is another project by Arina Bulanova and David Deymour, created
in 2020. It proved very successful and the track “Malchik na devyatke
“ (“Boy in a VAZ**-9 car**”; 2020, the Propaganda album) has so far gathered more than 26 million views on YouTube. The summer of 2021 saw the release of Dead Blonde’s second album Knyazhna iz Khruschevki (“
Princess from Khrushchev-era [shabby] house”), which cemented Arina Bulanova’s status as a rave princess. The album cover features all the attributes of the early accumulation of wealth in the post-Soviet era: checkered bags used by shuttle traders, a bouffant hairdo and excessive, trash glamour style in her clothing.
The listener will not find any exact musical quotes or references in Dead Blonde or GSPD tracks. Although they evoke familiar images from the 90s, there are no direct quotations. What we are dealing with is not intertextuality, but the desire to find and encapsulate an archetype/myth that combines the most typical and recognizable features of the 90s era. What is characteristic of metamodernism is not citation, but appropriation.
It is a recycling of the ruins of meanings, and the aim is not to return to these meanings (in a neo-modernist or post-modernist style), but only to immerse oneself in them for a while, to delve into them and stay there.
The life-affirming drive in the GSPD and Dead Blonde projects is intertwined with melancholy, and the understanding that it is all about ghosts and the rustle of a world that is gone forever.The 2020s as the new 90s: remembering what you never knew
Contemporary cultural recycling actively borrows visual and musical material not so much from the realities of the 1990s, but from the cinematography of that period. The interest in the 90s is purely aesthetic: young artists, musicians and directors have no desire to live in this heroic time of change. Arina Bulanova in an interview
emphasizes that the modern rethinking of this period is absolutely medialized:
When I try to analyze my love and craving for the ‘80s and 90s... I understand that... I really like the music, culture and broad attributes in the past and most likely this is because I did not live there, I know about it from the best that has come down to us. I know this from pop culture, mass media, from some amazing cult movies... and I understand that... I don’t really like the 90s, I just like the way it looked and I want to look like in the 90s, listen to music like in the 90s, but I don’t (f*cking) want to live in the 90s. When David [her partner Deymour] was born, there were tanks driving around the city.Yuri Saprykin
also notes this “cinematic-ness” and “photogenic-ness” of the 90s:
For Russian cinema, the 1990s have become what the Prohibition was for late 20th-century Hollywood: a time where one does not want to return but that is extremely interesting to film.
A well-known example in this context is Monetochka’s track ”90s
“ (2018) and the music video
for this song, based on iconic images from Alexei Balabanov’s film Brat
, 1999). In the “Malchik na devyatke
” video, scenes from Brat
are subjected to ironic subversion, while in the “Sasha Bely”
track, Dead Blonde talks about her love for the bandit from the cult TV series Brigada
, 2002), played by Sergei Bezrukov, and she dreams of becoming the killer’s wife.