Reviews Comments: When will gimmicks just die?

When will gimmicks just die?
The sad thing is, she's actually a musician. I mean, with Britney Spears it at least made sense that they needed to do something to distract you from the fact that she can't sing or write or anything. But Lady Gaga can, so why doesn't she just do that. Why don't all these musicians just go back to making music?

When I buy an MP 3, it doesn't make me enjoy it more to know that the song is being sung by someone who wears her hair in the shape of a diaper. Honestly, if I didn't have to know the names of good musicians to find good music, I wouldn't. I don't care about the image or the personality. I don't understand why anybody does.

Its really the only thing that bugs me about her and its not even specifically her. She's not even remarkable in this regard. She's got nothing on Marilyn Manson or even Insane Clown Posse.

Lets all form a pact here and now that we're not going to allow ourselves to be exposed to anything about a musician other than the music they produce. No music videos, no MTV or E! (everyone on the internet is reading this and finds me highly inspiring right?)

One positive thing though is we're turning a corner here on sex sells. Ten years ago, that was still catapulting music stars to the top because back then porn still took a while to download at 56Kbps. Lady Gaga seems to be the proof that the music industry has at least figured out they need to be trying other gimmicks.


Gimmicks won't die unless people stop buying into them.
comment #4878 23rd Oct 10
Exactly. She doesn't let go of the gimmicks because she knows people wouldn't pay any attention to her without them. And Britney can't do anything? Britney used to be able to dance her ass off, and her stage presence was phenomenal. You may not care about gimmicks, but everyone else does.

Marilyn isn't relevent now, and ICP is underground, that's why they're not being talked about.
comment #4897 soojinyeh 25th Oct 10
Nothing on Isane Clown Posse? Have you heard their music? They are terrible, and to compare them to Lady Gaga is a huge disservice to the lady.

And no gimmicks? Why? Why are you bothered by something that's entertaining? Why does it matter if they don't just sit on the stage with a guitar and warble out tunes. Elvis Presley was great because he put on a hell of a show, same with The Who, Aerosmith, Run DMC and other groups. Music is theater, I don't see how that's a problem, especially since Gaga's weirdness doesn't eclipse her talent.
comment #4914 Phrederic 25th Oct 10
comment #4915 Phrederic 25th Oct 10
There's no talent to eclipse, in the first place.

Her lyrics make absolutely no sense, and half of her songs sound the same. It's just commercial, party music like what so many other musicians do.

She is custom-tailored to appeal to the brainless masses. The reason why she does better than the competition is that she is a freak, and (stupid) people have the habit to mistake ridiculous and outrageous for creative.
comment #4918 26th Oct 10
No talent? Have you seen that girl playing and singing live? She's talented. She's not perfect, but she's talented.
comment #4924 soojinyeh 26th Oct 10
The fact that she is a good performer does not make her a good musician. In fact, she sucks as a musician.

Following your logic, I should be able to enjoy Gaga's music if I'm watching her sing and dance at a concert. However, if I'm listening to her songs on my iPod, at home or anywhere else, when she is not there to perform for me, her music is gonna suck all the same.

Broadway and the circus are good places for performers like her. Let those with some musical sense and song-writing talent work in the music industry.
comment #4932 27th Oct 10
Like who exactly? Who is more creative than her? Who is a better musician than her? And why, all I hear is "I don't like her" which is fine, but you're outright calling her bad. Just Dance does not sound exactly the same as Bad Romance, and if you'd listen to the lyrics they do tell a story.
comment #4937 Phrederic 27th Oct 10
If it was ALL about theatrics, then she wouldn't be doing so well on iTunes. She is vocally strong and can actually hit her notes (unlike, say, Taylor Swift live). If you're going to claim that she sucks as a musician AS A FACT, you might want to try backing that up with something more credible than "I think she sucks."
comment #4941 Byemus 27th Oct 10
Not that I should worry about somebody who admittedly can't even decipher the lyrics to any of her songs, such as "Just Dance" or "Bad Romance." Protip- the titles are a hint.
comment #4942 Byemus 27th Oct 10
your opinion is not a fact also if she sounds bad on your ipod then why is she on your ipod? simply put don't listen if you don't like there are tons of artists i dislike but i don't go around listening to them and then bitching about how bad they are

Lady Gaga is a talented musician and artist you might refuse to see it but it's true true she isn't the most talented but isn't it just stupid to compare who is more talented

comment #4943 ExorciseTheGirl 27th Oct 10
Uh...that's kinda why we have reviews in the first place. So people can discuss things and either warn or recommend people to or off of certain works. I understand what the OP was going for, I just don't get why target Lady Gaga? I mean, she's hardly the only drama queen of a performer.
comment #4951 Phrederic 28th Oct 10
Above troper you used "don't like don't listen" wrong, this is the reviews page, this is where they're SUPPOSED to give their opinion, and nobody is required to like her, you don't have to lie about disliking her. I disagree when they say she's untalented (though some of her lyrics are kinda off), but that person has a right to express their opinion.

You're taking this a bit too personally though, disliking Gaga is not a personal attack on you.
comment #4956 soojinyeh 29th Oct 10
Exorcise The Girl, I didn't even say I thought she was a bad musician. Her musical talent is merely unremarkable. So Okay Its Average. In fact, I complimented her actual musical talent as a springboard to complaining about her gimmicks.

Phrederic, you're absolutely right, this is a fairly random musician to choose to make this complaint about. Selling personality over talent is nothing new in this industry, she's just the straw that broke the camel's back for me so, yes, I singled her out as an example of what I find annoying about this type of performer.

I'm just tired of people trying to shock, or offend, or outrage. Its so obvious.
comment #4981 gibberingtroper 31st Oct 10
Thing is, musicians wouldn't be doing this shock strategy if people weren't buying it.
comment #4982 31st Oct 10
She's talking about Byemus, not you gibberingtroper.

Thing is, musicians wouldn't be doing this shock strategy if people weren't buying it.

THIS. People always wanna complain about musicians and their focus on looks, gimmicks, etc. but they don't understand that a musician's job is to sell records and make money. A label doesn't drop you cause you can't sing, they drop you if you can't make money. Musicians concentrate on gimmicks and looks because they wanna be successful, and that's what people spend their money on. No one gave a damn about Gaga back when she was normal, so she came up with this marketing strategy so she could be the superstar she wanted to be. I think she's a marketing genius; she knows just how to create controversy and make people talk about her and be commercially successful at the same time. And it's not like she's untalented-she's good, but there are millions of people out there just as talented as she is-they're just not smart enough to market themselves like she did.

And now everyone's standing back like, "Dammit, I wish I could've come up with that before she did".
comment #4983 soojinyeh 1st Nov 10
If you don't like it, go vote at the record store. The music industry will start focusing on talent over gimmicks/looks when people start BUYING INTO talent over gimmicks/looks. They're just trying to give people what they want. And by looking at these peoples' outrageous sales, it looks to me like the public WANTS gimmicks/looks over talent.

People say stuff like, oh, I hate singers who are more looks than singing ability...but when it came time to vote at itunes and etc., they all went to vote for Rihanna instead of Jennifer Hudson (who is flopping). If you guys would buy records from people who are talented and ugly instead of the people who are gimmicky/good looking, labels would start signing more of them and start focusing more on talent than anything.
comment #4984 soojinyeh 1st Nov 10
Another thing about Gaga is that her songs are intriguing, as opposed to Love Song #235038 you have Bad Romance, which sticks in your mind. Maybe Love Song #235038 is better written, but it's less memorable. Being able to stand out and dominate pop culture like she has is a talent.
comment #4990 Phrederic 1st Nov 10
FYI, I'm pretty sure Exorcise The Girl wasn't talking about ME either. It was directed to the anonymous commenter ( who was talking about Lady Gaga sucking "as a fact" and listening to her on his iPod.
comment #4995 Byemus 1st Nov 10
Where to even begin? To all the people bashing (read, mainly the anon) her and saying she can't write music: please go read at least a little bit about music structure. Yes, I know that was pretentious, but ignorance of that kind just pisses me off to no end. You don't like her voice? Fine. You think she's gimmicky? Fine. But to say she can't write songs or sing? That's just bull. Anybody with a brain could tell you she can sing (even if it isn't their preferred style), and not just in the generic "Glee" form. Anon and others, you do realize that writing a pop song is actually VERY hard? It's much easier to just write some rambling rock song with a loose melody, rather than a strictly formed pop song that can standout. And that is exactly what Lady Gaga does. Many artists have to get somebody like Max Martin to completely write a song for them; Lady Gaga does not. Also, just to add to this: while her fashion is gimmicky, her music videos are most certainly not. They're art; Mind screw-y Tarantino-esque (see: Post Modern) art. They're exceedingly well directed, edited, choreographed; full of various symbolism and gorgeous cinematography.... Oh yeah, and would the whole sex thing even be part of the conversation if this were a male artist? No. No it wouldn't.

I don't even really think I addressed that to the OP, but whatever. I needed to get that out of me in some place that wasn't youtube.
comment #7300 Hammerhead 18th Apr 11 (edited by: Hammerhead)
By Tarantino-esque, don't you mean BLATANTLY RIPPING OFF TARANTINO?

(As an aside, Tarantino is a terrible artist. His films lack vision and inspiration. I laugh along with the others at the Pulp Fiction hamburger scene, if only because it's the culturally acceptable, gimmicky thing to do. Another gimmicky, culturally acceptable thing to do? Say that Tarantino is a post-modern genius. In fact, I'd wager that the phrase "post-modern genius" is an oxymoron, if only because true post-modernism falls outside usual genre classifcation.)

Anyway, Lady Gaga is pretty talentless when compared to quality electronic musicians like James Blake, Aphex Twin, Kraftwek et al.. Hell, she can put on a live show, but so can Nickelback, and I certainly don't think they're a good band.
comment #7309 longstreth 18th Apr 11 (edited by: longstreth)
That last video of hers ("Born This Way") was really weird and disturbing; specially that narration at the beginning.

I think Lady Gaga herself is one huge gimmick.
comment #7327 Scarface675 19th Apr 11
At longstreth: How can she rip off, er, homage somebody who has built their career off of ripping off, er, homaging others? I wont get into an argument about Tarantino, though, since that isn't what this is about: the only thing I will say is that I completely disagree with your feelings about Tarantino.

Secondly; yes. Compared to those musicians, she's not good at electronic music.... but that's because she doesn't, ya know, WRITE ELECTRONIC MUSIC. She writes pop music that incorporates electronic style. Her genre would best be described as Synthpop or Dance-Pop, with a splash of Electropop here and there. Artists of the same vein would be Madonna, Kim Wilde, some New Order, Taylor Dayne, Ke$ha (though with Ke$ha's quality, I shudder to put her in the same sentence as all these other people....) Robyn, a lot of Goldfrapp that isn't from Felt Mountain or Seventh Tree, I could go on... and comparing Lady Gaga in any way shape or form to Nickelback is just completely uncalled for and a total low blow.

And at Scarface675: while I respect your opinion that she might be one huge gimmick, you are aware that that was kind of the point of Born This Way. It's meant to be that weird and disturbing (though for me and some of my friends, it was awesome rather than either of those other descriptors).

Also, I would like to say that I do not believe her videos are gimmicky. Fashion; sure. But not the videos. I know I'm repeating myself, but it seems obvious to me that this is simply her and her collaborators expressing themselves. Notice how things have only gotten weirder since Paparazzi? That was no doubt intentional: not so she could stay relevant, but because with her popularity constantly rising, the more the music studio's money is guaranteed. And because of that, she is allowed to have more artistic control over her music videos. I'm sure she would've loved to make a video like Telephone for Just Dance... but she at the time did not have the money, the studio backing, or the popularity to do so. Make sense?
comment #7382 Hammerhead 23rd Apr 11
I was not comparing Lady Gaga specifically with Nickelback. My argument is:

A good live show doesn't make you a good artist. To demonstrate this, let's assume by way of contradiction that a good live show DOES make you a good artist. However, take Nickelback as a counterexample (they perform well live, but they don't seem to be lauded critically...). This is the contradiction, so a good live show doesn't make you a good artist.

Now, this doesn't automatically make Lady Gaga a bad artist. It just means that she has to demonstrate more than just live skill if she wants to be known as a good artist.

As an aside, it's interesting to see how "pop" musicians are in fact mining quite other genres. Take Britney's "Hold It Against Me", which is pretty dubstep-y, or even Gaga's "Judas", which has a weird sort of 80s hard rock feel to it (in my opinion, at least). But Britney and Gaga are both "pop" musicians. So is "Hold It Against Me" pop or dubstep or club or dance or what? Is pop even a genre? If you look at successful pop songs over the past few years, there's a lot of hip-hop, some rap, some club, some dance, maybe even some rock. And yet these songs are called "pop" songs. So maybe "pop" is less a genre and more of a classification. This kinda makes sense when you consider "pop" as "pop"ular music. So maybe it's not entirely fair to compare Gaga and James Blake, because they are doing different things with their music. But at the end of the day, I'd much rather listen to the latter if I was looking for an electronic vibe.
comment #7402 longstreth 24th Apr 11 (edited by: longstreth)
I will say that this guy knows what he's talking about, despite the fact that I will anger the gaga police (or Gagastepo is you want to get creative).
comment #7740 thelittleman66 20th May 11
Judas is a deliberate homage to early metal.
comment #7741 Phrederic 20th May 11
The thing is that Gaga has clearly modeled her whole thing on David Bowie. The theatrics, the personae, the ridiculous costumes and impenetrable lyrics...

comment #7745 EponymousKid 21st May 11
Uh, a mixture of Bowie and Madonna, with some Cyndi Lauper thrown in for good measure.

On a related note, Bowie is seen as a creative genius and Madonna as a schemer that's extended her career through outfit changes, but what's the goddamn difference between the two? They write pop music, have outrageous outfits and were major sex symbols in their era. How is Bowie "deeper" than Madge?
comment #7748 Phrederic 22nd May 11
I meant to reply to this earlier. Oh well. You mention Nickelback isn't critically lauded; they aren't, but if we're throwing critics into the mix, then Lady Gaga has both: great live show, and critical acclaim. And she has tried. What more do people want? She's a social activist, makes essentially Dada-lite music videos, works harder than any other artist I can think of, writes much of her own lyrics and music, gets critical acclaim.... what more does she have to do? I'm sure I can answer that: NOT BE MAINSTREAM! I can bet you if she was not mainstream, she'd have even MORE critical acclaim and be worshipped by Indie Hipsters.

And, uh, that's called experimentation. Most good artists do that. Lots of artists "mine" from other genres to widen the scope of their work. Look at say, Led Zeppelin. Though they don't really write pop songs, they often sample from other genres to enhance their songs. You're very right in that Pop is more a classification than a genre. Pop really is genre-less. Nirvana was pop. The Beatles were pop. And Lady Gaga is pop. It's a classification of a style of songwriting; it's a style that commonly produces the most hits and appeals to the most people, hence why it's called "pop", short for "popular". It's also a hard style to write well, hence why so many pop musicians have others write songs for them.

To Phrederic; It's the same reason people deride(d) Madonna as a whore, and why David Bowie's a sex symbol. Or why Courtney Love is decried as a drug addled slut, but not say, Tommy Lee. Because they're women. Unfortunately, sexism is still really common within the music industry. Things are better though, I think. Madonna would probably be a lot better received today then when she first came out, due to our societal advances. It's why now it's moreso just hatedom calling the (sexual) female superstars whores, and not both the hatedom and the critics.
comment #7845 Hammerhead 31st May 11 (edited by: Hammerhead)
I guess I agree with you, although I do think she's a kinda crappy activist. I'm going to link to a Pitchfork article about "expressing yourself" and what that actually means. It's actually a good article, and I think it underlines a few problems with Gaga's message.

You're probably all laughing to yourselves because I just linked to Pitchfork and that makes me a conformist hipster and bla bla bla, but I digress.
comment #7863 longstreth 1st Jun 11

comment #7864 longstreth 1st Jun 11 (edited by: longstreth)

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