Wednesday, 27 January 2010

7: T.A.T.U - All The Things She Said

"It's not the song, it's not the girls themselves, it's the way their manager has admitted that he's marketed them as under age entertainment."
Judy Finnigan

The furore over the video for T.A.T.U's debut single was front page news in Britain, especially when Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan described the song and its video as "sick" and "paedophilic entertainment". In response, T.A.T.U's fans managed to garner 26,000 signatories on
a petition to defend the group's right to free speech and freedom of expression. What gets my goat is that the history of pop music is littered with examples of acts being marketed at a younger audience. That lesbian kiss in the video was controversial, but how would banning the video have helped? What message might that have sent to sexually-confused teenage girls? The BBC saw sense of course, denying that they ever had any intentions to ban the single. Ban Richard & Judy, that's what I say.

Thankfully, the nonsense spouted by Britain's least-loved TV presenters only served to raise the song's publicity, not that any such profile boost was needed. The song went straight to number one, sold over 2 million copies, and, worldwide, was the third biggest selling single of 2003 (behind Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' and Black Eyed Peas' 'Where Is The Love'). And T.A.T.U went on to represent Russia in Eurovision (which itself spawned further controversy, after they were narrowly beaten into third place, with Russia alleging vote-rigging).

Put simply, 'All The Things She Said' is classic early-Noughties pop/rock. A powerful tune - the immediate precursor to songs such as Kelly Clarkson's 2004 smash, 'Since U Been Gone' - and lyrics (by Trevor Horn, and clearly designed to provoke) combine to produce a fine "troubled teenager" protest song. It's the most gimmicky entry in my Top 10, but since when was popular entertainment any different? And frankly, it still sounds listenable and fresh nearly a decade on, as clear a sign as any that this song was right on the money, in every sense.

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