Dangerous and Moving (The Pitt News)

Time of publication: 02.11.2005
Rocks Like: Abba (with teeth)
Relationship takes a turn for the best

Three years ago, a pair of teenage Russians dressed in Catholic school girl uniforms burst onto the American music scene going 200km/h in the Wrong Lane and raised eyebrows with their pop anthem to lesbian love and persecution, "All the Things She Said." They were Tatu (a play on feminine Russian demonstrative pronouns translated roughly as "This female acts upon that female"), individually known as Lena Katina and Julia Volkova.

Since then, a lot has happened with the Tatu girls — most notably, they outed themselves as fake lesbians, something long suspected as a PR ploy set up by their manager at the time. Now after all that time spent in the tabloids and away from the recording studio, the Tatu girls are back with their sophomore English language release, Dangerous and Moving, an album that seems a mixture of the real lives of Lena and Julia and the stage personas that made them controversial.

After a brief intro of the title track, which actually is the last track on the album, Dangerous and Moving opens with "All About Us," an us-against-the-world anthem in the same vein as "All the Things She Said" and "Not Gonna Get Us" from the first album. The song tries to silence the media hype and rumors concerning their sexuality, relationships, disputes and drug use that followed the girls after their emergence, letting the world know that they are still together and as strong as ever.

Though they have stated publicly that they are not in a relationship, they still play the part, to a degree, for much of the album. They subdue many of the lyrics so that their friendship is stressed over physical love or else looking back to 2002 as if that were a time when they were together but have since fallen apart. Many of the songs follow a theme of reconciliation between Lena and Julia and their fears over possibly having lost one another’s love.

"Love Me Not" and "Friend or Foe" stand out as the most sexually ambiguous of this type and are two of the best tracks on the album, aside from "All About Us," the true hit, with the Lena and Julia transitioning between light poppy harmonies and angst-filled, metal-like shouts.

In many of the songs, Tatu returns to the synthetic techno pop rock that filled much of their last album. Songs like "Perfect Enemy," "Sacrifice" and "Dangerous and Moving," while containing no deep lyrical value, are carried by their sheer catchiness, the alto harmonies of Lena and Julia and the dance club quality of the beat.

Tatu include one song in their native Russian on the otherwise fully English album. With a steady rhythm and passionate vocals, "Obezyanka Nol" (Monkey Zero), a song about being caged for their love and reminiscent of the "All The Things She Said" video, is powerful enough to have most English-speaking listeners emphatically shouting "I’m Monkey Zero, You’re Monkey Zero" in Russian without even understanding the lyrics.

Several guest musicians also make appearances of Dangerous and Moving with Sting lending his bassist skills to the song "Friend or Foe," which was penned by David Stewart from The Eurythmics. Also performing on the album is Richard Carpenter, of The Carpenters fame, doing arrangement and conducting strings on the Backstreet Boys-worthy tune "Gomenasai" about lost love and regret.

While Dangerous and Moving comes with the same general teenage pop rock feel of their first album, it is clear that Tatu used the interim period between the albums to mature and refine their sound. Their lyrics are deeper and their use of techno rhythms takes a backseat to vocal harmonies. They give enough vacuous pop and hyped pseudo-lesbianism to appease fans of their last album while hinting at a more serious sound that may emerge in the future.

The album cover to Dangerous and Moving seems to tell their tale. It shows Lena and Julia looking at a chalk body outline on the street. Perhaps after going 200km/h in the Wrong Lane it’s time for the girls to step back, look at the problems that moving at such speeds has brought them, look at themselves and move forward.

Rating: 4,5 stars out of 5

Michael Boyles
The Pitt News,
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