Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lady Gaga Rant

I've heard people say that you either love Lady Gaga to the point of obsession or you hate her. Well, I'm in the middle. I don't love her. I don't hate her. I don't love to hate her. I don't hate to love her. But somehow, while being indifferent, I still have strong feelings about her and her music. I am passionate about my indifference towards her because I expect more from her. This is best explained through my official Lady Gaga rant:

First of all, I worship Freddie Mercury and Queen. Under Pressure is the greatest song ever. Fat Bottom Girls is brilliant and I adore Radio Ga Ga. So for Lady Gaga to have an allusion to Radio Ga Ga and Queen in her stage name actually turned me off at first. No one can ever be Freddie Mercury so why even try. By having Gaga in her name made me think she was trying to be like Freddie Mercury (which I still think but more on that later) and I would have none of that.

I finally softened towards her mostly due to Bad Romance. That song is just so gosh darn catchy. Bad Romance was everywhere and I was pretty okay with that. Lady Gaga was one of Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People. Everyone was talking about Lady Gaga. Fine. I mean this type of thing happens every once in a while. Everyone talked about Britney Spears. Then we didn't. Then we did. For a while Miley Cyrus was everywhere. It happens. I can't blame everyone for overexposure.

Then came the Telephone music video. Before this I had known a couple people who were obsessed with Lady Gaga. For some reason, it was this music video when people started going crazy over Lady Gaga. And I just don't understand it. Whether I agree or not, I just don't see why lots of people are acting like Lady Gaga is the greatest pop star ever. I don't always agree with trends (like zebra print- what's with that) but I usually can understand them. I understand the Twilight obsession. I don't agree with it but I understand it. I just don't get the Lady Gaga obsession.

Her songs are admittedly superficial. Especially Telephone. The video does not make up for the song's lack of depth. Not that the song needs to have depth. Some songs don't and that's all right. But looking at Lady Gaga's inspiration and her obvious talent, why aren't we getting better music from her? Sure her over the top persona is enough to make her relevant now, but will it be enough to give her a place in music history.

Lady Gaga does not deny that she has many inspirations. In my opinion, she seems to draw inspiration from Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Elton John, Madonna, and Cher among others. She has an over the top persona. She dresses in outrageous outfits. She can be so over the top and outrageously dressed because of these people that came before her. She also has the talent. But she lacks the depth that these other artists have or had. At least, at the moment. Not every song that these artists have released has been deep. I mean Fat Bottomed Girls is just a fun song. I acknowledge that not every song needs to raise philosophical questions. Well, here's a philosophical question for you: what does a song need to do to be memorable? I say it needs to have some depth or be way too fun or both. Give me something half as brilliant as Radio Ga Ga. I know you have it in you, Lady Gaga. You're getting there with Bad Romance.

Let's talk about irony. After the Telephone video came out, I stumbled upon a conversation in which Lady Gaga's irony was praised and a claim was made for a riot grrl tone to the video. Okay, first I need to comment on this riot grrl claim. Um... no. I'm way too young to have lived through the riot grrl movement. I was about 2 when that started. The people involved in this conversation were 2 years older than me. Honestly, I think what they really meant was Girl Power. I have a theory about people supporting Girl Power in a round about way by calling it riot grrl (which is an entirely different movement from the Girl Power movement) because they're too embarrassed to actually support Girl Power because it's too girly and not grrly enough, but I'll save that for another post. Anyway, I don't think the Telephone music video could be considered riot grrl because the song is superficial. If the song was about domestic violence and getting revenge for it rather than a song about not being able to answer your phone because you're on the dance floor with a drink in your hand, then it would be riot grrl, but alas it is a song about being on the dance floor with a drink in your hand so you can't answer your phone.

All right, on to the irony. I don't think product placement can ever be ironic. It may be intended to be ironic but if CocaCola is paying money so that their cans are used as curlers in Lady Gaga's hair, then it is not actually ironic. The prison guard on Plenty of Fish was random and unnecessary and probably cost Plenty of Fish a nice chunk of change.

Mama Cass said make your own kind of music. Now that's ironic because when she sings that it sounds like a song that Petula Clark, Judy Collins, or Dusty Springfield could have sung. Despite that actual irony, Mama Cass has a point. Why sing something that anyone else at this time could be singing? Everyone is doing dance hits or songs about partying now. Lady Gaga has obvious talent. I expect more. She can still write fun dance hits but give them more depth. Cher has done plenty of these. So, I leave you with this:

Slightly, off topic: Someone needs to remake Labyrinth with Lady Gaga as the Goblin Queen. How awesome would that be?

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