Sunday, April 01, 2007

Following a tip from Guy, I have just got my hands on t.A.T.U.'s best-of compilation. You remember t.A.T.u.: that Russian pop group with the two girls who have dubious claims to lesbianism and outer-space travel. The album seems pretty good - even their ultimate display of disregard for the sacred in pop history, their cover of the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?", works somehow.

In any case, I did some background reading. The Wikipedia entry about them is startling. Accordingly, I would like to present some highlights. First, about their choice of image:
Ivan Shapovalov and his friend Alexander Voitinskyi developed plans to create a musical project in Russia. Many stories have been told about Shapovalov's purpose of creating the group, and he even admitted to UK's The Sun in February, 2003,
I saw that most people look up pornography on the Internet and of those, most are looking for underage sex. I saw their needs weren't fulfilled. Later, it turned out, I was right. This is the same as my own desires. I prefer underage girls.[1]

With this idea in mind, Shapovalov organized auditions in Moscow during late 1999, specifically for teenage female vocalists.

Secondly, on the origins of their paean to persecuted Sapphic love, "All The Things She Said":
Their first single was released very early in 2000, entitled "Ya Soshla S Uma" ("I've Lost My Mind"). The song describes the turmoil in a girl's soul because she is in love with another girl, but is afraid to as she has the society frowning upon her and asks her parents for forgiveness. Elena Kiper has been credited with the song, and has said that the idea came to her when she fell asleep at her dentist's office, and had a dream in which she kissed another woman. She woke up with the words: "Ya soshla s uma."
A surprising summary of one of their later video clips:
Early in January 2002, the girls began recording their English album first in England, then in the United States. In April, it was announced that Elena Kiper had left the group as co-producer, and that she was being replaced by Beata Andreeva, a former MTV VJ. Later in April, the girls recorded the song and video for "Prostye Dvizheniya" ("Simple Movements"). The video was then released in May and showed, according to the girls, "How simple moves are always in our lives, like drinking water, reading a book," which is what Katina does during most of the video, or masturbating, which is what Volkova is doing.
And quite excitingly, they have amazing plans for 2007:
During the group's press time in France, Yulia announced that the group had plans to begin filming their debut film about the love between two girls that meet at one of t.A.T.u.'s concerts. The script is based on a novel called "t.A.T.u. Come Back" written by a deputy of the Russian Parliament, Aleksey Mitrofanov. The movie is titled In Search of t.A.T.u., and is expected to be released in the same time period of the 3rd album.
The good pop drought of 2007 might lift, in other words.