t.A.T.u. is a Russian dance-pop duo fronted by Volkova Yulia Olegovna (Julia Volkova) and Katina Elena Sergeevna (Lena Katina). Assembled by a former TV-commercial producer named Ivan Shapovalov, the two girls released their debut single "Ya Soshla S Uma" ("All The Things She Said") in 2001. The name t.A.T.u. is inspired by the word "tattoo," and the duo is sometimes called "taty" in Russia. (See below for the reason.)

etoile says re t.A.T.u.: FWIW, the group isn't called "taty" - that's their name in Russian. The Cyrillic letter that looks like "y" is pronounced "oo" - hence tatOO, or tatY.

ed note — I am leaving my comment about "taty" in the writeup because some people had asked what it was supposed to mean, and because the mix up occurs on other online sources also.

Thanks etoile!

The group would probably have been considered unremarkable were it not for the fact that the girls play the part of genuine Lolitas—though Julia was born only in 1985 and Lena in 1984, they already flaunt an ambiguous sexuality, publicly proclaiming to be lovers and performing in sheer (SHEER) underwear. The video for "All The Things She Said" features the two girls making out while wearing schoolgirl uniforms—in the rain. Needless to say, they have generated a huge amount of controversy in Russia, which has not hindered (and has probably contributed to) "All The Things She Said" winning MTV Russia's Video of the Year award.

Julia and Lena met in the children's pop group Neposedi, though Julia was asked to leave the band in 1998 for “misbehaving and molesting other band members." Despite the gratuitious emphasis placed on the girls' sexuality, Lena insists that "Our songs are not silly, t.A.T.u. is more sincere, more honest about ourselves and others. We don't shape ourselves for the audience. In Russia, life is not polite. If we don't like something, we say we don't like it. If we don't agree, we say 'fuck you.'"

Their music is synthy, dancey electro-pop, and the fact that Trevor Horn, of the Buggles, Yes, and Art of Noise (and Belle and Sebastian!), is working with t.A.T.u. on an English language version of their debut album, "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane," gives them a surprising amount of musical credibility.

Just so you know, because I am SURE you are wondering, Julia is the hotter of the two (IMHO), looking like a younger (slutty) Björk, while Lena looks like freaking Little Orphan Annie. A slutty Little Orphan Annie.

"t.A.T.u. is about saying what you feel, not what others expect," says Lena. "Be in love. Be yourself. We are."

The full video for "All The Things She Said" can be found at http://www.tatugirls.com, the group's official website, and more info and a large gallery of slutted-out photographs can be found at the group's unofficial English-speaking fanpage: http://www.taty.us.

Yes, I realize this is a badly disguised excuse to "research" t.A.T.u photo galleries. As the Russians say... "fuck you."

This instance of lowest common denominator noding brought to you by raging teenage hormones and long Russian winters.

No more votes, thank you! This should NOT be my highest rated writeup! Thank you.

MALTP says re t.A.T.u.: Actually, the Russians say Пашол на хои.

Female Russian europop duo notable more for their sexual orientation than their music, comprising of Julia Olegovna Volkova (born 1985) and Elena Sergeevna Katina (born 1984). t.A.T.u. are lesbians. They are also attractive looking teenagers. Got it? Good because that's about as deep as it gets.

Assembled after auditions by Ivan Shapovalov, a former TV-commercial producer, their debut single, "Ya Soshla s Uma," (All The Things She Said), gained them international exposure on MTV (Top Five on the most requested videos chart). Shapovalov apparently devised t.A.T.u. after spotting a gap in the market, claiming they are an "underage sex project" designed to appeal to men in search of "underage entertainment". This has of course caused moral outrage in British tabloids as they have recently released All The Things She Said with an accompanying video consisting of the two girls wearing school uniforms while kissing and fondling each other in the rain. Apparently the girls are lesbian lovers in real-life engaging in underage sex, although whether this is merely part of the dodgy marketing ploy remains to be seen. British Daytime TV gurus Richard and Judy have stepped into the media fray to represent the moral majority calling on radio stations and record shops to ban the single, branding their record company "sick" for supporting their "open paedophile message".

Clearly this is a case of marketing gone mad. It goes without saying that t.A.T.u. are all about gimmick and fairly low on musical proficiency, although the single "All The Things She Said" sits quite comfortably among much of the less conspicuous chart nonsense on musical grounds, being a relatively competently devised pop tune with only mildly grating vocals. In support of the notion that "any publicity is good publicity" the single is set to rocket to the no. 1 spot in the UK charts.

In this noder's humble opinion the incessant fuss about the moral corruptness of this phenomenon does the duo more credit than they deserve. Afterall it's nothing new for a pop act to be sold on a gimmick rather than their music and surely this is, in a sense, a natural progression within the pop world. It's not so different to Britney Spears' musical debut but is perhaps more honest than the pure and virginal image promoted in order to pacify the moral majority of the time. However, the likely success of t.A.T.u. is perhaps a good indication of the moral confusion prevalent in a society manic in its paranoia regarding paedophilia yet mostly passive in its opposition to the sexualisation of children. The view presented in the Chris Morris' Brass Eye Special (a satirical faux documentary aimed at paedophilia induced hysteria in the media) appears less ridiculous by the week.

Nothing in their video is likely to particularly shock anyone but the most prudish or homophobic by itself but many are likely to be offended by what appears to be a crude and offensive marketing ploy. In fact I feel kind of dirty and used having just written this. Sorry.

Sometimes you have to listen to little girls yelling in foreign languages to appreciate how wonderful the yelling of little girls really is!

Passport Paul
101 Things To Say That People Will Misunderstand

To really appreciate these girls, you are going to have to listen to them in Russian. The english language versions of their better songs are passable, and follow all the rules from The Manual, but they have one minor flaw. That flaw is the lyrics. The ability to understand what these little girls are yelling about only detracts from the musical experience. Maybe it is just because translated lyrics never come out that great. Or maybe it is simply because you don't need to understand.

Early on in the history of humanity, music was probably almost completely vocal. Our Paleolithic friends didn't have guitars, saxophones, or pianos. Maybe they had a few cool bones and rocks that made some decent noises, but I wasn't there so I can't tell you for sure. But what I can tell you is that they did have the human voice, without voice lessons or microphones.

There is something about hearing these girls sing that brings me back to that time. I can close my eyes and all the houses, cars, computers, and every facet of modern society will vanish. Instead of two little girls in a studio, I imagine a dark forest at night, a campfire, and singing the way it originally was. This imagery works particularly well with their faster songs, "Nas Ne Dogonyat" actually brought me to tears when I thought about it that way.

The Image

A lot of people seem to have a real problem with the fact that these teenage girls are being presented in a highly sexual manner. "They are just children!" Well, Mother Nature, God, and countless generations of humanity are all laughing at those people. Teenage girls are the most sexual thing on the entire planet, and there is nothing you can do to change that. All the rules of society cannot change the fact that human beings are mammals, and that mammals reproduce the minute they are able to. All the Age of Consent laws will never change the fact that human males are genetically coded to prefer younger mates because they are more fertile, and can theoretically produce more children in a lifetime. One hundred years of "Civilization" isn't going to change natural feelings, it just doesn't work that way. So, don't worry too much about the "sexual" image these girls are putting off, it is far more natural than whatever it is that Britney Spears is doing.

Then there is the whole "Lesbian" thing. I researched this a bit, and this seems to mostly be a fabrication. t.A.T.u is manufactured pop, a band that was fully planned before the members were even selected. This group was a pair of "hot lesbian teens" before it ever even had any members. The girls simply signed a contract, and have done what they have been told to do (including losing a lot of weight for Lena, and a change of hair color for Julia). Russian fans seem to almost unanimously claim that the lesbian thing is an act, and it is said that their onstage kissing seems forced, and totally unemotional. Basically, they just don't seem to be into it at all.

One other minor detail I wanted to talk about was the quote about "molesting other band members" that keeps popping up in reference to Julia. Now this sounds terrible, but remember something, she did not say that in english, it was translated from Russian. I am betting it was just a case of a bad choice of words for translation. Today the word "molest" seems to be almost completely reserved to be "diddling children". But that isn't what is in the dictionary, the dictionary says "To trouble; to disturb; to render uneasy". So basically, Julia got kicked out of the other band because she was annoying.

Video reviews

I was able to find four different music videos (five if you count the English version of Ya soshla s uma).

Ya soshla s uma (All the Things She Said)

This is the one that everyone is talking about. The girls are behind a fence in the pouring rain wearing schoolgirl uniforms. They alternate between singing, kissing, and trying to break through the fence. The other side of the fence is populated by a huge mass of people who are carrying umbrellas and looking at the girls with disapproving looks on their faces. The video next transitions to a section where the girls stop trying to break through the fence. They instead join hands, begin smiling, and walk away from the fence. The camera pulls back in a way that suggests that it is the girls who are truly free, and the people behind the fence are the ones who are trapped.

Nas ne Dogonyat (Not Gonna Get Us)

This one is my absolute favorite. It is a story of escape, of freedom, from the world and everything. It begins quickly showing the girls have been booked into jail. They escape when they are supposed to be boarding a plane, steal an eighteen wheeler and break through the wall. From there they are on a perfectly straight snowy Russian road. They eventually get out of the cab of the truck and climb on top (while it is still moving, with no one driving, and from the looks of it, they really did this to film the video). The whole thing is filled with powerful imagery. It is too bad that they didn't pick this one to be their "big song", as it really is a better song.

Prostie Dvizhenia

The video for "Prostie Dvizhenia" hops back and forth between extremely sexual imagery of Julia moving her head around in a bathroom, and of Lena looking angsty at a restaurant table. The video has a false ending, and then comes back strong with a lot of black and white video clips interposed with what was already going on. Then the clips get stranger, shagging chipmunks, someones bare ass getting slapped (yes, this video has nudity in it, all of their videos do, except for the "Lesbian" one), and other stuff like this. This is a decent fast dance track, but can't compare to "Nas ne dogonyat" or "Ya soshla s uma"

30 Minute

Julia simply shines in "30 Minute", she shows a bit of acting ability in addition to her singing talent. It begins in the girl's bathroom at school, and alternates between there and a carnival. Julia is in the bathroom setting up a bomb (yes, really), while at the carnival we see a forlorn Julia looking on while Lena makes out with a hot guy in the middle of the Merry Go Round. In the end Julia blows up the Merry Go Round (and apparently Lena and the guy as well), no happy ending in this one.

All four of these videos are available at their official Russian site, which is located at www.tatu.ru. Might as well download them, they are free.

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