“200 kmh in the Wrong Lane” By t.A.T.u.

by Nathan Hall

Almost every single piece of press devoted to t.A.T.u. heralds them as America’s first mainstream dyke pop artists. Did I miss something here? Where exactly does that put lesbian music pioneers such as Sleater Kinney, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Ethridge, k.d. Lang, Sinead O’Connor, and Jill Sobule? Perhaps what the corporate media should be focusing on instead is the fact that both members of this Russian lipstick-lesbian duo are roughly seventeen-and-a-half years of age.

True, it is endearing to see these MTV darlings proudly flaunting their European background (they’re metric system proponents, for God’s sake!) rather than melt into American banality once they hit our shores. Regardless, I do not have the faintest notion why we are allowed to peruse the steamy illustrated liner notes with a clear conscience, while Pee Wee Herman is off somewhere rotting in a jail cell.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is nothing more than soft-core porno with a decent beat behind it. Perhaps that’s not surprising considering that t.A.T.u., which is a Russian acronym for “this girl loves that girl,” was created by the Eastern Bloc’s version of Maurice Starr. Lecherous former psychologist and advertising exec Ivan Shapovalov obviously saw a market for a racier version of (insert pre-pubescent flavor of the month girl group here) and cashed in big time.

Getting Trevor Horn, best known for his work with the Pet Shop Boys, to produce the album should inestimably help the duo’s homosexual following. The Internet rumor gristmill alleges, among a great many other things, that the girl-love act is a marketing ploy and that both have received death threats for their outspoken GBLT-rights stance. Although the music may be predictable Euro-pop, it’s always encouraging when anything vaguely progressive sneaks past Clear Channel. Moreover, judging by the disturbing recent activities on the sexual-orientation-discrimination front by sexually frustrated Puritans down at the State Capitol, perhaps a couple of enchanting sirens could help turn the tide. Now that would be one for the musical history books.

Nathan Hall welcomes comments at [email protected]