Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Does anyone remember that crazy Russian pop duo of a few years ago called T.A.T.U? Their name was supposed to mean 'this girl loves that girl' in Russian, and they were supposed to be, er, "lesbians." Well, they weren't, of course. It was all a publicity stunt. Most people, with perhaps the exception of really horny and naive frat boys, saw it coming a mile away. They had a pretty amusing video in which they made out with each other, and another video where they danced in silly little shorts and knee pads. The whole shtick was pretty transparent.
One of the girls had a baby last year, with her, er, boyfriend. So they had to publicly announce that they were not in fact gay, but were, in true Russian style, just following their leader -- Ivan Shapovalov, who is in the biggest of all ironies a child psychologist.
Silly controversy and pseudo-lesbian antics aside, I am really entertained by this band. They had a number of really great songs. Despite an English-language album called 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane, which they released a few years ago, their music is clearly better appreciated in the original Russian. They translate a bit like Shakira, i.e. poorly. What is likely beautiful in Spanish becomes in English some inane line about 'breasts like mountains.' Likewise with T.A.T.U. Their stuff becomes, well, irritating in English.
I'm really into this song called Prostye Dvizheniya (Simple Motions, if you must translate). The video is nuts. Just nuts. Part of it takes place in a bathroom where one of the girls is (presumably) masturbating, but we don't know for sure because we can only see her face. The other girl is sitting in a cafe drinking tea. There's a lot of heavy breathing and some weird, seemingly random black-and-white footage at the end. It was banned in a bunch of countries, but I actually think it's kind of beautiful in an art-film short kind of way. The whole thing is pretty sexual but also indirect and even a bit understated.
I also really like Skazhi Zachem, which has been (probably crappily) translated as Stars. It's a really neat, moody song with a lot of horns in the background, provided you get the original Russian version.
Shapovalov has to be credited for his cleverness, because most of their songs and videos are highly symbolic and by no means tacky pop-style dance numbers.
I may also be totally out of my mind for liking this band. I don't know. I proceed on the philosophy that I like what I like and won't be apologizing for it.
I ought really to get on with the day, or what's left of it anyway.