t.A.T.u. Just Broke World Record 18 Years After Releasing All The Things She Said
The controversial hit song All The Things She Said by Russian duo t.A.T.u. has just broken a world record – 18 years after its release.
In the accompanying music video, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova famously kissed in the rain while wearing schoolgirl outfits. Yet in the 2003 documentary Screaming for More, which followed t.A.T.u. behind the scenes, it was revealed that Volkova and Lena Katina were not actually lesbians.
The video caused controversy in a number of countries because of the lesbian relations depicted, leading to accusations of ‘queerbaiting’.
Here’s a little reminder:
As per Pink News, queerbaiting is ‘a term which refers to authors, writers, or showrunners (etc) attempting to attract an LGBT audience by hinting at same-sex relationships between characters, though they’re never actually consummated’.
Despite the controversy, the global hit will now go down in musical history for an additional reason.
As of January 17 2020, it is the only song performed by a Russian group to reach platinum status in the UK, after it surpassed 600,000 units being sold, according to figures published by BPI.
At the time of its release, All The Things She Said landed the top spot in the UK charts on February 3, 2003, and spent four weeks at number one.
While most songs in the charts die a death over time, All The Things She Said hit the news cycle again in 2014 when Volkova incited further controversy when she revealed she would condemn her son if he were gay, despite saying she wouldn’t mind if her daughter was a lesbian.
‘Two girls together is not the same thing as the two men together,’ she told a Russian TV station. ‘It seems to me that lesbians look aesthetically much nicer than two men holding her hand or kissing.’
Compounded by these undeniably homophobic comments, the music video is now widely recognised an an example of how straight people working in the music industry can get representation so wrong when ignorance towards LGBTQ+ issues meets a desperate attempt to catapult young performers into the spotlight by fetishising an entire community.
Katina and Volkova were part of children’s music group Neposedy before being managed by producer and director Ivan Shapovalov and then signing with Russian record label Neformat.
Of their manager’s misguided artistic direction, per Buzzfeed, Katina said:
He made us out to BE lesbians when we were just singing FOR lesbians. We wanted people to understand them and not judge them. That they are as free as anyone else.
It’s also worth noting their home country of Russia passed a law banning ‘gay propaganda’ the year before the two band members made these comments.
Their 2001 debut album 200 Po Vstrechnoy was a commercial success in eastern Europe, which lead to them being signed by Interscope Records to release the album’s English language equivalent, 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, in 2002.
In June 2016, the notoriously iconic video for All The Things She Said became the first Russian music video on YouTube to be given a Vevo Certified Award for reaching 100 million views.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, or email [email protected]