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Friday, May 14, 2010

More Reactions to Tarkan's Last Strike

Analysis by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

Tarkan Strikes Back

After I gave my initial reactions to the Tarkan track "Love's Last Strike", I have to say I didn't expect the email reaction we got at the blog - we nearly exceeded the limit for Livemail, which we have found out is 500 mails in a day. The site-feed stats have (literally) hit the roof.

So much so, that it has made me glad I use a pseudonym for my participation at Tarkan Deluxe. I used it at first, because I saw Tarkan as a guilty hobby to conceal from my press colleagues in the UK. But there are more Tarkan fans out there than I give credit for.

Fan Reactions

Now I'm glad I do so because of the actual fans. I have been accused of many things, between my "Will Tarkan Face the Axe?" article and my "First Reactions" post. I have been the subject of irate readers before, and I am aware my posts can cause controversy.

And I am appreciative that Ali Yildirim always allows me my freedom even though there is the risk it can negatively affect a blog he has built up in six years to be the definitive stop for all things Tarkan. The haters out there can deny it, but how many blogs such as this can count BBC workers as amongst its readers? Or other journos, too? The difference between Tarkan Deluxe and other blogs is that it's not just Tarkan fans that visit.

My audience is different, and so the language of my posts will always be. I'm not writing for fans, I'm writing my opinion. I can change my mind, if the facts call for it, and I can sure give praise where I think it's due, without being branded a hypocrite. If I was one, or if I was as bad as the Turkish media - as some have claimed - the founder of this platform would not let my posts through.

You would have to know Ali Yildirim, but I could be the main controller at the BBC, and if he thought I had crossed a line, he would let me know it.

Crossing Lines

And on the subject of lines, as more reports pour through from different mediums, it seems that Tarkan has crossed one, too. Right back into the limelight and adulation of the industry that has in part shunned him for nearly five years.

The tweets of Turkish gay celeb journos Oben Budak and Onur Baştürk are revealing - once using Tarkan as a punching bag for their bitchy posts (stubbornly still clinging to him "as one of their own") now it seems Tarkan is back on the pink ticket.

Tarkan bashing Baştürk has tweeted that Tarkan's teaser song was the right choice, and that there is "an amazing song" by Sezen Aksu called "Acımıycak" (his spelling), while Budak - having gone easy on Tarkan since breaking the Pamela Anderson news - gives a lot of tweet space to the new record.

In what will probably be a mimic to the public's general reaction in Turkey, Budak initially tweeted the song to be just a taster and for people not to be "worried" if they found it a slow start.

Surrendering to Tarkan Again

What follows in his tweets after that is a visible rise of excitement.

Budak first jokingly tweets to a follower that he is listening to the latest songs "at gunpoint", but says that the latest song isn't bad, just slow for a first release. In the space of a tweet, he then falls completely in love with the song, and retracts what he said before about it being "too slow" attributing it to an initial "panic".

Completely overtaken by the new songs, he even exclaims he is about to kill himself over a song called "Üşüdüm" by Aksu - it is that good.

In what feels like a case of the body-snatchers, he begins to tweet excerpts of the lyrics, talks about the Aksu song "Acıtmiicam" (his spelling) and that the song is "a ten star" album. Tweeting he has surrendered to Tarkan once again, he tantalises his followers by asking them to stop with the Tarkan questions, as he'll be giving his published views soon.

Another surrendering critic, is celeb-journo turned singer Ayşe Özyılmazel (is she looking to get signed up by HITT or grab a Tarkan song?) who has listed Tarkan as number one in her top 5 of newsworthy items for this week.

"I'm so excited about the new album after hearing his amazing interpretation of Aysel Gürel's lyrics. Congrats!" her quote screams at us.

Striking the Right Balance?

But can one song, or even a few tweets tell us much about a whole album?

I had written about Ek$i Sözlük in my last post - one of the biggest internet communities in Turkey with over 160,000 users - to state that in the first few hours after the release of Tarkan's radio strike the general consensus had been one of praise. Of course the negative reactions came in after that, though in the minority (it is referred to as "Sourtimes" after all).

Still, there are two interesting reactions to pick out from the collaborative hypertext dictionary, worth a comment not for merit but their back story.

First is the suggestion that this song was "a final stand in memory" to the late lyricist Gürel from Tarkan in paying his last respects to a great lady, while Tarkan's old webmaster Sertaç Pişkin has seemingly wrung some wine from sour grapes.

The creator of the previous unpopular official website at Tarkan.com with the Metamorfoz design, the web designer has left a comment at the reference site, which on first reading seems to grudgingly accept that the song is a "hopeful indication" of good things to come.

However, he believes the strain between the relationship of Tarkan and producer Ozan Çolakoğlu is showing, claiming the producer is tired from working with Tarkan, but adds that if the Aksu songs are better, Tarkan is back.

If the tweets of Budak are anything to go by, then back he is.

Alla turca Electronica?

In a report that quotes old (read: national treasure) Turkish diva Ajda Pekkan as saying that she really liked the album, she is said to have described the album's sound as close to electronic music (which Baştürk's tweets also seem to confirm).

If this is true, it would seem that Tarkan has stuck to his guns with Metamorfoz, but opted for a middle ground musically.

But Baştürk's tweets were critical of the fast tracks, which he described as a Metamorfoz/"Şımarık" (Ölürüm Sana, 1997) mix.

We shall see.

As a final aside: it's also interesting to see how most home reports have started branding Tarkan as a megastar again. When he was reported as a drug addict he had been demoted to singer in some reports, now that he is on the verge of making a huge comeback, he is the definitive Turkish megastar once more.

Of course that's just in the eyes of his domestic media. To his fans, he will always be a guiding light, pushing them through the good times and the bad.

The rest of us might not understand it, but we can see it, and are sometimes in awe of its mysteries, too.

Tarkan fans, take note.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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