Monday, March 15, 2010

What's the deal with Lady Gaga?

I have posted this query before, but as someone who loves music, I really am intrigued by the Lady Gaga phenomenon. Her name appears everywhere, but every time I hear one of her songs, I immediately have a stomach churning experience akin to that of watching the projectile vomiting scene from The Exorcist and then promptly reenacting it much to the chagrin of my friends. Now most of all pop music is garbage. Whether it' Katy Perry or the Jonas Brothers, it has a purpose somewhere in the world and obviously I'm no longer in the age bracket that this music is geared to. However, with Lady Gaga, there is a large population of adults that are into her. And don't get me wrong, her out of control sense of style and fashion is pretty out there and I'm sure the stage show is something worth seeing but for me all of that is lost when an integral part of a musical artist is missing: good music

You see, Lady Gaga's bombastic persona is all smoke and mirrors. Although akin to David Bowie, one of my favorite artists, she has all the flash and bang of a Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane, but none of the musical ability or talented band to back her up. And I know taking a jab at a pop culture phenomenon makes me sound like an old man, but when someones music is just plain bad, the pomp and circumstance falls flat on it's face. At least it should.

The long and short of it is that this is nothing new. It's the same pop music that has been around since the dawn of time. I just really wanted to understand the phenomenon beyond the visual side of it. I figured maybe she was more than Britney Spears or Madonna. Maybe she was pop culture and somewhat cutting edge but that's just all false.

The real icing on the cake was being shown the full length video for her track "Telephone." It's.... bizarre. I mean, it makes little to no sense. It goes all over the place and blatantly rips off of Quentin Tarantino (although you could say he blatantly rips off from movies, but this is just ridiculous.) It's over-the-top for the sake of it. And if I'm missing the social commentary of it all, then please tell me. I know it can't be subtle because there is nothing subtle about that video. From the Virgin Mobile close-ups to the "Pussy Wagon". I don't think I've seen anything as strange as that video. The write up of the video premiere in the following link is proof that the music doesn't matter anymore. It's all superficial and it all has to be made into an event in order to make it a viable... I don't even know what to call it.

Maybe I was bred to only like old music and maybe I'm just not hip enough to get it or this is the true sign of my aging process, but Lady Gaga as music is just something I don't get. If I'm at a club or a wedding, sure I'll dance to her music. But outside of that setting, is there really anything special about it? Shouldn't dance music be more versatile? Probably not, but I do enjoy my fair share of dancey music. An artist like Goldfrapp for example is equally as poppy and a little toned down but still flamboyant, but her music is far and away better. A song like "Oh La La" or "Strict Machine" is just as danceable as "Poker Face" or "Bad Romance." But since she's less of a persona, her music doesn't resonate on this side of the Atlantic. The other question at hand: Should I even try to understand Lady Gaga? No I shouldn't. My best advice was "Don't try to understand it" and although I tried to not get it, I still can't enjoy it. It just comes down to it being bad music with a flashy distraction.

What it boils down to is that maybe I am a craggy old bastard who just wants to know what youth, and more importantly my peers, are all going.... well... you can finish the pun.


Sara said...

Just a small comment... I wouldn't say that Telephone rips off Quentin... mostly because he helped her with the concepts. They had lunch, and he offered her the P*Wagon and said she "had to use it."

Paul Tsikitas said...

HA! Ok then! That I can be down with. It just seemed a little off putting watching it and seeing that. I was like "wait... is that the.... what the hell?!"

Thanks for the heads up. I guess I'm an idiot for assuming that. I tend to reel out of control on my ranty side.

CarlyV said...

I don't really get her either, but Fink has been trying to make me understand. I still can't get into her singles, but her random piano performances are lovely

see here: