All About Us (cduk.co.uk)Time of publication: 02.10.2005
|To the best of our knowledge, Russia is a vladi scary place to live right now. As far as we can tell, every second person is a mafia monster, a muscle-bound psychopath who'll shoot you dead as soon as look at you. And the others? They've just been shot dead by the first bunch.|
Add to that, the country's soaring class divide, and the kind of (how to put this on a family website?) physical commerce which makes Victorian London look like an away-day in a monastery, and it's all too clear why Tatu are the most exciting pop act we've experienced for years.
It's because Tatu – like their motherland – are unbelievably dangerous.
And we mean that sincerely. Tatu honestly give us the impression that they could have us killed. Compare that with… say, Girls Aloud, who – at the very worst – could inveigle us into a situation where we might have to make regular payments to the Child Support Agency. Or The Pussycat Dolls, who could just about blind us with the steely glow of their over-bleached teeth. Or the Sugababes, who could possibly sulk us to sleep. None of them can do what Tatu do so effortlessly: scare us.
Forgive us for getting all "it were all hills around here" but, once upon a time, lots of pop music was like this – dangerous, uncompromising and brutal. Pop music was a threat. Pop music scared your parents. And, whereas nowadays the most exciting thing a popstar's likely to do is perform a costume change, popstars actually used to change the world. And they did it by adopting the first rule of any revolution: there's YOU and there's THEM. And (unless it involves crowbars and molotov cocktails) never the twain shall meet.
Which is entirely what "All About Us" is about (and, for that matter, Tatu's two other genius singles, "All The Things She Said" and, especially, "Not Gonna Get Us"). As the lyrics slowly reveal themselves – timed out one word per line, like some kind of slow-moving tank attack - it's spelled out pure and simple, in black and white: "If / they / hurt / you / they / hurt / me / too." And they're not just talking about some fictional relationship; they're talking about US (the young, free people) and THEM (parents / government / all forces of authority). Make no mistake: this is fight music – and its simple sophistication makes most punk rock protests look like the juvenile flailings of a teething toddler.
Why is this so important? Well, it's important because, at long last, pop has starkly come to terms with the fundamental ground zero of teenage emotion: they're out to get me and no one understands – without resorting to whiny Kevin The Teenager grumbling. It's articulate, it's powerful and it's got a melody so cold and sturdy you could cross the Siberian tundra on it.
No wonder the tabloids were up in arms about Tatu all those years ago. It's nothing to do with girlie snogging. And it's nothing to do with dodgy marketing. But it's everything to do with teenage independence and a stone-cold refusal to listen to your elders. They're right to be afraid. And you're right to be excited.
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