NYUSHA - VOSPOMINANIE
Free Pussy Riot. I mean, here’s some rather excellent Russian pop.
Sabina Tang: Rachel Stevens’ baby driving his car (hey!), or Kylie’s na-na-nas at the wheel of her yellow De Tomaso Mangusta: a steely electro-house glide down the raised expressway of a glittering European metropolis. The detailing is spikier, and so is the affect (Nyusha trades in dramatic hair tosses and sultry werewolf scowls over two years’ worth of effective singles in this vein), but it’s good to know my favourite mid-00s chart sound is a permanently available loanword in the global pop vocabulary.
Katherine St Asaph: If Ladytron and The Knife joined forces to conquer pop and asked Jessica Folcker to do vocals. Just trust me that this is an excellent idea.
Edward Okulicz: Despite how much pop comes out of Russia, little Russian-language pop has crossed over into the Anglosphere. This is as good a candidate as you could hope for, and in a better world this would be busting charts outside Eastern Europe as well as inside it; it’s brimming with ideas and glides effortlessly despite its harsh edges. So much of this kind of electro-pop does nothing more than go “lol 1980s” but “Vospominanie” is sleek and futuristic, and light years catchier than its English-language equivalents — everyone should erase Calvin Harris’ number from their phones and chase down whoever produced this. Far too good to be considered just a curio.
Jonathan Bogart: The other week, I had occasion to visit the Russian pop chart. This was one of the most nagging melodies that I encountered from that visit, so much so that when the song came up for blurbing I had a hard time remembering just where I’d heard it before. Was it underscoring some ridiculous commercial? Had I visited some club frequented by Eastern Europeans? The combination of extravagant melody and hard-bodied dance still works like gangbusters, though.
Will Adams: Sits uncomfortably between The Knife and the good parts of Bionic. Neither are bad references, but I wish it had reached a complete synthesis.
Patrick St. Michel: Chilly futurism, synths and laser blasts that by themselves sound a little too stainless, bordering on creepy maximalism. Nyusha, though, adds warmth to the track via her singing, especially when she goes full-diva come the chorus.
Iain Forrester: There’s a set of beeps in this song, the ones that come in with a sort of vacuum popping effect and have a resultant feeling of weight and importance to go with their sonic pleasure, that are perfect. Add lots of variations on similar, smashing glass noises, some “Beez in the Trap”-style sonar ping beats and some cool vocal effects, and there’s more than enough for “Vospominanie” to get by on production thrills alone. It doesn’t need to, though, because there’s a hooky and well-performed song there too, and each complements the other.
Anthony Easton: Maybe a little too much going on, but being overstuffed without falling into chaos must result in some points. Extra ones for the disco lasers.
Brad Shoup: Maybe I got the right translation: if “I am now your memory/Maybe I was your message” is admissible, then so too might be the idea of relationship as disease vector. The sequencing burbles; Nyusha’s R&B sighs break the surface from time to time. She scarcely allows herself a pause, which is just how I tend to process bad news: quickly and maniacally. I’m hoping the abrupt ending means the process is finished.
Haven’t been blurbing much on TSJ (mostly because my writing has been execrable when I do, no lie), but had to get off my butt for this one, which was so good it sent me down the Eastern European chart pop Youtube k-hole as periodically happens.