TATU - BEYOND THE HYPE

ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO KNOW IN SPITE OF YOURSELF

tatu over europe

Tatu seems to be making inroads in the Western World. After topping the charts in Italy, Spain and England, the duo is now being aggressively promoted in Germany and the US. "All The Things She Said" was released in Germany in late January and it is already heading for the top of the sales charts.

The online edition of noted German political magazine "Der Spiegel" published an article on Tatu (using the official and clumsy t.A.T.u. spelling), titled "Lolita Sex and Lesbian Scam". The author is one "Edgar Klüsener".

The article begins with a descrition of their manager and executive producer, "Ivan Shapovalovs". According to the article, he used to be a child psychologist. The writer alleges that Shapovalov came up with the concept of Tatu while surfing child porn sites on the web. Based on this "research", he postulated the theory that there's a pedophile lurking in everyone -- and he decided to make some money from this theory. Quote:

"The master plan demanded girls looking as young as possible, with Lolita appeal and lesbian sex, exactly what lusty old men wish for according to Shapovalovs Internet research."

According to Der Spiegel, the name "Tatu" does not derive from the Russian spelling of Tattoo, but it stands for "This girl loves that girl". The Tatu girls are called "Volkova Yulia Olegovna" (age 17) and "Katina Elena Sergeevna" (aged 18). Furthermore, the article claims that Katina Elena has been studying psychology at the University of Moscow since 2001.

The writer of the article claims that "All The Things She Said" is successful only because of its controversial video. The quality of the song itself is somewhere "between mediocre and horribly bad", according to unnamed critics. The article offers a brief view on how other countries are dealing with Tatu: In England, other "fabricated pop stars" are frustrated because Tatu are beating them in sales. The US market is next.

In its concluding paragraphs, the article states:

"In the meantime, the girls can safely admit that both are actually thoroughly heterosexuals, that their boyfriends are waiting for them in Russia and that they understand the rules of the popstar game just as well as their cunning producer."

Analysis:

The article gets some basic things wrong such as Shapovalov's last name (I noticed at least two misspellings). That's just bad journalism -- which opens the piece up to further scrutiny:

  • Shapovalov's alleged masterplan theory doesn't explain why Tatu are so popular among teenagers, does it? (Even though it would be trivially easy to explain that one.)
  • The claims about Lena's psychology studies seems dubious. Does anybody have information as to whether Moscow University allows 16-year old girls to major in psych? (At best, she is sitting in on a course whenever she is not touring the world.)
  • You call that a controversial video? The writer only mentiones the lesbian kiss. Apparently he never heard about the original Russian version with the breast shot. (I'm not making this up.)
  • According to the article, Shapovalov came up with the Tatu concept after surfing on child porn web sites (!). Yuck! He could have simply read Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita", the novel of a Russian-born American about a man who obsesses about a prepubescent girl. And the spam arriving every day in my inbox is enough evidence for me that some men appear to be interested in lesbian sex. But Shapovalov had to look at child porn to reach his tired conclusions? Give me a break.

Link to the article:

www.spiegel.de/kultur/musik/0,1518,233807,00.html

It is accompanied by two photos: One is a color version of the photograph on the inner back cover of the CD, the other one a shot from the kiss scene in "All The Things She Said" with widescreen bars.

latest changes

03/02/16: press section created

other media sightings

To say that Tatu is controversial in their homeland is like stating that grass has a slight green hue. Apparently the tabloids are having a field day with Tatu, filling their front pages with scandals -- which may have been engineered by Shapovalov in the first place. Already they've been banned from performing live on stage in several venues, both in Russia and neighboring East european countries (Bulgaria among others).

There is a live performance video of "Mal'chik-gej" floating through the Internet, taped from MTV Russia. Lena and Yulia prance around in white cotton underwear and dark blue knee pads, simulating a bit of femdom and sex a tergo. From what little can be seen, it looks like the girls enjoy the public's reaction more than the experience itself. The gestures appear a bit tired, routine. The overall impression is amusing rather than erotic, even when Lena spills half a bottle of mineral water onto her top, making it go utterly translucent.

Europe

The UK's Guardian was suitably outraged at the obvious media manipulation taking place and went on to describe Lena as "a Mini Pops Tori Amos" and Yulia as "Winona Ryder if she shoplifted potatoes". Foaming at the mouth, the writer concludes that "Tatu shows the sad extremities of what middle-aged men will create in a bid to cause outrage." Apparently it worked.

United States

The US music magazine Blender was more charitable and titled its four-page article "We Have Seen the Future of Rock & Roll and Gulp! It's Two Teenage 'Lesbians' From Moscow". Apart from the piece's weaknesses in Russian geography, the article is rather friendly towards the duo. One gets the impression, however, that the writer is less than impressed and gives them little chance to succeed in "breaking" the American market with their sheenanigans.

If you read this, your browser doesn't seem to support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or you have disabled CSS support. This page should remain legible, but will not look as designed. The following browsers support CSS: MSIE 4 or better, Netscape 6 or better, Opera 4 or better.