Reviews: Lady Gaga
And yet, somehow, life goes on.
Gaga may be overrated. It's debatable. She is definitely over-hated. —at least online. The man on the street is usually indifferent. 'Without all the spectacle, there would be no Gaga,' you say. This is overlooking the fact that Stefani Germanotta tried to hack it as an indie piano chick. Didn't get anywhere. Needed a hook. 'Adele has shown that with an amazing output and bluesy voice, you can net a career and still be yourself.' I think Gaga was at a disadvantage here, because her 'real' personality is nothing much — an Italian princess from the Old Country, championing progressive causes, a little uneasy with her affluence (nobody respects old money). Whereas everybody can identify with Adele. So right away, you can see why she needs "Gaga" as a framing device. This is all immaterial, anyway; it brought to our attention an extraordinary vocalist, didn't it? Her genre variety can be discomforting to people — including myself — or anybody who remembers Madonna's nadir in the Nineties. But it ought to be cheered. Like, say, Beyonce, she is capable of any style. Unlike Beyonce, though, she's not locked into any given category. Now that Adele's being showered with Grammys, the Tumblr feud should cool down soon (I hope). Certainly, there's no point in comparing these two artists anymore. My own suspicion is that the vigilant haters (I'm not speaking of the GLBT crowd, who have their own bone to pick) view her as emblematic of the vapid, popular blonde at school, totally eclipsing the bespectacled gothling in the corner, scribbling poetry. It's time we stopped citing Gaga's strengths as disadvantages.
Love Her or Hate Her
Lady Gaga, Mother Monster herself, the pop culture icon whose ratio of Hatedom vs. Fandom is perhaps rivaled only by that of The Biebs. It's about time someone shared an honest opinion. This troper identifies primarily with hipsters. I, very well aware of my glaring pretentiousness, immerse myself in the musical classics, indie, soundtracks, prog, and alt rock. On the other hand, there is never anything wrong with a little bit of pop to mix things up a bit, and Lady Gaga is an excellent candidate. Gaga's critics like to claim that she is an attention whore, a tool of the music industry, a "man", and a rip-off of other artists such as Madonna. This is most probably due to the fact that she is a contradiction of the pristine-minded Disney starlet; she is loud, eccentric, and unashamed of her very blatant sexuality. This, to no surprise, has garnered her quite a lot of controversy. On the other hand, Lady Gaga has very real talent. It's difficult to tell just from listening to her music, which is appropriately over-processed like all respectable pop should be, but listen to any one of her live acoustic performances and you will see. Her sexuality is another thing completely, one that delves into Madonna Whore Complex territory. However, while on the subject, there is also the issue of the other type of sexuality. People tend to forget that we are in the midst of a revolution and overlook how much Gaga has done for the LGBT community. Not only does she encourage listeners of her music to respect themselves no matter what their sexual identity or race, but she has also lobbied to stop the bullying of gay teenagers. Lady Gaga's music is, like all pop, easy to like and extremely catchy. I can't disrespect the woman as an individual, therefore I honestly can't find many faults in her music. Sure, some songs are better than others, and she's no John Lennon, but I believe she is notable in an era of relatively awful pop music. In conclusion, Lady Gaga is not for everyone. But if, like this former Gaga-hater, you are musically open-minded and willing to give a tired genre another chance, please do so before making another quip about her genitalia. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Honestly? She's Just Having Fun ...
... and let's just enjoy it. She's working hard, singing beautifully, and doing what she wants to do with her life. She has talent but also a love of the weird, the unconventional, the shocking, and the nerdy. She loves what she does, and who she does it for — her fans and her causes. She's brought attention to women's rights and GBLT rights, among other crusades, and I salute her for that. She's having fun with her life and doing something that means something to her, and she brings a bit more joy and a bit more tolerance to our world. So why choose to be offended? Laugh at her sheer audacity, smile to see her bring her passion to causes she believes in, and tap your foot to one of her tunes on the way to work. It is what it is. You might as well find some measure of delight in it.
I like her
I can see why some people do not like the songs themselves; I myself admit it is an adquired taste, and I can name two songs that did not satisfy me much. However, as a whole her work comes very near being called a master piece. Many people cannot comprehend why she is a good singer. I can name one reason why such people are wrong: her songs have meaning, but it is more often than not a subtle Self Deprecation. This is most obvious in The Fame Monster, where the main character in each song has some pretty obvious defects, and she out-right admits being a non-charismatic person in "So Happy I could die", which depicts the singer as a looser who resorts to masturbation. Still, it is not Self Deprecation that makes her good; the songs in which she doesn't go on to insult herself tend to be very meaningfull indeed. Unfortunately, meanings are often just restricted to the music video (in Alejandro, symbolism is obvious in the music video [to the point that Todd In The Shadows pretty much had to remove some footage in order to be his Caustic Critic self], but the song is indeed just entertaining to listen). In the end, it is a very YMMV territory, because western culture is not so keen to accept symbolism in music videos, and her songs can verge on generic, which is fine for me but not so fine for people who either just want more from her or are turned off by some bimbo that supports LGBT people, and delude themselves into thinking the worst. But for the moment she is a usefull pawn to make social progress occur, so I wouldn't be too quick in finishing her off.
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.
She. Is. AWESOME.
Lady Gaga is awesome. She may be either batshit insane or she knows exactly what she's doing- it's hard to tell. But the acoustic covers of Poker Face and Paparazzi proves she can sing, and incredibly, as well. But the insane, weird, quirky woman we all know and love is great too. She is a modern day eccentric genius, and maybe avant-garde as well. I doubt it, but it's art, whatever she does. At first, I couldn't stand her. I hated Intercourse With You songs. But then, I was introduced to Paparazzi. I loved it. So I listened to Poker Face and loved that too. Then Bad Romance, Telephone and finally the song that I originally hated the most- Love Game. It was awesome. Now, I'm much less uptight about music- don't get me wrong, I love Broadway and classical- but Lady Gaga is still my favorite singer.
Calm the hell down, you're taking her way too seriously
And that isn't just directed at her fans, everybody calm the hell down, she's a talented pop musician with an eclectic and Camp sense of style who puts on weird, obtuse and over the top stage shows and music videos, are they pretentious? Yes. Was that intentional? Yes. Does that mean you can't enjoy them? NO! She's over the top and silly, and if you're going to find meaning in her work, I'm sure you could've found it somewhere else. Maybe it's just because I'm of the internet generation, but I'm over the shocking and controversial nature of her work and I think everybody should do the same, ignore the borderline gay porn, sex slavery and murder and focus on the costume and scenery porn, yeah she's weird, but what's wrong with some weirdness in our lives? Okay, a lot of her weirdness does stem from just wanting to be weird, but you can still appreciate her style, especially if you're into the bizarre. She's a western Widget Series. And honestly her music is so inoffensive that I'm really surprised when people hate it? Yeah, it's pop music, but hey, it's above average pop music, so what's to hate? No, she's not a prophet that has insight into humanity and all that it means, but she is an interesting, young, talent that doesn't seem to have any maliciousness in her and has the ability and time to improve herself. Fans, she isn't God, anti-fans, she isn't Satan, she's just a woman with a liking of the bizarre, so calm yourself, relax, and just dance.