Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Lena Katina – Never Forget



Brad Shoup: A cracking book could be written about t.A.T.u.’s brief swipe at the pop landscape, from the singers’ start in the kids’ group Neposedi, to an idea germinating in the mind of a Russian child psychologist, to the deliriously tasteless MTV Music Awards performance of “Not Gonna Get Us” that gave Ashton Kutcher and Diddy a case of the vapors. In between, you have rain-soaked videos, controversy cut from whole P.R. cloth, and an arranged quote-teen-lesbian-unquote partnership belting out shrill on-the-run anthems, one of which actually was a hit in the Euro-agnostic American market of the time. Alas, t.A.T.u. was all meme and no material, and the schoolgirl pyramid crumbled after a handful of English-language singles. Clearly, we’re now in the poignant exile period. A brooding rock ballad with big bottom-end, “Never Forget” is probably intended to function as a farewell to former partner Yulia Volkova, but actually sounds like Evanescence karaoke night in Quezon City. The ascending, processed phrases at the end of the verses are a nice baroque touch, and there’s a pleasing amateurism to the whole affair, but that’s kind of a problem when we’re more than 15 years into a pop career.

Katherine St Asaph: This could be the new Evanescence single, had they siphoned some of Amy Lee’s vocal fury into the track. Apparently, that constitutes fixing Evanescence.

Jer Fairall: Blustery and shallowly melodramatic in the mode of many an Evanescence or Paramore single, yet Lena lacks the shrillness of either, her voice fluttering over this shambling beast of a track rather than pummelling along with it.  Commercially speaking, she missed a bet by releasing this between Twilight films.

Michelle Myers: Ironic that this is so forgettable.

Alex Ostroff: This is a decent post-Clarkson pop-rock number, and Lena deploys some sweetness of tone in the verses, but the lightness of her voice — an asset when intertwining with Yulia’s in t.A.T.u. — is a huge disservice when set against the weight of the chorus. Drowning in a sea of guitars could have been emotionally affecting, but instead I’m left with the impression that her feelings can’t even measure up to the force of her musical surroundings.

Alfred Soto: For almost a minute I liked its leisurely plod, especially when Katina’s pure-pop voice measures the distance between plush and prole, then says “fuck it” and goes for high notes I’d expect on a Kate Bush single. But the verses promise, the chorus reneges.

Edward Okulicz: Shorn of the sexual (and later, psychological) drama that steered the first two t.A.T.u. albums into the highest echelons of trash, “Never Forget” pulls all the right moves to be a denouement of the story which started with “All The Things She Said,” and simultaneously the start of a new era. But great pop that tells a story shouldn’t always answer questions; it should leave some open, or else it’s just for the singer rather than the fan. The power ballad guitars raise a smile but the lifeless singing and bromides deflate the experience considerably. The elements are there, but there’s no thrill.

11 Responses to “Lena Katina – Never Forget”

  1. “all meme and no material, and the schoolgirl pyramid crumbled after a handful of English-language singles. ”

    Well they released quite decent albums long after that. Didn’t pay this one much attention when it was released, but I really like it now – certainly the appeal is much the same as it was with t.A.T.u.

    In the spirit of never forgetting, here’s a recent single tagged “remember t.A.T.u.” from JP group “Brand-new idol Society”

  2. I dunno, I wasn’t too taken with Veselye Ulybki. Like, not at all. Anyway, that record barely made a ripple westwise.

    I can’t believe I forgot to bring headphones to work; once I remedy that I will eagerly check out the video.

  3. Waste Management had a handful of worthwhile tracks on it – I’m very fond of the Transformer remix of “Running Blind”, and as well as that “Snowfalls” is worth anyone’s time. Lord knows why they thought “Sparks” was a single though.

    I really like Dangerous and Moving though, that’s a really underrated album.

  4. t.A.T.u may have never released an album as good as “All The Things She Said”, but the sidebar to the left is not short of acts who have never released a single as good as “All The Things She Said” – a little perspective, please.

  5. mat-

    Thank you. That was wonderful.


    Gonna have to disagree with you (and probably a few others here) on the quality of “All the Things She Said” – great chorus, that’s about it. But that’s my perspective; I understand others’ will differ.

  6. I think it is funny how people I never heard of ( I assume they have some kind of importance since both their first and last names are used) think they have the ability to critique so harshly since Lena is more known then they are.

    I have more standing then them. Having degrees in Film production, theater, live stage production and digital media allows me to see the artistic value in this video rather then the sterotype of the 16 year old Lena.

    This video clearly is not being critiqued for the quality and talent of this video but instead it is being critiqued for what Lena did in 2003.

    The concept of this video is perfect. It is a smart way of showing that ‘tatu is dead’ Lena katina of tatu is dead but Lena Katina solo artist is moving on, into the light. The technical aspects are great, the lighting, camera angles, wardrobe, set design. The audio was well mixed, instrumentals, lyrics, background vocals between the verse and the chorus are well edited and sound amazing.

    Remember she is an independant artist. Money is limited. So therefore so is promotion which is why she may appear to be ‘unknown’. The fact that an independant artist can have that many viiews on her videos and facebook fans around the world is unheard of.

  7. Christina, we did not review the video, we reviewed the song. Most of us probably haven’t seen the video.

    Also, tatu has been dead for half a decade. We didn’t need a video to figure that one out.

  8. Ah Christina, many of us were t.A.T.u. fans who actually LIKED what she did in 2003. Methinks her devoting her first solo single to making a statement of the death of her previous entity is a waste of those limited resources you speak of.

    It’s fine to make a cheeky reference in a video (see Geri Halliwell’s “Look At Me” as an example) but as the subject of your first single? Waste of potential buzz as far as I can see.

  9. Disagree on “All the Things She Said” being their best — track for track Dangerous and Moving is a far superior album, and some of the best on that (“All About Us,” “Friend or Foe,” the title track, and especially “Cosmos”) rival “ATTSS” and are better anything else from the first alb.

  10. t.A.T.u. POX apart from the three big English singles (“All The Things”, “Not Gonna” and “All About Us”)

    Friend Or Foe
    Loves Me Not
    Obezyanka Nol
    Running Blind
    Show Me Love
    Dangerous And Moving
    Ne Ver Ne Boysia

  11. I think their debut is the best and the Russian version even better because it features the dirty vodka party haze of Ya Tvoy Vrag, missing on the English version. One of my favorite albums, really.