The Best Soviet Pop Song You’ve Probably Never Heard

I apologize in advance if you have the words “American boy, American joy, American boy for always time” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

1. In the late ’80s, the girl-group Kombinaciya was basically the USSR’s Bananarama.

Their look was saccharine girl-power with some serious ‘tude (check out the scowl on that one girl in the middle!). Much like with their Western counterparts, teased hair and windbreakers abounded.

2. In 1990, they released their greatest hit, a balalaika-heavy power ballad with a devastatingly catchy (albeit grammatically incorrect) English chorus, called “American Boy.”

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As its title suggests, the song is about a Russian girl who’s unhappy in the motherland and dreams of an American boy to whisk her away to the land of capitalism and Coca-Cola. “American Boy” captured the imagination of the Russian public in the midst of the Soviet Union’s tumultuous collapse. It was such a big hit, it even made the mainstream American news.

3. The song has had some serious staying-power. In 2009, the Ukrainian electronic group Stream put out a house-music remix:

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Untz Untz Untz.

4. And, in what is by far my favorite legacy of the song, Russian President Dimitri Medvedev was caught on video in 2011 gettin’ down to “American Boy” at a college reunion:

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Medvedev is the short guy in the grey suit shakin’ it like he just don’t care.

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