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July 17, 2002
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Is "T.A.T.U." the next big thing in music? They're a Russian teen-pop duo with a twist -- lesbianism. They appear on stage in wet t-shirts and white panties. One of their videos shows them wearing schoolgirl outfits and kissing in the rain, while another shows them building a bomb and getting naked on a carousel.

There are reports that the girls aren't actually lesbians, and that it's all just a gimmick to make their Svengali-like producer rich (surprise, surprise). We all know that controversy can sell records. If T.A.T.U. manages to get the right people upset, could they become stars in the U.S.? MTV and MTV2 started playing the video last week...
posted by Reggie452 (66 comments total)

 
Of course they're real lesbians.

Just like all those nice ladies in the porno industry.

And Ann Heche.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:06 AM on July 17, 2002


Ann Heche is a lesbian!??!!??! Great. Just great. And I finally got to see Six Days, Seven Nights, and now you drop this bomb on me?

Next thing you'll be telling me that Winona Ryder can't fly.
posted by dwivian at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2002


Are they going to wrestle the Indigo Girls on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch?
posted by girlhacker at 11:11 AM on July 17, 2002


Ummm. Is their music any good?

Their site says: "Feisty brunette Julia and soulful redhead Lena, two teenage girls from Moscow known as t.A.T.u, are the Russian equivalent of pop-meets-Prodigy."
That sounds like a bad combination.
posted by ColdChef at 11:24 AM on July 17, 2002


ColdChef: Who cares? Lesibans, dude!

pop-meets-Prodigy? So pop then?
posted by ODiV at 11:26 AM on July 17, 2002


I remember being somehow desturbed when whatching an MTV news report over the web about them. Maybe it was just the grany video fucking with me.

I dunno, it just seemed like they were being 'used' somehow, maybe if they were in their 20s rather then their teens it would have felt better.

I just have a feeling that 'psycologist' producer or whatever guy is probably screwing em both.
posted by delmoi at 11:28 AM on July 17, 2002


And I finally got to see Six Days, Seven Nights, and now you drop this bomb on me?

You have my deepest sympathies regarding the wanton waste of 2 hours of your time.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2002


Real or not, they sure are adorable.
Reggie: I'm loving the video for "All The Things She Said" (schoolgirls+rain.) Nice dark energy in the song & the imagery. (I'm somehow reminded of the Go-Betweens.) But where'd you find the bomb+carousel video? I don't see any other video links on the site.
posted by Tubes at 11:33 AM on July 17, 2002


I totally approve of this.
posted by glenwood at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2002


Anybody know how "Photo Gallery" is spelled in Russian? Just askin'... for a friend ya know....
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2002


ODiV does have a point...

lesibans!
posted by lotsofno at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2002


Anybody know how "Photo Gallery" is spelled in Russian?

Roll over the Russian links and watch the URL on the status line of your browser. There are English-y clues in the URLs, i.e. "news," "koncert," "foto."
posted by Tubes at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2002


Just when you think pop music producers can't exploit a couple singers any more than they already have, they go and surprise you with something like this. It seems like an obvious cheap ploy, to play with subtle controversy (a form of sexuality most of america doesn't have a problem with) against racy images.
posted by mathowie at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2002


Oddly, they show less flesh than Britney but come off as much more subversive.

Russian girls singing in English borrowing heavily (visually) from Japanese pop culture, the global village is truly here.

As for the music, the second video, the remix, could pass for an Aphex Twin single.
posted by bobo123 at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2002


They say: Blender Magazine (June/July 2002 issue) says this about t.A.T.u.: "We have seen the future of rock & roll ... to say you've never seen or heard anything quite like it is a colossal understatement."

Blender says: "never heard of 'em....."

Hmmm....
posted by dash_slot- at 11:46 AM on July 17, 2002


Tubes: The carousel video is for "30 minut", from the Russian version of their CD. I found it on some infamous file-sharing program whose name is close to "Kazoo."

You can download an MP3 for "Nas Ne Dogonyat" (They Won't Catch Us") here.

Interscope's gonna have a field day with these girls. What better label to handle them than the home of Marilyn Manson and Eminem, right?
posted by Reggie452 at 11:46 AM on July 17, 2002


Bobo123: Actually, they show a lot MORE flesh than Britney. That video is the tamest thing they've done.
posted by Reggie452 at 11:49 AM on July 17, 2002


Don't forget about the new German pop group The Naked Project ( NSFW ), which is basically topless women singing cheesy German pop.

Apparently they are quite popular.
posted by remlapm at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2002


It's hardly cutting edge. Even the second "hard drums" mix sounds like a watered-down Prodigy (and I consider them pop).

As for the music, the second video, the remix, could pass for an Aphex Twin single.

Not to be a jerk, but not really... Even his most 'mainstream' songs like "Come To Daddy" and "Windowlicker" were far more complex and interesting than that stuff.
posted by almostcool at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2002


My question is audience. If they are "teeny bopper" then they are going to rely on young audience sales and I doubt that conservative parents are going to let their kids see lesbians perform. If their audience is teens to young adults they may have to change their sound to be "harder". I think they're allright, but I still question whether they're viable in a generally conservative America.
posted by Zebulun at 11:53 AM on July 17, 2002



Thank God for marketers. Man, if the US record industry put out acts like this no one would bitch about them shutting down Napster. I think it's great they are not really lesbians too, they are just waiting for the right man to come along.

Hubba-hubba

posted by DragonBoy at 11:54 AM on July 17, 2002


Crud, my <misogyny> tags got removed from that last post. :(
posted by DragonBoy at 11:54 AM on July 17, 2002


why listen to this teeny-bopper stuff when you can rock out to the Teaches of Peaches?
posted by stifford at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2002


HarDrum is not supposed to mean its the "hard drum remix", rather he's a russian breakbeat producer. And strangely, someone I used to talk to on IRC. Hadn't heard from him in a long time.
posted by atom128 at 11:57 AM on July 17, 2002


Hmm, I wondered what Trevor Horn had been up to lately...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2002


Not to be a jerk, but not really...

Yeah, you're right, but try imaging them running around with Richard D. James masks. But I retract the Aphex Twin comparison.
posted by bobo123 at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2002


Again we see that the world's problems with homosexuality have nothing to do with religious or moral objections. It has to do with power and male dominance. Get a couple of young girls to play 'lesbian' (for the sake of argument, I'm assuming they're not gay) and most heterosexual men pant and drool and clap in approval. After all, women only make love to women for the edification of heterosexual men, right? But have a couple lads chewing each other's lips and they're either a 'gay band' that is ignored or, more likely, they're condemned and railed against or avoided nervously. This is all theoretical, mind you, because if there were such a band, they'd never see the inside of a record producer's office, let alone MTV airtime.

Not that it really matters, since I don't even understand the concept of liking a musician's work on the basis of his or her looks, clothes, videos (except "Windowlicker", which was the reason I started listening to Aphex Twin), or actions. But didn't even the basest of commercial pop once have a modicum of respectability, or am I just romanticizing? It just seems like pop music is the worst it's ever been.
posted by evanizer at 12:05 PM on July 17, 2002


I'm totally sick of videos which are t&a shows, not because I don't like watching them, but because they try to exploit and insult me.

The producer and marketing company behind the video is saying: "we can sell you to advertisers, because you are a stupid, hormone controlled fool who can't resist watching. We own your eyes, and we own you, for the 3 minutes our dreck is on the screen." *cue organs and maniacal laughter

Fuck that, I'm never watching MTV again.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:05 PM on July 17, 2002


Dear gosh, stifford, I was going to mention Peaches! I don't like her, but she kept occuring to me as an antidote to these Rooskie chix.
posted by evanizer at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2002


If I want female singers who are actually kicking some attitude (style and musically), I'll go with Le Tigre or Chicks On Speed, baby.

Oh, and bobo123, you're totally right about the video being a cheap rip off of "Come To Daddy." The color tones, the somewhat post-industrial setting, the quick cuts... arg.

Actually, the video was pretty strange. It kind of felt like I was watching two different things. One, a video of some girls who felt different from the crowd, and one (inserted in quick cuts) of two young girls making out all over the place.
posted by almostcool at 12:16 PM on July 17, 2002


You'd think that someone in marketing would have told them what would come to most American minds when they heard, "Tattoo".
posted by ColdChef at 12:16 PM on July 17, 2002


Zebulun -- I think that "generally conservative America" will be the reason they sell. We Americans love controversy. Remember "Cop Killer"? These girls could have the same impact on a slow news cycle. People will check out the CD "just to see what everyone's talking about."
posted by Reggie452 at 12:16 PM on July 17, 2002


Good timing, now that "Rockbitch" is throwing in the towel.
posted by RavinDave at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2002


Reggie452,

Slow news cycle?

Dead on about the controversy, though.
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2002


Hackly -- If there are no other "big" news stories to cover, then the national media could go to town with this. You'd see TATU debated on Fox news by every pundit who can pronounce "family values".
posted by Reggie452 at 12:29 PM on July 17, 2002


Strangely, the two of them remind me a helluva lot of a couple of german girls I know.

And I definately agree with the incredible extent to which t.A.T.u borrows from Japanese culture. Especially that album cover...
posted by SpecialK at 12:31 PM on July 17, 2002


SpecialK -- that's really just the cover for the remix single. The full-length CD cover has their mugshots on it.
posted by Reggie452 at 12:33 PM on July 17, 2002


Wow. Russian girl "band" getting popular in the US with a lesbian twist. Although one part of my mind considers it to be twisted, perverted and a marketing scam for more of America's money... I suppose those that are idiotic enough to pay for such (insert vile word of disgust, I personally chose rubbish), then so be it. The other part is aroused, but we're not going to go there, and it will be taken care of. The fact is, although they are from my country, and I'm glad they are getting some notice, it's not the right kind, though. It's sad when people have to resort to male hormone stimulation to have you listen to their music. Good music rarely needs stimulation of anything but your ears to be worthy of your money.
posted by spidre at 1:00 PM on July 17, 2002


It's sad when people have to resort to male hormone stimulation to have you listen to their music.

Do you not live in America? That's basically a subtitle to the USofA. I can't buy groceries without being attacked by a giant cardboard scantly clad girl telling me to buy Pepsi.
posted by Satapher at 1:08 PM on July 17, 2002


It's sad when people have to resort to....hormone stimulation to have you listen to their music.

What's sadder is the total obliviousness of this comment. Are you logging on from some kind of abbey or monastery?
posted by luser at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2002


Here's an MTV News story on Tatu.
posted by Reggie452 at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2002


Has this sort of thing been done before? I mean, lesbians who are really open about it and incorporate it into their music? (Ok - we've got the Indigo Girls, but they've never kissed women in videos or anything.) So, they're original, right?

Check.

If you like modern electronic-influenced pop music, they're decent, right? They're better than Britney, at least.

Check.

They appear to be a happy couple, if they're lesbians - and there's no reason to assume they're not.

Check.

They're young girls expressing their sexuality in a relatively healthy way, right?

Check.

Actually, I can't see a problem here at all. We're being sold music using overt sexuality instead of covert. (Britney: "I'm a virgin! Really! And it's about my singing!" Read: "I'm a virgin until you despoil me, daddy-o.")

Some people like to be fooled - as for me, I prefer the overtness.
posted by crnixon at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2002


From the description, I won't buy their records.

I will watch their videos. with the sound off. and this playing in the background.
posted by jonmc at 1:41 PM on July 17, 2002


What's sadder is the total obliviousness of this comment. Are you logging on from some kind of abbey or monastery?

I don't know, I think there is a valid point that the need for female music singers to also be sex symbols as seriously undermined the quality of music over the last few years. I was suprised to find out (on the VH1 One Hit Wonder show) that the female vocals for C&C Music Factory's "Gonna Make you Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" were recorded by Marth Walsh originally of the Weather Girls ("It's Raining Men"). You couldn't tell it from the video because they had a model lip-sync her voice.

That's not to say that T&A wasn't used to sell records in the pre-video days. But it certainly looks like that its become more important than a good voice.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2002


dash_slot- sez:They say: Blender Magazine (June/July 2002 issue) says this about t.A.T.u.: "We have seen the future of rock & roll ... to say you've never seen or heard anything quite like it is a colossal understatement."

Blender says: "never heard of 'em....."

Hmmm....

dash, check out the article in the online issue of Blender.
posted by Tubes at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2002


KirkJobSluder must mean "twenty" when he says "few" in the last few years. Isn't it time for someone to say "I've got a promotional 12 inches for you baby" or something now?
posted by fncll at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2002


crnixon - The author of that Blender article obviously had some doubts about the girls' relationship. As he said, they are never seen kissing or holding hands when the cameras aren't on.

The fact that these 2 were picked from auditions of several hundred young girls makes the relationship thing seem even more suspicious ("We picked two girls for a pop group and they became a couple! How lucky for us!" I don't know...)
posted by Reggie452 at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2002


I uh.. just want to see them in the school uniforms.
Sombody wanna link to that? Please?
posted by dong_resin at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2002


dong: here's a good'un, although I'm actually more partial to this one.
posted by yhbc at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2002


What's sadder is the total obliviousness of this comment. Are you logging on from some kind of abbey or monastery?

So now you listen to your music based upon how sexy the girls that sing in the band(or are the band/group) are, luser?
posted by spidre at 2:49 PM on July 17, 2002


far be it from me to contribute to the supposed metafilter "boyzone" but is anyone else here just mesmerized by the redhead?
posted by GeekAnimator at 3:00 PM on July 17, 2002


The following link contains partial nudity. Click at your own risk. Now that that's over with,

Goodness.


I might go out on a limb here and say that I will probably buy tickets for the show if they come to Dallas.
posted by bradth27 at 3:23 PM on July 17, 2002


If you like your eye candy higher class.

And to answer Blender's question, Russia's age of consent for female-female relationships is 14.
posted by dhartung at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2002


Are there any females left at Metafilter?
posted by evanizer at 5:18 PM on July 17, 2002


Thank God for marketers. Man, if the US record industry put out acts like this no one would bitch about them shutting down Napster. I think it's great they are not really lesbians too, they are just waiting for the right man to come along.

Hubba-hubba

posted by DragonBoy at 11:54 AM PST on July 17

Crud, my &lt;misogyny&gt; tags got removed from that last post. :(

posted by DragonBoy at 11:54 AM PST on July 17


Wow. Classic Metafilter moment.

Jonmc: your link's mp3's aren't there! What a letdown...
posted by modofo at 5:27 PM on July 17, 2002


Heh. Promo is in full swing less than a week after I first heard about them coming to the U.S. Impressive.

I think they had a better hit song to translate first ("На� не догон���"), but I guess that one doesn't have such a sexually expressive video.

They are singing much more nasally in English than in the Russian version, for the obvious reason that they have to trade-off between vocal clarity and a thick accent.

They do have a lot of yet to be translated songs and remixes that sound harder and more interesting than All the things she said.

For the record, I like some of their songs because of good lyrics and good sound. I don't like their videos much, and I don't really care much about their lesbian image except for the part of it that lends them rebelliousness.
posted by azazello at 5:54 PM on July 17, 2002


I wonder if I can post readable cyrillics.

"Íàñ íå äîãîíÿò"

Matt - any plans for Unicode support?
posted by azazello at 5:58 PM on July 17, 2002


Are there any females left at Metafilter?

Sure. I just can't even get worked up enough to comment on the topic. These threads are all sort of jelling together in my mind - someone mentions lesbians/school girl uniforms/naked chicks/goth bloggirls, and then there are a whole bunch of comments from men that, in my mind, are basically indistinguishable from each other (the comments, not the men), and then someone links to pics and someone else links to more pics and someone else makes a comment about erections/boners/hard-ons. I'm not sure if there's been a comment about erections/boners/hard-ons yet. And there is always one really good comment that redeems the entire thread.

I'm just here to take notes on all of the things that insomnyuk is vowing never to do again. Today alone he's sworn off flying on commerical airplanes, and watching MTV. I'm keeping a list.
posted by iconomy at 6:10 PM on July 17, 2002


iconomy, don't be an unrul....

*strangulation noises*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:30 PM on July 17, 2002


Man...Pop met prodigy the day I was born, dude.

said it was the happiest day of his life...
posted by Bixby23 at 6:44 PM on July 17, 2002


Hmm... saddest of all is the length of this thread about what turns out to be a more-sexual-than-most 'cookie cutter' type pop band.
posted by clevershark at 8:38 PM on July 17, 2002


Well, that's MetaFilter for you. Sometimes it's pubescent Russian pop tarts, sometimes it's Dell boys.

Lesson to be learned here: People, of whatever sex or sexual persuasion they may be, who spend too much time in front of the computer, will eventually start to go a little nutso.
posted by yhbc at 8:55 PM on July 17, 2002


I started listening to them quite a bit a few months ago, and now pull out the CD every once in a while. Frankly, I can't stand their kind of music, or I couldn't if it was in English, it's just not interesting enough, but I love the Russian language, especially to music, and that gives them an advantage over all but really good music in English. I don't know if it helps or hinders my appreciation for them that I don't actually speak Russian at all.

When I first saw one of their videos, for Ya Soshla S Uma, shortly after seeing similar pictures to those posted above of them on stage in wet shirts and panties, well it disturbed me. It felt very, very exploitive, and frankly, I have no idea what Russia, or their families, or their contracts, are like in terms of them having options. I've never seen an interview, nor could I understand it if I did. Perhaps they are just having fun, singing and dancing around dry humping the air because they love it, and that's cool with me, but I just don't know enough to be comfortable with it. So I still listen, because it's really difficult to get Russian pop (for a decent amount of money) and they're almost all I have in that category, but I always feel a little uneasy doing so.
posted by Nothing at 1:13 AM on July 18, 2002


Today alone he's sworn off flying on commerical airplanes, and watching MTV

Heh, at this rate I'll be a monk by the end of the week.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:32 AM on July 18, 2002


Evanzier, I agree totally with your first statement. Well put, exactly what I was thinking.

Guys only drool over these type of "lesbians" and the "lesbians" in porn. When confronted by two "real lesbians" kissing each other that aren't there for the single purpose of turning guys on, guys usually run in the other direction. "Real" dykes aren't a turn on to men- as those women don't give a shit about men and don't dress up to look like a 12 year old schoolgirl to turn on men with their ultimate fantasy. And "real" lesbians sure wouldn't get a record or MTV playtime, just like Evanzier said.

These threads are so pathetic, yet I can't stop reading them. Kind of like watching a slow train wreck... I have to see which of the guys will outdo the other in their tasteless posts.
posted by aacheson at 7:32 AM on July 18, 2002


insomnyuk: Heh, at this rate I'll be a monk by the end of the week

Sorry, that name's already taken.
posted by Monk at 11:48 PM on July 18, 2002


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