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200 km/h in the Wrong Lane is t.A.T.u.'s debut English album released on December 10, 2002 by Interscope Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Not Gonna Get Us 4:22
  2. All The Things She Said 3:34
  3. Show Me Love 4:15
  4. 30 Minutes 3:17
  5. How Soon Is Now? 3:15
  6. Clowns (Can You See Me Now?) 3:12
  7. Malchik Gay 3:08
  8. Stars 4:08
  9. Я Сошла С Ума (Ya Shosla S Uma) 3:34
  10. Нас Не Догонят (Nas Ne Dagoniat) 4:22
  11. Show Me Love (Extended Version) 5:08
  12. 30 Minutes (Remix) 5:53

Album BackgroundEdit

Prior to the formation of t.A.T.u. Yulia and Lena had auditioned as members of Neposedy, a group produced by Ivan Shapolavov and his business partner Alexander Voitinskyi.

Shapolavov has said that the two girls stood out from the rest of those that auditioned; however, 14-year-old Katina was initially the only one chosen for the band. She sang "It Must Have Been Love" by Swedish pop duo Roxette and later recorded a demo release of "Yugoslavia" for the "1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia".

When both Lena and Julia were cast for the group (under the name 'Taty'), they began to record their first record. In 2001, the group released "200 Po Vstrechnoy", which became successful in Poland and Russia.

While the album was in development, their producer Alexander Voitinskyi left the production, leaving the album unreleased. However, Shapolavov later signed Elena Kiper as the new co-producer and co-writer for the album.

With the success, Shapovalov decided to sign the group to Interscope and its parent Universal Music Group at the headquarters in Russia.

The group started recording the album in Trevor Horn's home studio in London, England and having some recording sessions in Los Angeles, California. When t.A.T.U. was signed and ready for recording, both Yulia and Lena felt it was easy to understand the English language.

Yulia stated that Kierszenbaum helped her with pronunciation, while Lena was already speaking English before production of the album. However, during the times recording in studios, Yulia constantly lost her voice.

RecordingEdit

Katina commented on the collaborations, saying: "It was great [...] I think he was involved in some translations because we wanted to keep the meaning of the songs, and to keep the structure specifics. I think that Martin is a little bit of a fan of t.A.T.u, so he was really trying hard to make us big everywhere! We had an opportunity to work with great producer, it was valuable experience. I am talking about Trevor Horn. And in general, just imagine: Two girls are coming from Russia, which is another world compared to the USA, working with a high class producers and writers and management. Everybody is so professional. Working with Martin and Interscope in general brought us to an absolutely different level."

CompositionEdit

The music of "200 km/H in the Wrong Lane" is derived from a wide variety of pop and dance genres while heavily incorporating different musical styles not being present on their previous Russian record.

The album encompasses a broad variety of genres, such as electronic, rock, Hi-NRG and eurodance. It is considered that it is a departure to their Russian debut album, because that contained heavy europop, eurodance and techno influences.

According to Allmusic, t.A.T.u. have been known for "eurodance, europop, electronica and pop rock" music through their career. A lot of fans and, surprisingly, critics have applauded their mix of electronica and pop rock styles.

According to Discogs, the album is influenced by musical genres of electronic, pop, rock, europop, pop rock and balladry.

The first track, "Not Gonna Get Us" is a eurodance-inspired song, with influences of pop, dance-pop, and rock music.

"All the Things She Said" was the first single released, but the second track on the album. The song opens with dreamy, trance-gated synthesizers and then shifts into a guitar-based pop rock style with Trevor Horn's trademark huge drum sound.

The line, "I'm in serious shit, I feel totally lost" in the first verse would be sung normally in live performance; on the album, however, the word is censored and was completely removed in the music video.

The third single "Show Me Love" was released in Poland. The song was described as "neutral".

"30 Minutes" was later released from the album as the fourth single. The song has been described as a "slow atmospheric ballad".

"How Soon Is Now?" was the band's last single released from this album and was also the fifth track on the album. It is a cover version of The Smiths single of the same name. The song "is transformed by scorched synths, furious power-chords and Lena or Julia’s defiant roar “You Shut Your Mouth”, into an angry punka blast."

The song "Clowns (Can You See Me Now?)" was the sixth track on the album. The song was written by Trevor Horn, Ivan Shapolavov and Valeriy Polienko. It was also scheduled to be the last single, but this plan was scrapped.

However, for a promotional release, "200km/h in the Wrong Lane" was re-issued in their native Russia under the name "t.A.T.u. – Clowns." It has a synthpop and electronica style.

"Malchik Gay" (translated to: Gay Boy) is the seventh track on the album. AllMusic named it as an album highlight because the lyrics, which were written by their producers, had received a lot of attention. It is an acoustic song concerning homosexuality.

"Stars" is the eighth, and final original track on the album. The song "tries for smooth world-pop with an extended Russian rap, but doesn't linger in anyone’s memory after it's over."

Album Title\ArtworkEdit

The album's title was revealed as "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" which strikes a similarity to their first studio album.

In a documentary on the duo's DVD "Screaming for More", t.A.T.U revealed that the title of the album was to represent their imagery that was portrayed through the media and that the album represented a "dangerous" side to them. Katina also said of Volkova's dangerous driving that inspired the title.

The artwork and photoshoot off the album was shot by Sheryl Nields.

There are three official covers to the album. The international version featured both Volkova and Katina leaning of a motorbike, with Katina leaning on Volkova.

The Japanese version was shot with the duo in catholic school uniforms similar to the clothes they wore in the "All the Things She Said" video. Because the album issued music videos, a "G" rating was issued on the cover off the album physically.

The 10th Anniversary Edition of the album takes the artwork off "All the Things She Said" and uses the group's music videos to illustrate the border of the cover.

Chart PerformanceEdit

In the United States, "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" debuted at #36 on the Billboard 200. It then rose to #13, selling 51,000 copies in its second week becoming the best-gaining sales of that week end, staying in the charts for thirty-three weeks in total.

In October 2005, the album sold 760,000 copies in North America, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

As of a 2012 Niselen SoundScan update, the album has sold 831,000 copies there, becoming the group's best selling album there and was certified gold by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 500,000 copies.

The album debuted at #19 on the Australian Albums Chart on March 30, 2003, the highest debut of that week. It remained in the top 40 until its tenth week, where it dropped to #44 and stayed for eleven runs.

The album entered at number nine on the New Zealand Albums Chart, becoming the second highest charting album of that week and the group's only top ten studio album.

The album descended all its way to #38 and stayed at total of twelve runs through the chart.

In Japan, it has sold more than 300,000 copies in just two days, making them the most successful Eastern European act to have the most sales in a week. The album sold more than 13 million copies in the worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" received mixed reviews from critics. Entertainment.ie gave it a favorable review, awarding it three stars.

They had said "a teenage lesbian duo from Russia may sound like a marketing man's fantasy rather than a living, breathing pop band" and finished saying "Tatu's novelty value won't, of course, last forever. But for now, they're as entertaining as anyone in mainstream chart music."

Michael Osborn from MusicOMH was positive, saying, "Short it may be, but TATU's initial English language offerings are fresh-sounding pop songs of such a high pedigree, that this is an album which will be played to death."

They later talked about the girls being on top headlines about the controversy and he stated, "Ignore all the headlines - this intriguing Russian act has the ability to hit all the right notes with their music alone, and have more than just one mammoth smash to offer."

David Merryweather from Drowned in Sound called the album "the first pop masterpiece of the year" and encouraged people, "Don’t pretend you don’t care."

However, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic rated the album two stars out of five, first calling the band a marketing gimmick, and adding that the songs could not be fun due to leaning on "heavy, portentous Europop, badly sung by two cute girls with annoying squawks for voices."

Erlewine ended the review by saying, "With those relentless, gloomy beats and those voices that cut against the grain, it's easy to concentrate on nothing but the gimmick, because it's more fun to talk about Russian teenage lesbians than listen to this noisy, oppressive murk."

Todd Burns from Stylus Magazine awarded the album with a "D" rating, and gave it a mixed review. He said, "It's obviously pop product and probably not worth the money to buy, but certainly essential pop listening if only for the already European released singles." However, he was positive towards the single releases, calling them "phenomenal confectionary pop constructions."

PromotionEdit

Media portrayalEdit

When the music video of "All the Things She Said" was released in August 2002, it created an immediate media storm due to the lesbian kiss between the members of t.A.T.u.

The subject matter caused universal controversy, with many media outlets calling it one of the most controversial videos to date.

Media outlets, including MuchMusic, FHM Music TV, Virgin Media and The Guardian have regarded it as either a "sexy" or "controversial" music video.

William Leith, a publicist from The Guardian, published a separate article on how lesbianism never fails to appeal upon men. Leith commented, "the BBC ban on tATu's video, the fact that their manager, Ivan Shapovalov, has said some dodgy things about his marketing strategies, and that Richard and Judy have advised people not to buy the record. But the thing that really starts the conversation going is the mention of lesbianism."

He revealed that "So, here we go again. Lesbians! Phwoar! Eyebrows are raised. Sly grins are exchanged. The subject, clearly, is fascinating to us. We approve of it."

The controversy caused massive petitions to ban the single in the United Kingdom, with TV presenters Richard and Judy to back this, accusing the record label to create a lesbianism imagery.

They stated that "We are being told that these girls actually have underage lesbian sex in real life and we are being told by their manager that he spotted a gap in the market - a paedophile gap in the market [...] That's sick and it's wrong and personally I think Polydor should not be selling the record in this country. I think they should ban it, I think radio stations should take it upon themselves to ban it. This is going way too far. I think people should boycott the song and 90% of our viewers have said they will."

His wife (who supported the cause) didn't find the song itself or the girls the problems, but the marketing scheme. BBC (who reacted to the scheme) did not ban the video or music.

t.A.T.u. manager Ivan Shapovalov would be targeted for the band's sexualized image. After their manager admitted to portraying the girls as lesbians to market their music and aimed t.A.T.u. to create a sexual imagery for men who enjoy pornography, media outlets had criticized him and t.A.T.u.

Child protection charity had branded the group "disgusting and pathetic" and said that child pornography is not a laughing matter.

ITV banned the video from its show CD:UK, as producer Tammy Hoyle responded, "We could not show the video on CD:UK because it is not really suitable for children."

Despite banning the video, the group performed the song on many live performances including MTV, Top of the Pops and many more.

Reviews on the group's image were immensely harsh; the AllMusic review for "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane" labelled the band as a tawdry gimmick.

A writer from The Daily Telegraph expressed the music video as "cliched", while it "titillating on a very base and adolescent level, only serves to cheapen the song's lyrical impact. The video is also a sign of how blurred the line between entertainment and exploitation has become".

Tour DatesEdit

t.A.T.u.'s "Show Me Love Tour" was originally commenced in early 2003. In March of 2003, they announced dates for their "Show Me Love Promo Tour" in the United Kingdom. However the next month, the group dropped the dates and did not perform at the concert, due to poor ticket sales.

The concert was just days after the cancellation. BBC News stated that only a fraction of the tickets were sold for the concert and said the stadiums (held in London and Manchester) had around capacities of 10,000. A spokesman from their record label Interscope didn't understand why the cancellation took place.

In May of 2003, t.A.T.u.'s management were sued by the promoters EEM Group for the cancellations of the concerts.

EEM sued their management for £300,000, claiming that they put "unachievable and numerous obstacles" in the way of ticket sales for the shows. They also claimed that Yulia's illness was a reason for the cancellation. However, due to the lack of evidence, the lawsuit was discarded.

After the lawsuit, the group also cancelled their Asian-promo tour for Japan and China, due to Yulia's sickness, who needed urgent surgery. During that same month, the group postponed their German Promo tour, due to a late invitation to the 2003 MTV Movie Awards, where they performed.

The following month, they also cancelled their Riga concert and Japan concert in June, which led to a lawsuit from Pasadena Group Promotion, asking $180,000 in damages, as they didn't receive any official letters regarding the cancellation.

Live performancesEdit

Despite tour cancellations, t.A.T.u. performed in many associations. To promote "All the Things She Said", they performed the song on many television shows in the United States.

They first appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", where the girls created confusion, because they kissed each other without first having been granted permission to do so.

They performed the single on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, AOL sessions, MADtv, Carson Daly Show, TRL and the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. They also performed the song on shows in many other countries such as CD:UK in the UK and Top of the Pops in Italy.

10th anniversary editionEdit

In October of 2012, t.A.T.u.'s previous record labels Interscope Records and Cherrytree Records announced they would be re-releasing the studio album under the name "200 km/h in the Wrong Lane: 10 Year Anniversary Edition" as recognition of a ten-year anniversary from the original version.

The album contains a new song entitled "A Simple Motion", which is the English version of their Russian single, "Prostye Dvizheniya."

Back in 2008, there was an interview with the group where they said that there is still an English version of "Prostye Dvizheniya", but it remained unreleased; the song is the original 2002 version that was never released.

The album is remastered along with new remixes as well as the explicit versions of "All The Things She Said", "Show Me Love" and the extended version of "Show Me Love”.

The album features a new artwork that was taken from the 2002 era and was released with a parental advisory sticker on November 12, 2012. Not long after its announcement, new artwork was released on the Cherrytree website.

On September 17, 2012, just two months before the announcement, the album was already released on the iTunes Store digitally.

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