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t.A.T.u. Are Going By The Textbook

20 years of the album “200 Po Vstrechnoi”

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the band’s first album t.A.T.u. – “200 Po Vstrechnoi”. The history of t.A.T.u. is, first of all, a success story in the international arena. None of the Russian musicians have achieved anything like this, either before or after. All the more surprising is the fact that no one has tried to release these songs in a revised and updated form to this day, when the tribute album dedicated to them was released. Boris Barabanov understood the reasons for this state of affairs.

In order to release a collection of songs by t.A.T.u., like any other group, the consent of all copyright holders was required. And that was the biggest challenge Lookport faced when deciding to release a tribute. The songs of t.A.T.u. have a total of at least 20 authors, and it was required to sign papers with each of them. It was even more difficult to organize a concert presentation of the album. The ex-producer of the group, Ivan Shapovalov, objected to it. One of the singers of t.A.T.u., Lena Katina, said last summer that, in general, she is not against holding a tribute show and even will allow the participation of the two members of the group, herself and Julia Volkova, but only with the consent of Ivan Shapovalov. However, it is still unclear what Volkova thinks about this, who this year was mainly engaged in a political career as a participant in the primaries from “United Russia” in the elections to the State Duma in the Ivanovo region.

At the moment there are two projects for a concert tribute, and one will take place very soon, if some kind of regular antique restrictions do not interfere. The album to which the tribute is dedicated is already available. The concert will not take place in the spring of 2022, as Lena Katina announced to the media, but on November 20.

The concert is on the poster of the Moscow Music Media Dome and its participants are the authors of cover versions included in the album “Tribute to t.A.T.u. – 200 Po Vstrechnoi “. Among them are Manizha, Monetochka, Danya Milokhin, Vera Brezhneva, IOWA, My Michelle, Dima Malikov and other popular artists.

Meanwhile, the co-author of a number of t.A.T.u. hits, Sergei Galoyan, said on social media that he was not going to give permission for a concert in which Lena Katina was going to participate in the spring.

In general, even from these twists and turns it becomes clear why, over the past 10 years, the members of the duo have appeared on stage only three times. Communication between the girls and with songwriters is not the strongest element of the team. But there is a tribute album, and it certainly deserves attention.

It includes 26 songs, not only from the debut album, but also later ones. Thus, this is not just a dedication to the album, but a tribute to the very phenomenon of t.A.T.u. – the only Russian pop project whose records are sold in platinum copies all over the world.

The album’s pivotal points were two versions of the song “Not Gonna Get Us”.

The first is performed by Alla Pugacheva and Sofia Rotaru. This version was created back in 2009 for the anniversary concert of Alla Pugacheva. By performing the t.A.T.u. hit, Pugacheva and Rotaru solved the main intrigue of the entire history of the Soviet music scene.

The theme of their enmity haunted several generations of compatriots, and now they are together on stage, and every line of the song is undoubtedly about them, and not about the teenage girls who once made it popular. The version of the two grand ladies of the stage has never been published on digital platforms, and now it has become available as part of a tribute album.

In the 2009 recording you can hear how much the performers have surrendered as vocalists, and in it there is an inhuman desire to continue living on stage, to cling to their fate and reign forever.

Another version of “Not Gonna Get Us” belongs to Danya Milokhin, a main Russian TikToker, one of the most popular media personalities in the country and the hero of numerous scandals. His appearance in an intersex image on the Muz-TV Awards provoked an inspection of the TV channel by Roskomnadzor for violations of the law “in the field of protecting children from information harmful to their health and development”. No less heated discussions flared up when Danya Milokhin arrived at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum as the face of Sberbank.

Pugacheva and Rotaru are faces of the past, Milokhin is purely today, and between them on the album there is a whole series of artists who annoy the public and its individual representatives. Manizha presented a mash-up version of “Ne Ver, Ne Boysia, Ne Prosi”, in which the t.A.T.u. song musically and ideologically rhymed with her own feminist anthem “Russian Woman”, with which she went to Eurovision. Monetochka, whose song “Childfree” with Noize MC was checked by the Investigative Committee for propaganda of suicides, chose the song “Malchik Gay”, which is a risky title for the present times. And just yesterday, at the suggestion of the Saratov children’s ombudsman, Roskomnadzor turned to the prosecutor’s office with a request to check the creative work of the singer Alena Shvets, who is on the album with the song “Obezyanka Nol'”, for suggested suicide. She is also a recent target of the “Male State”, banned in October, which organized a whole campaign to disrupt her concerts due to the alleged “LGBT propaganda”.

But even if the participants of the tribute are well-behaved and positive people from all sides, like Dima Malikov (instrumental version of “Not Gonna Get Us”) or Vera Brezhneva (“30 Minutes”), the songs themselves cause a reaction akin to the well-known meme phrase: What, we were allowed to do that?

Despite the fact that many of t.A.T.u.’s songs are not so bright melodiously and harmoniously, and you need to try hard to find the undiscovered musical depths in them, the album is important as a reminder that we actually had such times.

It was possible to play with the LGBT theme, and it did not offend anyone and did not “propagandize” anything. It was possible to go on the Jay Leno show on NBC in t-shirts with the words “f*** war”, and have the public in Russia be only welcoming to it. It was possible to shoot a video for a song about masturbation (“Prostye Dvizheniya “) and receive a Muz-TV award for it, and not a subpoena.

The history of t.A.T.u. is a story of creative freedom that anyone could use in the late 1990s and early 2000s and become a world celebrity. A “Tribute to t.A.T.u. – 200 Po Vstrechnoi ” – this soundtrack is not even for the biography of the band, but to a large historical period, literally from Pugacheva to Milokhin, in which the country has changed beyond recognition.

At the same time, the released album is not only a historical document, it contains intriguing musical solutions. These definitely include “Ludi Invalidi” performed by today’s world stars – the Belarusian post-punk band Molchat Doma. French singer Imany has provided her version of “All the Things She Said”, recorded with a cellist ensemble. Russian-American Polina offered a richly arranged indie pop take on “All the Things She Said”. The band “My Michelle” created, from a rather ordinary song in the original “Zachem Ya?”, an orchestral stadium anthem with an unexpected beat from Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch”.

Most of the musicians who took part in the tribute heard the songs of t.A.T.u. in their childhood or adolescence, and it is clear that the chance to rework them for such a project is actually an analysis of your own path in music and the things that have influenced it. Sometimes even very young people need to look back.

Source: Kommersant.ru