Sunday, October 04, 2009

Lady Gaga

Okay, enough about politics. Let's get to something truly serious- Lady Gaga. Claire and I have been disagreeing about Lady Gaga for the last year and it would almost be safe to say that she's tearing our family apart!

Claire pointed me in the direction of Lady Gaga a while ago and said that she could be the next big diva. So far, though, I'm just not inspired by her. I definitely like the performance art aspect of her stage persona (although, I can't be the only person to be reminded of Tammy the pop singer on Kids in the Hall), and I get that she idolizes David Bowie, Queen, fashion, queer culture, and Andy Warhol- or everything good, basically.

But, her music is so generic and insipid. Admittedly, I'm a big Madonna fan, and nobody ever understands that because her music can definitely be inspid and generic. However! Madonna's videos were pathbreaking works of art, and she's had a good number of songs, such as "Like A Prayer", that could be called pop masterpieces. And, while she's put out some real junk in recent years, whenever I've thought that Madonna was done, she put out something like Ray of Light (or Music for that matter) and I've reconsidered. Her videos really are lousy now, and her movies were never very good. But, at some point, for me, she earned her lifetime pass. Irrational though it may be.

So far, Lady Gaga has put out four singles that are all insipid and generic. I get that "Paparazzi" is catchy, but it also sounds like bad Brittney Spears music- or, in other words, Brittney Spears music. She actually started by writing songs for other performers. She has written songs for Fergie, Pussycat Dolls, New Kids on the Block, and Brittney Spears. In other words, some of the worst music written in the last decade. David Bowie might have written some schlock in the 1980s, a decade in which he made one wonder if he should have gotten off drugs after all! However, he didn't really start to decline (in my opinion) until fourteen albums into his career, and he has since redeemed himself.

Lady Gaga has more visual flair than 100 other performers, and certainly likes all of the right things. I could see her third album being great. But she needs to write lyrics that are a lot more interesting than "I love this record, baby but I can't see straight anymore." I think the problem is that pop performers now believe that we want to hear about their stupid lives, and really, we don't. Yes, Bowie wrote about pop music and fame, but it was filtered through really bizarre sci-fi imagery- in the lyrics as well as the performance! Queen wrote mini-operas about everything but Freddie Mercury's life. Pop singers now seem to believe that pop music can be no more challenging than songs about how they want to be rich and how it's fun to dance to music, and they're wrong. They need to listen to Rubber Sole or Pet Sounds, or Hunky Dory. Or even Like a Prayer.

In other words, she needs to put some of that creative energy into the lyrics and music, or there's going to be nothing in her albums worth returning to. Because, otherwise her equation is going to be insipid songs + crazy costumes, which basically equals KISS.


clairev said...

my friend...when did we disagree about this? i just think she has potential. perhaps. her allegiance with perez hilton is fairly distressing, but maybe that's smart of her.


Holly said...

I know it's shallow as all hell, but her name puts me off so much that I can't bear to check out the music.

Rufus said...

Claire: I'd agree that she has potential. Maybe the next album will be her True Blue.

Holly: I understand. I check these things out so others do not have to.

gregvw said...

I'm dimly aware of her existence... which rankles me. I guess that didn't surprise anyone.

Rufus said...

Somehow, I think it would be disappointing if it didn't rankle you.