that makes them sound as high and shrill as a drill. But all these little changes don't alter the duo's music much at all: they still make cold, crass, clinical dance-pop sung by two ciphers with thin, awkward voices. Like last time, they have one single with an insistent, repetitive hook built around the word "us" that opens the album (last time it was "Not Gonna Get Us," it's now the sound-alike "All About Us"), and then they recycle that sound to staggeringly diminished returns for the remainder of the record. As Dangerous and Moving wears on -- hell, by the second track -- the icy digital sheen of the production starts to grate nearly as bad as the flat, bored vocals of the girls. Since the beats are monotonous, since the songs are insipid and forgettable, since the girls not only can't sing but have no on-record charisma, since there's no sense of style and, most importantly, sense of fun to this whole enterprise, Dangerous and Moving is the worst kind of pop music: the kind that is better to theorize about than to listen to. And now that they're not hot lesbian schoolgirls anymore, it's not even that much fun to theorize and argue about, since without the sapphic gimmick, t.A.t.U. simply doesn't have a reason to exist. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£1.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Interscope

CD£1.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Interscope