Monday, March 12, 2007

La la la la la

Do you ever learn something that makes you feel like your understanding of pop music has been shaken to the core? That's how I felt when I first found out that ATC's absolute classic "Around The World (La La La La La)" was actually a cover. Of course, I had to hear the original, and was intrigued enough to want to hear more from the group that originally created the song--if they could come up with this, what else had they done? As it turns out, the group in question, Ruki vverkh (Руки вверх, which translates to "Hands Up"), has done quite a lot, with a back catalogue running from 1997 to 2005. The group broke up in 2006 (I think--I don't speak Russian, so please correct me if any of this is wrong), but member Sergey Zhukov released a solo album in 2006. At some point, I do want to answer the "what else have they done?" question, but I think their original version of "Around The World" is a good place to start.

Pesenka--or Песенка, which apparently means "Song" (though I've seen this referred to as "Song No. 1," probably because there are later "pesenka"s). I wish I could be like Pinkie and give you the history of how this song ended up being used by ATC, but I truly have no idea. What really surprised me the first time I heard it was how similar this version and ATC's are--save for the language, there's not much to distinguish between them (there are some things--the song's length, for example). Given that most people are so familiar with "Around The World" and (among any readers) are English speakers, I imagine this will probably mainly have novelty value for most people, but they definitely have more music worth listening to.

As usual, I have pretty much no idea where you can buy Russian music (any recommendations?), but you can buy some of Ruki vverkh's albums (though not Sdelay pogromche, or Turn Up The Volume, which this song comes from) from marketplace sellers on Amazon.

Next up: maybe France.


kevin said...

Thanks for coming up with this.
Actually I can tell you a lot about this Pesenka, which I respect highly.

It was not a big hit here in Russia, where RV had DOZENS of dance pop chart toppers. But this is definitely the first example of the Russian song which made it to the European charts as a cover.

And the secret is just in inventing an original move in the chord progression, the 4th chord in C major. Like in chess, you win if you propose a novel way.

As you can hear, the song features a female vocal although the group is male with Sergey who mades 99% of vocals. Yes, it was done by almos anonymous guest singer, I can find her name (maybe Lisa?) but don't have enough motivation for it :-)

And it was before T.A.T.U. and stuff.

I'm very disappointed with the end of RV in 2006, as they announced their massive stadium concert, postponed it for 3 months, and finally canceled. But I was lucky to see them live two years before.

In the ex-USSR they are famous for their simplistic yet very catchy pop songs "for ordinary people", with lyrics about boy and gal, dull rhymes. Their signature line which everyone here laughs on is:

- Now I'm 18, so kiss me everywhere!

And that's so Ruki Vverkh-ish.

Speaking of covers, I once heard that Italia's Haiducci (known for Dragostea Din Tei fast covering) remade RV's "Mne S Toboy Horosho".

PinkieDust said...

PopEatsPop Russian STYLEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

not as good as the cover...

Paul said...

good lord, thats a lot of information to take in first thing in the morning ;)

Poster Girl said...

Oh, Kevin, thank you so much! You've given me so much more information than I ever expected to have about this song and about the group.

I thought of you when I was writing this up ;) If this was a Pop Eats Pop post, though, it would've had more information about how the song was passed along...your histories are always fascinating!

And Paul, yes, it is, but I love it--my knowledge of Russian music in general, let alone Ruki Vverkh or this particularly song, is sorely lacking.

kira lea said...

it has taken me a couple years to track this information down! i once borrowed a friend's mix cd with all sorts of tracks that she had gotten 3rd hand from another friend and didn't know anything about how to find the music again. her mom wrecked her car and broke the cd in the process. i thought i'd never find out the origin of ATC's Around the World song sung in (well now i know it's russian) a different language. i thought it was slavic. anyway, this info is sooo helpful! thank you, kevin, for helping us out!