Top critical review
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on 4 February 2003
t.A.T.u (or Taty in Russian) is made up of Yulia Olegovna Volkova and Elena Sergeevna Katina, Russian teenagers with pure voices and suggestive videos and song lyrics. The group has released a number of singles, remixes and "200 Po Vstriechnoj," the original Russian-language version of t.A.T.u's English album "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane." Let it be said that, although nothing really gets lost in the translation (besides some awkward pronunciations in English), Yulia and Elena really shine in Russian.
The album features several songs that are not on their English debut ("Doschitai do sta," "Robot," "Ya tvoi vrag") and should have been. The music is upbeat dance (at least "Ya soshla s uma" was played in clubs and on MTV España fairly consistently this summer), although there are some beautiful slow songs (my all-time favourite is "Zachem ya," or "Stars" on the English album). There are haunting sound effects such as children laughing and a music box/piano picking up the haunting melody on "30 minut (30 minutes)," cheesy "I am a robot" voiceovers inserted in "Robot," and a cool New Age sax solo on "Zachem ya," as well as Russian rap in the middle of the song.
The songs sound, for the most part, exactly like their English counterparts, although there is an extra spark of fire when the girls sing in Russian. I *do* believe that Taty is a very talented group indeed, regardless of how much of the group was a marketing ploy ( as Taty is pushed as a lesbian group when the emphasis should be on the great music they make). This is evident in some of their videos (in the much touted "All the Things She Said (Ya soshla s uma)," the girls share a long, intense kiss in pouring rain. In "Malchick gey" they sing about unrequited lust for a gay boy. Their new single and video "Prostie Dvizheniya (Simple Moves)" describes self-pleasure along with some rather evocative sound effects. And the girls frequently flash at their concerts, on several occasions losing control of the overenthusiastic crowds. It shouldn't be necessary to sell their music with controversy---Taty stands head-and-shoulders above most prefab acts that are crowding the charts today.
Their dance music is fresh and original, with involved lyrics, stay-in-your-head-for-weeks melodies, great beats, and slick production values. I prefer "200 Po Vstriechnoj" over "200 km/H" since there are all original songs on this album. If you're a fan of dance, trance, or those multitudes of "Chillout Ibiza" albums, then Taty is for you.