Skip

Norah Jones, Look Out!
November 18, 2009 6:06 AM   Subscribe


 
Nice to see she's finally grown up. What's with those college kids anyway?
posted by netbros at 6:16 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


People get better all the time. Are you really that suprised.
posted by Rubbstone at 6:17 AM on November 18, 2009


She's about a million time better looking as a brunette.
posted by dortmunder at 6:19 AM on November 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


What the hell happened there.
posted by Harry at 6:20 AM on November 18, 2009


People get better all the time.

And some, like we see here, do just the opposite.
posted by chillmost at 6:20 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It actually sounds a lot like the acoustic version of Poker face that she likes to do. here's one version. The second song is also pretty fast paced and poppy. It could sound very different with an electronic background track.

Also, dosn't she kind of look like "Birther Queen" Orly Taitz (2,3) in that new video?
posted by delmoi at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I kind of like Stefani Germanotta. Lady Gaga not so much.

That's a shame.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2009


Man, those MCs are just insufferable.
posted by delmoi at 6:25 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


And some, like we see here, do just the opposite.

Yeah the world needs more Dawson's Creek soundtracks.
posted by fire&wings at 6:27 AM on November 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


I hear a lot of her current style in these pieces, but then I really love Lady Gaga anyway, so I went into the video excited. Thanks for the link; will mp3ise immediately :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:27 AM on November 18, 2009


I've decided that my favorite part of the "Bad Romance" video is that the men are bidding on Lady GaGa with a Wii Nunchuck. The rest is just icing on the cake.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:32 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Lady Gaga is going to be the cultural barometer of the future, the moment when America split in half, the way we determine what side of the cultural divide we're on. Wars will be fought over Lady Gaga, and when all that remains of the earth is a charred, barren planet, she will return to her people, and the stars, and we will never know if she did it for good or for ill.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:33 AM on November 18, 2009 [55 favorites]


Anyway, that's some awesome weed. From Alaska, you say?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


After seeing her on the MTV VMAs, I'm not sure I like her music, but I'm certainly a fan. Gotta love audience members who do costume changes. The red thing that covered her whole head was my favorite, but the white lion's mane/Inuit thing at the end was great, too. Awesome.
posted by Huck500 at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2009


well, "electric kiss" seems to naturally flow into this... i mean at NYU... of course it does. ; )

i sensed some 'rocky horror' and 'elton john' influences in electric kiss... if you can call them that... so the fact that she became lady gaga doesn't surprise me upon hearing that...

actually, i knew nothing about lady gaga except what i heard on the radio and about her hermaphroditic exposure... on those tabloid websites... that i don't blogroll....

i like her more because of this post.
posted by quanta and qualia at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of my good friends was an NYU RA and busted her first party. OH EXCUSE ME LET ME PICK UP THAT NAME OFF THE FLOOR.
posted by Mach5 at 6:40 AM on November 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


I considered Lady Gaga a guilty pleasure until this last video came out. I think it epitomizes all of her potential as a star and artist. All of it, down to the intentionally cheesy Europop backing, is commentary. And all of it is a mask, revealing practically nothing about the person at the helm. That's a really difficult feat to pull off, because stars tend to be insecure enough to want to be liked and respected as an icon but also as a person.

Gaga is basically trying to keep up the illusion that there is no person under there, or at least not what we are used to thinking of as a person. There is something trans-human about her ambition that I think is perfectly timely. She's a smart person having a lark, taking it a million times farther than anyone in their right mind would attempt, and making other pop stars look like the fools and relics that they actually are. I'm surprised more people don't get or appreciate that.
posted by hermitosis at 6:41 AM on November 18, 2009 [151 favorites]


until this last video came out.

Meaning, of course, the "Bad Romance" video, which makes me wish I was in high school so that its whooshing flames could have burned the closet down around me.
posted by hermitosis at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


hermitosis: your assessment of what's going on oddly resonates with mine. Thanks for putting it in words.
posted by dylanjames at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2009


I like Lady Gaga and her style far more than her music. It's clear that she has chops, because occasionally she'll throw in some gen-u-ine excellent piano playing to lead into her pop songs. She's quite a character in the interviews I've seen her in, and stupid people tend to take her way too seriously. Although her music doesn't suck fat balls, it's not enjoyable, either; just mediocre synthpop.
posted by Edgewise at 6:46 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


And some, like we see here, do just the opposite.

Snark if you want, but I'm glad that we've come back around to the point where pop icons are decent musicians again, even if they hide it.
posted by tylermoody at 6:47 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


She's about a million time better looking as a brunette.

Apparently she went blond because people kept confusing her with Amy Winehouse. Or so I read somewhere.
posted by Diablevert at 6:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


She's quite a character in the interviews I've seen her in, and stupid people tend to take her way too seriously.

Marilyn Manson-Satanism=Lady Gaga.
posted by dortmunder at 6:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Snark if you want, but I'm glad that we've come back around to the point where pop icons are decent musicians again, even if they hide it.

Isn't that like the old saying that there's no difference between an illiterate and someone who doesn't read?

And I don't think her current output is much different from the linked video. Both smack of a cloying desperation to deliver just what the audience wants.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:53 AM on November 18, 2009


huh. She's wearing those crazy Alexander McQueen hoof shoes in the video.

(yes, after watching everything, that's what I choose to comment on.)
posted by gaspode at 6:53 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is something trans-human about her ambition that I think is perfectly timely.

THERE IS NO DANA. THERE IS ONLY GAGA.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:55 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I generally ignore pop music for indie stuff, but I have to say the new pop is actually getting better. She Wolf, Single Ladies, and most of Lady Gaga's stuff are all good guilty pleasure songs. Note that the lyrics are still awful, but whatever they're doing to Autotune the voices and get the musicality, it seems to be working.

I suspect it's because we're letting computers evaluate and write music, and fix people's voices. Soon, the value of human creativity will shrink in value as computers out-pace our musical abilities, and we'll become a passive and indulgent consumer society. (HAMBURGER sandwiched between semi-serious fears that I may be somewhat right)

But on the plus side, pop songs tend to have really weird and amusing music videos, which Infomania's White Hot Top 5 is good at poking fun at.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I suspect it's because we're letting computers evaluate and write music, and fix people's voices. Soon, the value of human creativity will shrink in value as computers out-pace our musical abilities, and we'll become a passive and indulgent consumer society.

It's been years since I read it, and it may be godawful on re-reading, but Little Heroes by Norman Spinrad revolves around this premise.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:04 AM on November 18, 2009


And I don't think her current output is much different from the linked video. Both smack of a cloying desperation to deliver just what the audience wants.

<post-rockist>I don't know, I think I see it a la hermitosis. She's attempting to be an enigma. A heavily produced enigma, yes, but an enigma nonetheless, who happens to make semi-saccharine pop music</post-rockist>

Plus, I hear a lot of Boney M in her music. Thanks Saladin!
posted by The Michael The at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2009


Yo Stefani, I'm really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Lady Gaga had one of the best videos of all time. OF ALL TIME.

I love the "Bad Romance" video so much.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:07 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fools! Don't you know she's just a Masonic operative here to convert the populace!

Free yourselves, sheeple!
posted by griphus at 7:11 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Masonic operative, rather.
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Both smack of a cloying desperation to deliver just what the audience wants.

Well, god forbid someone produce something people like. It's not good music if it doesn't make the audience suffer, SUFFER, for their banal taste!
posted by delmoi at 7:13 AM on November 18, 2009 [17 favorites]


I give her props for vowing never to lipsynch, unlike a certain Ms Spears who didn't sing a single note live during the entire Circus tour.
posted by PenDevil at 7:16 AM on November 18, 2009


gaspode: YES!!! OMG I WAS SIMPLY DYYYYYYYYYYYING FROM JEALOUSY when I saw the video (and I was already dying because I couldn't watch videos at work and had to wait until I got home. I practically ran out of the office)...I looooove Alex McQ's crazy ass shes, but the alien giraffe hoof have been my favorite so far. I want those shoes so bad and to see them in the video? It was just too much.

...and stupid people tend to take her way too seriously... + tinfoil paranoid + ...Marilyn Manson-Satanism=Lady Gaga...+Illuminati=cough and cough

You know what though, I actually wish this was true because that'd at least make Illuminati conspiracy theories way more awesome and breath some new life into it. And I'll finally be justified for my younger years spent reading books on the occult in a dark corner of the library ("You guys called me weird, see, now this shit it is COOL.")
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:17 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Despite the fact that I do not like the music at all it was pretty blatantly obvious to me that she was delivering the lyrics of "Bad Romance" to me personally. Ms. GaGa, if you have an account here, feel free to memail me, I think we may be able to work something out.
posted by idiopath at 7:18 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


kkokkodalk - were you the one who linked the Vigilant Citizen re: the Denver airport? I wanted to thank whoever turned me onto it.

Also, I think she's doing (image-wise) what Marilyn Manson tried w/ Mechanical Animals, except well.
posted by griphus at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2009


It's nice to know that I am not alone in my guilty pleasure of liking Gaga. I think she should sing the next bond movie theme. She has that quality about her and I think she would do an awesome job on it.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


Is there a way to work the Kermit suit into these conspiracy theories?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2009


I don't know anything about Lady Gaga, but Stefani Germanotta reminds me of Tori Amos. And I don't mean that as a compliment.
posted by DU at 7:23 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love the "Bad Romance" video so much.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:07 AM on November 18


It's certainly an interesting video, kind of what the world would look like if Karl Lagerfeld threw up all over it, but I watched it with the sound off. I've never heard the song that goes with it, but I suspect that the song would actually make the video worse.

Different strokes for different folks I guess. I certainly appreciate the sentiment that Autotune, and HitEngine 2.5 have ruined pop music. The combination of that one one end and rock bands trying desperately to prove that they aren't too technically proficient on the other has sent me running to in to the arms of the 1940's avant garde, which has some goddamn brilliant music, btw.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2009


There's something so nakedly transparent about the projection of persona above all and the reduction of person to performance that I cannot help but find it appealing.
posted by MasonDixon at 7:26 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of me will live with a Gaga some day, in our Mandelbulb near the Tannhauser gate.
posted by everichon at 7:29 AM on November 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


...and stupid people tend to take her way too seriously... + tinfoil paranoid + ...Marilyn Manson-Satanism=Lady Gaga...+Illuminati=cough and cough

Paging mkultra...
posted by The Michael The at 7:29 AM on November 18, 2009


"Guilty pleasures" make me sad. Just like what you like, you don't have to apologize for it. I like Lady Gaga.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:30 AM on November 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


It's certainly an interesting video... I watched it with the sound off. I've never heard the song that goes with it, but I suspect that the song would actually make the video worse.

I wish people would review whole movies like this. Hilarious.
posted by hermitosis at 7:32 AM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


At some point I got old and lost interest in popular music (perhaps because I love a certain kind of pop music and it went away). I think I love Lady Gaga.
posted by Mavri at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Lady Gaga is the future of pop music, I think that's a good thing. It's really cool to see pop culture developing something so different and so enigmatic. Sure, some of it is just being weird to be weird, but it's really cool to see what seems to be an entirely manufactured persona be taken seriously by the gossip press. It's a bit like the Stephen Colbert or Borat acts getting applied to pop music, but not for humor but to intrigue people.

Besides, having manufactured weird people makes it easier to cope with the real crazies, like Queen Birther Orly Taitz as mentioned above. If anything, she's a post-modern pop star. Look at how many other stars feel the need to have a story built around them, like 50 Cent's getting shot 9 times, or MIA's tendency to say just enough about her views on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers to raise gossip. And, of course, the manufactured stories often come crashing down, like when Jaimie Lyn Spears, who was being pitched as a wholesome country girl, got pregnant. Stars seem to ultimately be identities best left unconnected to real people, and Gaga just takes this to a much greater extent.

What would be the ultimate way to achieve would be to have Germanotta retire from the Gaga gig, and have someone else wear the makeup and sing the songs, like a one-woman Morning Musume. I would especially love the controversy from the idiots who don't get the act.

I'm even wondering if this might be good if it happened in politics. After all, consider how much of our energy on politics is devoted to debating the character of politicians rather than policy. While it's amusing to make fun of Mark Sanford's affairs, it's not really doing anything to better manage the nation, as the government is meant to do. If we had a senate of made up personas detached from humanity, we'd be talking about policies, as those personas would never come crashing down in hypocrisy.

And this is the true danger of BEAN-PLATING: I binged on it, and now I'm endorsing Lady Gaga for president. Although that title may make it unconstitutional for her to run... Meaning Orly Taitz and Gaga would get to feud!
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


Watching the Bad Romance video seals it. Lady GaGa is the test tube love child of Matthew Barney and Chilly Gonzales.



In reality, though...

One of my old co-workers toured with her as her lighting designer. Apparently she drops all the Lady Gaga stuff as soon as she's out of the public eye. "There's LADY GAGA,the character,who's like the tip of the iceberg, and then there's Stefani, who absolutely blows me away. She's brilliant and sweet and humble, and she works her face off." He also reports she is also very nice to her stage crew.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [24 favorites]


all good guilty pleasure songs.

The whole idea of "the guilty pleasure" is one of my biggest pet peeves. It is possible to genuinely admire and enjoy a performer like Lady Gaga (or any other pop musician tagged with that label) while still appreciating the performance as, basically, a gag, play, spectacle. This whole idea that there's a class of popular culture which is likeable, but only guiltily, sits badly with me.

Note that the lyrics are still awful

I think "I want your everything as long as it's free" is pretty clever and funny, too.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


note to self: one whole idea is enough.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2009


I think "I want your everything as long as it's free" is pretty clever and funny, too.

Plus, I'm sure that even Gaga herself finds it hilarious to think of a bunch of 13-year-olds at an 8th grade dance jamming out to lines like "I want your ugly, I want your disease" while doing the Twist-with-claw-hands.
posted by hermitosis at 7:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


>
I meant the "lyrics are still awful" about mostly Beyonce and Shakira's music. I mean, have you listened to the lyrics of She Wolf?

"I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office?"

Gaga's stuff is actually pretty clever, and I'm surprised someone of her talent and weirdness could be embraced by the mainstream music industry. Also, I'm starting to wonder if she liked the conspiracy theory stuff, so now she's trying to work more of it into her stuff just to be that much more enigmatic.

I really hope interviewers will press her about that, and I also hope that she'll then be evasive or say something like "people shouldn't be afraid to look under rocks to see the monsters that control us."
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


What would be the ultimate way to achieve would be to have Germanotta retire from the Gaga gig, and have someone else wear the makeup and sing the songs, like a one-woman Morning Musume.

Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.
posted by divide_by_cucumber at 7:59 AM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Nuts.

There goes my theory that Lada Gaga is actually the Idoru.
posted by generichuman at 8:03 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't really care for the Lady as I saw her as personifying the 'manufactured star', until I saw her perform at the national HRC dinner in October. It was just her, a piano, and a microphone. Since then I've been a fan on par of a squealing schoolgirl.

She's a talented artist in my book who I think is channeling a little bit of 80's Annie Lenox, as well as reminding Madonna what she used to be. Also, she apparently has a producer who knows the value of perfect set lighting.

Can't say I've figured out what exactly a 'disco stick' is yet though...
posted by matty at 8:03 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I adore Lady Gaga. Of course she's wearing those wacked-out McQueen hooves (bless her)--it was only ever a race between her and Victoria Beckham to see who would get there first. Love her songs, love the general persona, wish she'd been around in my youth. She really would have enriched my angsty teenage rebellion fantasies.
posted by Go Banana at 8:04 AM on November 18, 2009


Did she change her own image, or was her image changed for her?
posted by jefficator at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2009


That was 13 seconds of ugly listening that I will never get back.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2009


Eh. She just lost whatever earnestness she had in favor of manufacturing some sort of empty mystique.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2009


What would be the ultimate way to achieve would be to have Germanotta retire from the Gaga gig, and have someone else wear the makeup and sing the songs, like a one-woman Morning Musume.

Actually, this is exactly what Elvira describes her attempts at in this surprisingly fabulous interview with the AV Club. Choice quote:

AVC: You told us 10 years ago that you were looking for people to portray you like Bozo The Clown, yet you don’t seem to have passed that torch yet. Why is that?


CP: Yeah, I still have that idea, and I’m still pursuing it in a different way. We even set up a television show for it—The Search For The Next Elvira, on Fox Reality—and over 3,000 people auditioned, and we picked out the one we liked the best. And then we never really did anything with her, mostly because I’m still doing stuff. She was great, but she kind of languished. I’m still going in that direction, though. I’m working on a thing right now where there will be an Elvira in every shopping mall at Halloween time, just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. If that works out, we’ll have to hire lots of Elviras. But everyone was kind of confused: No one is taking over doing me as a character; they would basically just do what Santa Claus is. You know, there’s actually not a real Santa Claus. They would just be showing up at these venues—not acting like me particularly, but portraying the image of Elvira. So it’s not like anyone’s really going to replace me. It’s like when you see Batman and Marilyn Monroe at Universal Studios.
posted by hermitosis at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish the lyrics were a bit better. They're a little ham fisted. That being said I have tickets to see the spectacle when it comes to town. Zomg excited!!!
posted by captaincrouton at 8:08 AM on November 18, 2009


Lady Gaga is to music as Andy Kaufman is to comedy. If their frames were more similar, I'd suggest Gaga was Kaufman's new persona after faking his death. Although with plastic surgery these days, who can say...
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:09 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am so glad to see that I'm not alone in thinking "Lady Gaga" is a masterful--and very profitable--work of self-parody.

I could write lots about how I think she is commenting on the divide between artist and product, person and commodity (she went to the--Grammys, was it?-- a night of "how are famous people going to distinguish themselves with their attire" in a costume that completely obscured her face... essentially BEING the dress and not wearing it... over the top brilliant).

And the kicker is she's using her considerable skills to turn out not necessarily terrible tunes and making huge sums off people who aren't in on the joke. It reminds me of how the heavy metal band Tool chose to simple label all their merchandise, and thus, effectively, the people who purchesed it.

I will watch eagerly to see how far she pushes it. It seems she can get away even when spelling it out plainly.

I mean, one of her biggest hits to date taunts her listeners that they "can't read [her] pokerface."

ma-ma-ma-po-ker-face-ma-po-po-ker-face
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 8:11 AM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Eh. She just lost whatever earnestness she had in favor of manufacturing some sort of empty mystique.

Earnestness is overrated. Every coffeehouse acoustic-strummer has earnestness. I want a weirdo Matthew Barney-inspired living art project ascending the pop charts, god dammit.
posted by naju at 8:12 AM on November 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Ah, it was the VMA's.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2009


griphus & everyone,

Nice knowing y'all, but I'm going to be hanging out at The Vigilant Citizen from now on

although he's a Canadian, which raises its own issues
posted by lukemeister at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2009


She's clamming all over the place on the piano.
posted by wsg at 8:14 AM on November 18, 2009


Earnestness is overrated. Every coffeehouse acoustic-strummer has earnestness.

Don't get me wrong as I'm no fan of in your face earnestness (I'm talking to you, Springsteen). I was just noting that she wasn't always that cocksure anti-anti diva, and that the mystique around her that people seem to find so interesting is really transparent.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on November 18, 2009


the mystique around her that people seem to find so interesting is really transparent.

Don't tell me she isn't really an Annunaki. I couldn't bear the disappointment.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now all I can imagine is Stefani Germanotta getting pissed off at her critical theory professor at NYU and storming out of his office screaming: ''You may think you've got the better of me today, Dr. Asshole, but one day I'll become rich by dressing like the monster from 'Pan's Labrynth' and performing choreographed dance numbers. And you, you'll be stuck here, writing scholarly papers about me!"

That said, the "Bad Romance" video is pretty amazing.
posted by thivaia at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2009 [20 favorites]


I think the Matthew Barney references above are close to the mark, though I'd say only that Matthew Barney is a pale and crappy incarnation of what Gaga is actually pulling off (and I also agree with griphus's assertion that she's doing something similar to what Marilyn Manson did with mechanical animals, except better).

As a big Nine Inch Nails fan during my teen years, I think I have a lot to say about the trajectory from Trent Reznor to Lady Gaga, but I may need to think about it a little more before I can properly organize my thoughts.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


This this the place where I mention that "Single Ladies" scares the SHIT out of me? Seriously, the song and video are so relentless, so robotic, so catchy, so unhuman that it's like watching a remake of Metropolis. I keep expecting the song to devolve into Dalek-voices and the girls go on a city-crushing rampage.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on November 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


Look its not like the girl plays jazz piano, She's utterly competent but so are thousands of other young girls. If you like Stephanie's lyrics those haven't changed her sound has. Honestly its probably positive. I think its fitting that her 80s style ballads sound like they're from the 80s sung by a girl who looks a cracked out dream of what the 80s hoped it was.

Did she change her own image, or was her image changed for her?

I think it was the latter.

I'm surprised someone of her talent and weirdness could be embraced by the mainstream music industry.

She wasn't, she's signed to Konvict Muzik
posted by Rubbstone at 8:33 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I said a few things to say about Jonas Akerlund’s Paparazzi on Sunday.
posted by mistersquid at 8:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anyone who writes a Massive Dance Pop song about being too drunk to dance is A-OK with me.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:35 AM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


yay, i get to share some bean plating i did last night in response to someone on another message board who said her lyrics were high-school level bad poetry...


------------
I'm going to go out on a limb here and overthink Lady Gaga's overall oeuvre. Its pretty clear that she's had a fascination with fame, fashion and celebrity from the beginning, and her new album is just continuing along those lines.

But let's start with the lyrics to 'Hollywood' -- even before she had a make-over and changed her look, she was already writing lyrics about the loss of self in the pursuit of celebrity:

"Listen.
I've got the sickest ambition.
Deep in the mirror I am scared.
Don't know who the hell is there.
Yeah, I'm losing my reflection."

"Listen -- I've got the sickest ambition", taken on its own, given the slang definition of 'sick' as 'cool', actually has a dual meaning -- sick - -as in this is a great thing I'm trying to do, but also that it's sick -- mentally ill. And as you progress to the next line, it's clear that she also means (and perhaps PRIMARILY means) that it's a mentally ill pursuit. She's already forgetting who she is.

Fame and the pursuit of celebrity is a theme she's gone back to again and again -- Paparazzi (from the perspective of the fan):
I'll be your girl backstage at your show
velvet ropes and guitars, yeah 'cause you're my rockstar
in between the sets, eyeliner and cigarettes
shadow is burnt, yellow dance and we turn
my lashes are dry, purple teardrops I cry
it don't have a price, loving you is cherry pie
'cause you know that baby I

I'm your biggest fan
I'll follow you until you love me, papa-paparazzi
baby there's no other superstar
you know that I'll be your papa-paparazzi
promise I'll be kind but I won't stop until that boy is mine
baby you'll be famous, chase you down until you love me
papa-paparazzi

real good, we dance in the studio
snap snap, to that shit on the radio
don't stop for anyone
we're plastic but we still have fun
(so -- again she's talking about the artificiality of celebrity-- in this case, she's pursuing a Rock Star, which in the mythology of Fame is essentially like a God -- perfect and needs nothing from anyone -- she makes her herself up and all she has to offer is adoration -- and again -- note the 'we're plastic', which is another metaphor for fakeness)

Paparazzi is especially interesting because it was written and recorded BEFORE she was famous -- so in her new performances, she's recontextualized it so it's about HERSELF -- where she is the rock star and stands in for Fame as a concept, so the song is her own pursuit of fame.

Let's look at her VMA performance of Paparazzi:

First, she starts with the chorus of Poker face -- and what's a poker face, but a false front? -- again, a negation of identity.

Then:

"Amidst all these flashing lights I pray the fame will take my life" -- there again is fame personified -- in fact, deified, because she is careful with her words, and the word 'pray' was chosen for a reason. . And she's wearing a mask -- this is again not accidental -- her latest video has her face entirely covered. She's hiding herself and projecting a new identity -- like the comedy and tragedy masks of Greek theater -- she's a stand in for the God, Fame.

And it gets more mythological mythological -- we're watching a human sacrifice on stage. Fame is a religion, and she's both the Goddess and the Priestess, the Goddess demanding blood and also the follower sacrificed on the altar. She's crying, ecstatic and fearful at once. She's the rock star and the rock fan out in the crowd screaming and crying. How many times have you heard someone yell this is so good I could die? And she's doing it.

And at the end, raised up and transfixed, bloody with the camera's flashing. I don't think there's a better metaphor for the modern media landscape. And I don't think she missed out on the connection between female blood and fertility.

So, let's look at her new video:

I really have to watch it a lot more times to really decode everything that's going on here, but it's essentially about her further dehumanization and in this case repackaging, and being forcibly turned into a product to be sold -- it's not random that they show carefully designed and branded objects like perfume bottles and laptop computers and then have her dressed up in dehumanizing, but carefully designed fashion pieces that reflect the stage dressing. And there's a lot of imagery of cybernetics and invasion of the flesh, and scenes of near-rape while they force her into this identity.

There is a LOT going on with Lady Gaga that's not there in other pop stars.

Here's a video from her concerts:
"Brush Brush Brush away candy, what is it that you search for. Oh dear...

I've been brushing for hours. Just to make sure it's gone.

I guess we can honestly say that you've lost your mind.

No, I know exactly where it is.

Really?

In his belly, of course.

You left something behind?

A machine.

Hmm..

And took off into the city. I was scared at first. I thought. Pop ate my heart. And then, he swallowed my brain.

What's left for you to live for?

But then I thought.

But then you thought.

The Fame."
I mean, that's fucking genius, and so weird and subversive.

more (from a live show -- i'm kinda impressed by how much she gets out of such a low budget, too)

(note the character is Candy Warhol -- she knows the art that she's referencing)
posted by empath at 8:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [51 favorites]


It's certainly an interesting video, kind of what the world would look like if Karl Lagerfeld threw up all over it, but I watched it with the sound off. I've never heard the song that goes with it, but I suspect that the song would actually make the video worse.

I've never heard the song either, preferring to watch the video with Skinny Puppy's Wrong Rip Fixin.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think I have a lot to say about the trajectory from Trent Reznor to Lady Gaga

I think a more apt comparison is Marilyn Manson. I'd love to see them do a song together.
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2009


I said a few things to say about Jonas Akerlund’s Paparazzi on Sunday.

Thanks! I was trying to figure out what the deal was with the prosthetics, and that was pretty insightful. Obviously it has to do with being a cyborg and a transformation from human to machine, don't know how I missed that.
posted by empath at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2009


And the kicker is she's using her considerable skills to turn out not necessarily terrible tunes and making huge sums off people who aren't in on the joke.

It's really amazing how she can thread the needle of selling vapid pop music to 13 year olds while somehow also making it intellectually interesting.
posted by empath at 8:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


This video throws fuel on my Lady Gaga fire. She's making performance art on a massive scale, and I love it. She seems to be willing to sacrifice her real musical talent on the alter of commentary, and I have to respect that. She's layering plastic over what's real.

One of the things that's so enthralling about the Bad Romance video is the subtle commentary on the collective obsession with thinness. The fake ribs and protruding spine are just over the top enough to be jarring. It's part of the fame mythology. Something about how she packages herself as a "space-age hooker" addresses exploitation in a way that leaves her with all the power.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


It seems she can get away even when spelling it out plainly.

Spelling it out, hell, she's directly rubbing their faces in it.

In the Bad Romance video, she plays a traficked prostitute, but as she is sold, she is dressed as different pop stars. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, and probably some others I'm not catching; young women who were shoehorned by their handlers into larger than life personae, only to be abandoned, as people, to the ravages of infamy. Yet at the end, Lady Gaga "burns" the man who purchased her. She wants to make it perfectly clear - she's the puppet... and the puppeteer.




I shouldn't have had that plate of beans before I tried to go to bed.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:56 AM on November 18, 2009 [25 favorites]


One of the things that's so enthralling about the Bad Romance video is the subtle commentary on the collective obsession with thinness.

I hadn't noticed this. Nor did I pick up on the human-trafficking theme until I read the Popjustice piece I linked above. She is basically shipped to a bathhouse, plied with alcohol, put on display, and sold to the highest bidder. That the video ends on a note that mingles victimization with empowerment is really fascinating.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on November 18, 2009


Ah, louche said it first, and better.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on November 18, 2009


My students are always listening to this stuff, so I asked them about it. They said listen to "Poker Face." I did. Good song. Reminded me of some things on the first Public Image Ltd. albums from the late 1970s.... Am I nuts?
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2009


Could anyone in the house have predicted the rise of this?

I wouldn't have been surprised.

I like Lady Gaga and think she's got talent. I just wish her music was better.

This whole idea that there's a class of popular culture which is likeable, but only guiltily, sits badly with me.

I disagree. "Guilty pleasure" to me means disposable, as well as not quite worthy of serious contemplation or discussion.

I think ...Baby One More Time is a great pop song. Oops I Did It Again is a guilty pleasure. Do I feel "guilty" listening to it? Well, no. But that's semantics...

Lady Gaga's music would definitely be a guilty pleasure for me, although again, it's not really good enough to get to that point. I'm not versed enough to know about the whole performance-art thing. It sounds interesting, but I'm not really buying it. I think she's a decent pop star with an interesting look and style. That's about it.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2009


Entertainers are supposed to be entertaining. It's not my favourite music, but goddamn Lady GaGa is terrifically interesting, fun, relevant, and entertaining. What's not to like?
posted by jimmythefish at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2009


I liked this better when David Bowie did it in the 70's. I do think she has an interesting visual flair but music-wise I don't hear anything new. Pop music is pretty empty except when you break the rules and make something new fit in the framework. Simply doing it as a style exercise is very much more of the same, even if your style is fairly extreme.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I like her music (dare I admit thinking pop is, you know, catchy?) and I'm impressed by her performances. I think the turning point for me was her second song on SNL with the references to her favorite local hangouts. It's not a generic song - she's singing to the audience about what she (and they) love.

There's a genuine musician here and she's doing some fun stuff with her performances. She's capable enough that you can take away the heavy production and backing singers and still have an engaging performer.

And she's willing to make fun of herself too.

I'd like more pop performers like this.
posted by zippy at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, I'm going to out myself as the least with-it person ever. I realized about a month ago that I'd been hearing people talk about Lady Gaga an awful lot (on Metafilter, even!), but that I had no idea who she was, so I looked up her wikipedia entry, skimmed it, shrugged. So these videos today are my first real exposure to her, and, hmm, they're pretty nifty, in a Ziggy Stardust, or Marilyn Manson channeling Ziggy Stardust, kind of way.

But mostly, I'm surprised to feel so behind the times and old at 25.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a big Nine Inch Nails fan during my teen years, I think I have a lot to say about the trajectory from Trent Reznor to Lady Gaga, but I may need to think about it a little more before I can properly organize my thoughts.

Of course, Trent's guise of darkness and angst nearly ate him alive, with a spiral of cocaine and alcohol addiction and finally culminating in the realization that he simply could not continue being the mask that he had volunteered to wear 20 years ago when he began his NIN project.

well okay, enough,
you've had your fun
but come on thare has to be someone
that hasn't yet become
so numb
and succumb
and
god damn i am so tired of pretending
of wishing i was ending
when all i'm really doing is trying to hide
and keep it inside
and fill it with lies
open my eyes?
maybe i wish i could try
-Where Is Everybody? from The Fragile
posted by hippybear at 9:21 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The thing that's crazy about this is that this is still basically her first album! I don't have a clue where she goes from here.
posted by empath at 9:27 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh... I expected a lot of Gaga hate here, and was pleasantly surprised. She's a talented artist. Not only in her ability to write pop hits, but in the fact that she's like a second-life personna given flesh.
posted by codacorolla at 9:29 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a casual observer/listener to pop music (along with many other styles), I have to agree with the posters who observe that "Lady Gaga" and the character's career is very much by design -- and impressively so.

A common theme in interviews and comments by Ms. Germanotta has been her interest in the manufacture of popular culture and the various faces of aestheticism. She touches on some of these concepts in an NYU paper from 2004.

Whatever you think of her popular music (I happen to think it's pretty darn good, for its genre), writing her off as a Britney Spears clone is comfortably simplistic. The more apt analogy is like the story of Babe Ruth calling his shot by pointing to centerfold. Ms. Germanotta has not only made clear her intent of commenting on popular culture by participating in it, she even titled her debut album "The Fame". And, because she happens to be both musically talented and commercially savvy, she hit a home run.

How far can the Lady Gaga character go being both a comment and contribution in pop culture before one side overwhelms the other? I don't know. But it looks like Ms. Germanotta set out to do exactly what she intended, and in a fairly short time period. I say, triangle-shaped glittery hats off to her.
posted by thebordella at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think a more apt comparison is Marilyn Manson. I'd love to see them do a song together.

Wish granted, kinda.
posted by notnamed at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2009


Another artist who likes to play dress up performing at NYU.
posted by vronsky at 9:52 AM on November 18, 2009


Still wondering what exactly a "disco stick" is? Mystery solved.
posted by djb at 10:03 AM on November 18, 2009


I don't know anything about Lady Gaga, but Stefani Germanotta reminds me of Tori Amos.

nope, laura nyro - and i don't think that's an accident, either
posted by pyramid termite at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


This whole idea that there's a class of popular culture which is likeable, but only guiltily, sits badly with me.

I disagree. "Guilty pleasure" to me means disposable, as well as not quite worthy of serious contemplation or discussion.


But that's probably because you personally like "serious" music. A metalhead might have some new age or smooth jazz artist as a guilty pleasure, or an emo kid might secretly like the Beach Boys. I think the whole guilty pleasure concept is about entertainment that we feel like we shouldn't like for some reason or another, but enjoy anyway. Music especially tends to be segregated into different cultural and aesthetic groups, so enjoying music outside of one's own self-identified genres can feel like a kind of betrayal of principles.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:10 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks, guys. I thought Poker Face was the last single. I am now experiencing Bad Romance.
posted by cavalier at 10:19 AM on November 18, 2009


Not my bag, but she's worth 10 Brittany Spears. At least she's creative.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:20 AM on November 18, 2009


Wow. Amazing.

Also glad she's still getting use out of that fireworks bustier!
posted by cavalier at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2009


Me, I'm too old for this shit.
posted by tommasz at 10:31 AM on November 18, 2009


What a good video.

But point of discussion: Let's all as MeFites seriously help the world to get rid of this 'guilty pleasure' idea. 'Guilty pleasure' just means 'I've accumulated a lot of cultural cachet that I am risking by liking this person'. It rarely has anything to do with quality. It has more to do with class, communities, and canons. You can just like Lady Gaga, because her music is fun to listen to.
posted by voronoi at 11:00 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I like much of the music she puts out, but the whole 'attention whore tries too hard' shtick is really old by now. Initially, it seemed this put-on persona was less that and more genuine quirk. Now it's as if she feels like she has to continuously top herself to keep people caring. Weird for the sake of being weird. It's shallow. I prefer artists with genuine resonance and relatability.

But her album makes a great workout soundtrack.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:01 AM on November 18, 2009


Thanks, guys. I thought Poker Face was the last single. I am now experiencing Bad Romance.

Lovegame and Paparazzi came after Poker Face. Bad Romance is from a repackaged and expanded version of her album, which is set to hit stores soon.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2009


I like much of the music she puts out, but the whole 'attention whore tries too hard' shtick is really old by now.

Interesting -- I actually don't like her music that much as music (it's not in my itunes or ipod, and I've only played remixes at clubs that really change the originals), but I love her shtick.
posted by empath at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's all as MeFites seriously help the world to get rid of this 'guilty pleasure' idea. 'Guilty pleasure' just means 'I've accumulated a lot of cultural cachet that I am risking by liking this person'. It rarely has anything to do with quality. It has more to do with class, communities, and canons.

I will continue to use "guilty pleasure" for my occasional impulse to watch America's Funniest Videos. It's a mean-spirited show which delights in ridiculing people and seeks to make me laugh by showing me others hurting themselves. I DO feel guilty when I watch it. But I laugh, too. That's the very definition of "guilty pleasure" if you ask me.

posted by hippybear at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


But point of discussion: Let's all as MeFites seriously help the world to get rid of this 'guilty pleasure' idea. 'Guilty pleasure' just means 'I've accumulated a lot of cultural cachet that I am risking by liking this person'.

No it doesn't. It means you enjoy something you find scandalous, hypocritical, out of character, mildly weird, or unusual, and have a sense of humor about it. Guilty pleasures are fun. I can assure you I have no cultural cachet to risk; nor do I assume that anyone I know is going to write me off if I admit to enjoying dancing in the kitchen to [ CHEESY POP TUNE REDACTED]. I refuse to give up any of my guilty pleasures, and the threat of being branded a secret hypocritical hedonist desperately clinging to an amorphous amalgam of street cred is totally fine by me. Because I know better.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


how strange. that girl in that video is someone I could actually see myself having bumped into in nyc in 2005. not that I did but it's she's just some average, cuteish student kid still finding her ways. I wonder how the transition to what we're currently being presented with came about? was it gradual or rapid, self-induced or attached to her by others?

anyway, I kinda like the girl in that nyu video. don't care about the music but it's someone I could see myself rooting for, hoping she'd make it. empathetic, if you know what I mean. I have no connection to the gaga persona. none at all. doesn't shock me, doesn't fascinate me, doesn't tingle my "guilty pleasure" sense, doesn't move my butt. love me or hate me they might say but I'm just indifferent, smug because that's the one I know bothers them most.
posted by krautland at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2009


I meant the "lyrics are still awful" about mostly Beyonce and Shakira's music. I mean, have you listened to the lyrics of She Wolf?

"I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office?"


If you listen to her albums she has an obvious fascination with stretched/oddball metaphors. It's part of her writing style.
posted by cillit bang at 11:26 AM on November 18, 2009


Who exactly is Gaga channeling here? Billy Joel? Liza Minnelli? Elton John? Holy strange.
posted by GuyZero at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guilty pleasures are fun. I can assure you I have no cultural cachet to risk; nor do I assume that anyone I know is going to write me off if I admit to enjoying dancing in the kitchen to [ CHEESY POP TUNE REDACTED]

But what's fun about "guilt"?!?! Why frame it that way?

Talking about pop music on MetaFilter is like talking to 1950s women about the rumoured "orgasm".
posted by cillit bang at 11:43 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I meant the "lyrics are still awful" about mostly Beyonce and Shakira's music. I mean, have you listened to the lyrics of She Wolf?

"I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office?"


To be fair, English is Shakira's, like, nineteenth language. (After Pashto and Weird Sexy Alien Lady.)
posted by threeants at 11:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is it fair to say I find her music trivial, but I love the crazy? That's some grade-a Columbian crazy right there, and she's self-destructing for your amusement.

It would seem impolite to not at least golf-clap.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:48 AM on November 18, 2009


"I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office?"

If you listen to her albums she has an obvious fascination with stretched/oddball metaphors.


CLEARLY YOU MEANT SIMILES.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think its fitting that her 80s style ballads sound like they're from the 80s sung by a girl who looks a cracked out dream of what the 80s hoped it was.

There's a fine line between generic-person-from-the-80s and Janice from The Muppet Show. And Lady Gaga dares to ride that line.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:53 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Shakira has always embraced some odd lyrics, but her English stuff isn't her best. Even though I am a big fan of hers.

I fully suspect that the way sexier and more complete song Loba was written before She Wolf emerged.

No pienso quedarme a tu lado mirando la tele y oyendo disculpas
La vida me ha dado un hambre voraz y tu apenas me das caramelos
Me voy con mis piernas y mi juventud por ahí aunque te maten los celos

posted by cmgonzalez at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2009


Bad Romance definitely reminds me of Elton John/Meat Loaf.
posted by mrducts at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2009


Interesting -- I actually don't like her music that much as music (it's not in my itunes or ipod, and I've only played remixes at clubs that really change the originals), but I love her shtick.
posted by empath at 1:07 PM on November 18


Disco shtick?

I love Lady Gaga pretty unashamedly, but I have to say I almost cried a little when I read the FPP. I've been avoiding learning her real name and now you've just made me lose my innocence, hermitosis. Bah!

Here's why I love her: the Lady Gaga persona is an unabashed fame whore. It's about fame, getting as much as possible and as quickly as possible, and she is doing it. It's performance art that is working! And on a grand scale. It's self-aware and yet that only helps its rise.

(Other things I love: that thing where you say your own name at the beginning of a song (is there a name for that?); the mask-as-metaphor thing; the CRAZY couture; the rumor mill; that she's on Akon's label; and not least the music, which is the catchiest of catchy dance-pop.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:14 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


'Superficiality as art in itself' was already done to death by Warhol.

Earnestness is overrated.

Oh, but even more so is insincerity, as seen by the volume of praise it gets in this thread being above zero.
posted by Anything at 12:30 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


For the people who keep asking, "From where did this Gaga personality come from? What made this NYU girl into Gaga? It must be manufactured by a record label": Seriously, the origin story of the superhero (quite possibly villain, when they decide to retcon the universe in the next 10 years when they do another Civil War) known as Lady Gaga really isn't that much of a secret. The story about how the "Gaga" part of her name came about is cute, yes, but considering she used to perform with Lady Starlight, it isn't that much of a stretch to realize how "Lady Gaga," the outfits, stage demeanor, all of that came about. She was part of a performance act known for campy, rock, burlesque, with provocative outfits and a dash of electronic music shouldn't make the origins of Gaga now so nebulous. If I went from performing in clubs with just the dream of one day being able to afford Versace and McQueen and having an excuse to wear even half the get ups I always dreamed of and having my own Haus of Gaga to execute and procure these items without me resorting to shakin' my thing in American Apparel shit, I'd sure as hell become Lady Gaga too.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:38 PM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is there a blog or something that follows the meta-y performance art aspect? I am way out of the pop music and celebrity gossip loop, but I find her public persona thing fascinating.
posted by bradbane at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2009


Yes. We are all Lady Gaga, deep inside. Only she was brave enough to let Lady Gaga out.
posted by cavalier at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's performance art that is working! And on a grand scale.

Performance art that works on a grande scale.
posted by hippybear at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gaga's shtick is done a thousand times better by Electric Six, and as a bonus, their music doesn't suck.
posted by spaltavian at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"grande"??? jeez. bad me.
posted by hippybear at 12:52 PM on November 18, 2009


I really have to watch it a lot more times to really decode everything that's going on here, but it's essentially about her further dehumanization and in this case repackaging, and being forcibly turned into a product to be sold -- it's not random that they show carefully designed and branded objects like perfume bottles and laptop computers and then have her dressed up in dehumanizing, but carefully designed fashion pieces that reflect the stage dressing. And there's a lot of imagery of cybernetics and invasion of the flesh, and scenes of near-rape while they force her into this identity.

There is a LOT going on with Lady Gaga that's not there in other pop stars.


You know, I think you've convinced me that there is more here than typical pop star fluff. And I think there is a lot to Greg Nog's point that Reznor, Manson and her are somewhere on the same trajectory.

So the obvious next question is, how much of what we see in the video and in the stage choreography is hers, and not some producers?
posted by Pastabagel at 1:01 PM on November 18, 2009


Pastabagel: I had the same question.

Found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Romance
"I wanted somebody with a tremendous understanding of how to make a pop video, because my biggest challenge working with directors is that I am the director and I write the treatments and I get the fashion and I decide what it's about and it's very hard to find directors that will relinquish any sort of input from the artist. [...] But Francis and I worked together. [...] It was collaborative. He's a really pop video director and a filmmaker. He did I Am Legend and I'm a huge Will Smith fan, so I knew he could execute the video in a way that I could give him all my weirdest, most psychotic ideas, [...] But it would come across to and be relevant to the public."
posted by bdc34 at 1:07 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm really gratified to see a lot of what I've been thinking about Lady Gaga echoed here. I think she's a frickin' genius - exactly what we need a popstar to be right now in an age of celebrity being basically about denigrating women down to sneak flashes of their labia for our viewing pleasure. The people that try to take the whole trip seriously need a bit of a slap - Lady Gaga only exists on the internet, in our TVs and on the stage. She's not really real, and that's what makes it so much better than it should be. What would be even more mindblowing is if she pulls a Bowie, kills off Lady Gaga, and creates another one to play with for a while. What mystifies me is how she got the whole concept past her record company. They've given her an incredible leash to do what she does.

Re: the original YouTube link, it makes it even more gratifying to know that she has genuine raw musical talent, and is fuelling Lady Gaga with something outside of Autotune.
posted by saturnine at 1:10 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


exactly what we need a popstar to be right now in an age of celebrity being basically about denigrating women down to sneak flashes of their labia for our viewing pleasure.

You know, while I appreciate the sentiment, she -is- pretty much scantily clad for most of the video. Also looks to have been coached in better choreography and dieting then the Poker Face vid. So, yeah, sigh, the objectification train keeps on a chuggin' CHOO CHOO.

But it totally #!()%* derails when she wears a huge red ... mesh?
posted by cavalier at 1:28 PM on November 18, 2009


I think I have a lot to say about the trajectory from Trent Reznor to Lady Gaga

I think a more apt comparison is Marilyn Manson.

As do I. Reznor never set out to be a grandiose performer, and his personal tragedies were genuine and secreted away, revealed only through the music, not pulled out and exaggerated for elaborate stageshows. He's never been a character, he's always been a very real flawed human being. I don't have a lot of time for the way Marilyn Manson planned out and executed his own failings, but I do for Reznor's courage to scale and conquer the obstacles that have been thrown his way.
posted by saturnine at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


So the obvious next question is, how much of what we see in the video and in the stage choreography is hers, and not some producers?

Because god forbid a woman could be any kind of genius?
posted by cillit bang at 1:31 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


> > You know, while I appreciate the sentiment, she -is- pretty much scantily clad for most of the video.

There's a vast difference between being scantily clad and being sexual. You only have to compare say, Beyonce's Video Phone that features her with the Bad Romance video (where she sports an exaggerated anorexic-looking spine sticking through her skin). Or Lady Gaga's paparazzi shots to, let's have a random example, (NSFW) Jodie Marsh (NSFW). Gaga's not flashing her labia or nipples, giving the paparazzi a chance at a candid shot at her body, or even dressing for the titillation of men, and that was my point. She's in control of her own body, and if people want to objectify her, that's on their own time.
posted by saturnine at 1:37 PM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Because god forbid a woman could be any kind of genius?
posted by cillit bang at 4:31 PM on November 18


Where the hell did that come from? Her music on its own isn't exactly rich in Pink Floyd style production subtleties. (And now that I think about it even Pink Floyd relied on graphic designer Storm Thorgerson to develop their visual imagery.) Gaga's music is very much stock-in-trade pop music. What is interesting is how much depth and meaning there is in the visual imagery in the video. But please forgive me for suggesting that a pop singer who's training is entirely musical may have had some creative assistance putting together multimillion dollar short films and extravagant stage routines, areas of endeavor she has absolutely no prior experience in whatsoever.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:47 PM on November 18, 2009


where she sports an exaggerated anorexic-looking spine sticking through her skin

Also some scenes where she has exaggerated anime facial features -- i dunno if that was digitally manipulated or what, though.
posted by empath at 1:50 PM on November 18, 2009


But please forgive me for suggesting that a pop singer who's training is entirely musical may have had some creative assistance putting together multimillion dollar short films and extravagant stage routines, areas of endeavor she has absolutely no prior experience in whatsoever.

Fine, except that she did-- she was doing low budget burlesque shows with Lady Starlight. And if you read her college essay up above, you'd know that she's studied media criticism and philosophy.
posted by empath at 1:51 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also -- just to use random example -- Marilyn Manson had no experience with that sort of thing either, but nobody doubted that he was the driving creative force behind his stage show and videos.

There's absolutely no reason to assume that Gaga is a manufactured pop act, and there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.
posted by empath at 1:56 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I didn't catch any of that stuff the first time I watched the video. It was just a fully of random imagery. It's interesting how they use 'photoshop' efects to make her eyes big in the 'ingenue' phase in the beginning of the video, where she's in the bath tub. The shots where's super thin, in what looks like a prison cell/shower stall/whatever. Fascinating video.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on November 18, 2009


Electric Six is great, and I like Lady Gaga, but they're nothing alike, apart from being ostentatious.

That Previously link has turned me onto Janelle Monáe, and now I'm happy.
posted by painquale at 2:13 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think what she's doing in her videos and with her costumes is more of a sendup of the sexualization/objectification of women than it is playing into those things. It's kind of crazy given the nature of the medium, but I think what we have here is a pop star, making great pop songs, and taking advantage of the opportunity to very cleverly commit acts of social commentary. Gaga seems to be what a lot of feminist thinkers were hoping Madonna was at her height, only much funnier and smarter, from where I'm sitting, anyway.
posted by padraigin at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


Oh god, I *just* saw that outfit at the VMAs. The look of horror and shock on the presenter's faces is worth a thousand Auto-tune popstars. Madonna, at her most shocking and headline grabbing, never got close to that kind of divine madness.

Funny to think Madonna was boundary-breaking isn;t it? Mackin' out with Black Jesus aside, it seems so petty and contrived now. "Sex" was awfully shallow, after all. She was always better as an x-factor talk-show guest, someone who could trusted to drop an f-bomb or storm out of the studio ..until, in a moment of pure pop poetry, she had her title taken from her by that bag of psychotic ferrets that calls itself Courtney Love DURING HER OWN INTERVIEW with Love babbling on and Madonna quietly trying to kill her with her mind. Oh, it was beautiful.
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Anything: "'Superficiality as art in itself' was already done to death by Warhol.
...
Oh, but even more so is insincerity, as seen by the volume of praise it gets in this thread being above zero.
"

LOL
posted by idiopath at 3:08 PM on November 18, 2009


I didn't know that the Oh-Uh-Oh-Oh song was called "Poker Face" until this Mefi thread, but now her appearance on this Kid Cudi song makes a lot more sense.

Janelle Monae and Laday Gaga are both worthwhile female in my book.
posted by hellx at 3:10 PM on November 18, 2009


edit: ...both worthwhile female artists in my book.
posted by hellx at 3:11 PM on November 18, 2009


Yeah, I think what she's doing in her videos and with her costumes is more of a sendup of the sexualization/objectification of women

You know, maybe. But I genuinely think she's living out the insanity of fame in real time and letting us watch the results. It's like she's taking every pop star breakdown, slowing it down, and adding costumes.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:20 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Plus, you know, the best 'acoustic' cover of Poker Face is this one.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:23 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gaga's shtick is done a thousand times better by Electric Six, and as a bonus, their music doesn't suck.


And out come the rockists...
posted by codacorolla at 3:33 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


YES YES YES

The thing that keeps me relentlessly infatuated with Gaga is this: she's smarter than her target consumer, yet she finds ways to pander to both the intelligentsia and popular culture simultaneously in order to achieve phenomenal record sales and generate insane amounts of press just by walking into the street. And for once, it's not because she's some surgeried vision of blonde, unachievable perfection. There is a starkness to her that makes her both plain and stunning at the same time, like a young Barbra Streisand. This has been frequently achieved by other artists, but not in the US, across Asia and all of Europe at the same time. (At least, not since, say, Grace Jones or David Bowie). She's purposefully obscured her face -- the one thing most frequently used to sell albums by solo pop female artists -- for the majority of the press push of her first album.

Her barely-there outfits force you to see her as a commodity, and confronted with her near-nudity on a daily basis, she has managed to de-sexualize the persona entirely. You never see Gaga out with a date. Her date to the VMAs? KERMIT THE FUCKING FROG. She doesn't want men to fantasize about her so much, but she will demand their attention.

As she slowly reveals her face to us with each new video, becoming more and more vulnerable, her toughest critics are being forced to assess her not just as an artist, but as a human being. A young girl -- which she is, but doesn't present to the world as her identity due to the rampant criticism that would be levied by the press and others who simply don't -- and won't, not ever -- get it. Once you become a girl to have a crush on, other girls are allowed to compare themselves to you, to say, "I'm thinner, she's taller, I'm prettier, but she's richer" and other such vapid analyses that totally distract from the music and the art itself.

Yet, her singles (and probably most of her new album) are ALSO presented as a commodity in and of themselves. They are wildly successful (she's just broken some kind of record by having all four of her debut singles go to number one... could cite, but about to leave work) worldwide, not just in the mainstream market, in the dance clubs or in video format. Each thing she produces is a standalone success.

I realize lots of people criticize her for trying too hard. Well, what's the pursuit of fame expected to be, exactly? Subtle? Quiet? Demure? NO THANK YOU.

I also noticed a scene in Bad Romance where her makeup is done exactly like Kat Von D's.

There's so much meta going on in that video, and in her entire artistic oevre, that I have some kind of nerdy temporary ischemic attack whenever I see her.

LADY GAGA IF YOU READ THIS I LOVE YOU LET'S HANG OUT!!!!

Seriously, though. Given a budget and the right collaborators, this is precisely how I would plot the course to stardom. Hell, this is how I'd dress EVERY DAY. I've NEVER been jealous, physically and mentally and emotionally, of a pop artist's music video before now. Not truly. I came close a couple times before, but schadenfreude and insecurity crept in during the fangirling. This time, it's true love.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:34 PM on November 18, 2009 [44 favorites]


LADY GAGA IF YOU READ THIS I LOVE YOU LET'S HANG OUT!!!!

We need to somehow organize some kind of metafilter meet-up/love-in with miss gaga...
posted by empath at 3:44 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm indifferent to the music at best, but I like her decadent, eye-popping visual sensibility.
posted by knoyers at 3:46 PM on November 18, 2009


Wow, Janelle Monáe is awesome. Never heard of her before this thread. BIG talent. New girlcrush!
posted by Asparagirl at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2009


Where the hell did that come from?

Your first question about her as an artist ("how much of what we see is hers, and not some producers?") is to ask for it to be disproved that she isn't a clueless bimbo.
posted by cillit bang at 3:55 PM on November 18, 2009


She's talented, no question. She's probably a genius in that she has manipulated, mocked, and embraced the vapid diva archetype. She is the Andy Kaufman of pop and that's a hell of a thing.
posted by chairface at 3:55 PM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


But I genuinely think she's living out the insanity of fame in real time and letting us watch the results. It's like she's taking every pop star breakdown, slowing it down, and adding costumes.

To add another level of brilliance, she does all this while maintaining a level of anonymity (through the outrageous costuming) that would probably allow her to walk down the street unnoticed most places. Think about that.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:19 PM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


You know, there are less than a handful of Anti-Gaga comments on this thread. Since we all love (or at least tolerate) her, I think it's safe to declare her our Queen. And it'll be better than when 4Chan tried that, because it won't divide the site, and it won't get creepy like when a group of two million anime nerds hound over a 16 year old girl.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:39 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet she's a MeFite. Come out, Stef, stop lurking!
posted by naju at 4:42 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I misspelled oeuvre in my haste to praise.

Man, she's never going to let me borrow that Rings of Saturn metal corset now. :(
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:45 PM on November 18, 2009


if i win user number 100000 she can have it.
posted by empath at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


mccarty.tim: I think it's safe to declare her our Queen.
Wait, so you're saying BOXXY is a Masonic hermaphrodite? Who woulda thunk it.
posted by funkbrain at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2009


And yes, Lady Gaga is the love child of Grace Jones and Bootsy Collins.
posted by funkbrain at 5:21 PM on November 18, 2009


Electric Six is great, and I like Lady Gaga, but they're nothing alike, apart from being ostentatious.

They've both overwrought dance-floor monsters.
posted by funkbrain at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


If she was as talented as she is, and got a recording deal, she'd have a fan base but very little publicity.

Since she glams out, she gets lots of publicity. Just think of the number of times we've talked about her here, versus someone like, say, Neko Case.

So she's going to retire young on a big pile of money, and live the rest of her life the way she wants, occasionally popping in for a guest appearance somewhere if her investments don't work out. Sounds like the way to ride the fame spiral to me.
posted by davejay at 5:36 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't care what anybody says I think Lady Gaga is fucking awesome. The dance pop aint my cup of tea stylistically. But. It takes balls to go all out fucked up Art Freak Pop Star/Bjork style like that. Anybody can do that bland Kelly Clarkson style bullshit. I hope she makes a kajillion dollars.
posted by tkchrist at 5:57 PM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


And how!

I just need to say that since this comment earlier today I think I've listened / watched the Bad Romance vid like 100 times. Seriously. Absolutely stunned by her brilliance. (The OP vid is good, too. ;))
posted by cavalier at 5:59 PM on November 18, 2009


We need to somehow organize some kind of metafilter meet-up/love-in with miss gaga...

We need to somehow persuade La Gaga to join Metafilter, so that in the future we can refer to her as "Metafilter's own Lady Gaga."

So the obvious next question is, how much of what we see in the video and in the stage choreography is hers, and not some producers?

I'm assuming that you didn't intend it this way, so you know, no worries, but what people might find annoying about this question is the suggestion that she less accomplished if she isn't solely responsible for everything in her performances. Few musicians meet this demand and even fewer popular musicians. That great choreography in Stop Making Sense? Toni Basil came up with that. What irks me just a little is the implicit auteurism, the suggestion that a collaborative performance or a work of art must be less accomplished than the work of a single creative genius.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:45 PM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


octobersurprise: "What irks me just a little is the implicit auteurism, the suggestion that a collaborative performance or a work of art must be less accomplished than the work of a single creative genius."

I have met a few real geniuses, and funny thing, every single one of them had a circle of hangers on and admirers and collaborators in their lives that did a measurable amount of the work the genius was credited for and got varying degrees of recognition for it. And then there is the girlfriend/boyfriend who picks up the slack with housework errands etc. when the genius is hot on the trail of something important etc. Every genius I have ever met is a figurehead for a small village of creative people.
posted by idiopath at 7:01 PM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


I thought Just Dance was mediocre-to-annoying and honestly hated Love Game. But damn, with the advent of Paparazzi and Bad Romance, I've become a convert. She is nothing short of brilliant, perhaps the best thing to come along this decade.
posted by desjardins at 7:27 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Could anyone in the house have predicted the rise of this?

I don't know -- was anyone in the house a marketing genius?
posted by collywobbles at 7:59 PM on November 18, 2009


I already had nightmares featuring that song on repeat after watching her on Gossip Girl, damnit now it's going to happen again!
Oh hell, I love you Gaga, let's have a dance party! We'll invite Guillermo Del Toro, it'll be a blast.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:25 PM on November 18, 2009


I think it's funny just how much Unicorn on the cob has overthought this.

In the Bad Romance video, she plays a traficked prostitute, but as she is sold, she is dressed as different pop stars. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, and probably some others I'm not catching; young women who were shoehorned by their handlers into larger than life personae, only to be abandoned, as people, to the ravages of infamy.

Huh? Christina Aguilera has never been "abandoned to the ravages of infamy". In fact, she broke away from the persona she was marketed as initially, fought with her label, and established her own career path on the back of her initial success. She has gone from success to success and is a married mother with a stable and some might say (though not me) 'boring' life to the celebrity watchers. She's a businesswoman, producer, singer-songwriter, and is making her film debut soon.

Comparisons to Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse are way, way off base.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:35 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what? I'm so for the Gaga on Mefi thing, I'm willing to pitch in $5 of my own money so that she doesn't have to pay for it herself. Just send me the Paypal link, Cortex. If that doesn't win her over, I don't know what will.

Okay, I guess it is kind of hard to type while wearing metal fishnet fingernails...
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:55 PM on November 18, 2009


You know, until today I was only tangentially aware of who or what Lady GaGa was. I have now watched the "Bad Romance" video about twenty times and found myself creeping out my fellow dinner party guests tonight by repeatedly muttering "Ra Ra Ah Ah Ah Ra Ma Ra Ma Ma"" while passing the butter.

Thank you Metafilter!
posted by thivaia at 10:31 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have rarely felt this way, but I want to see Gaga in concert so badly I can taste it. The Whelk called her a rococo disco fairy princess (or something)--and he's right. So is hermitosis.

I firmly believe Gaga is the next Madonna--a chameleon-artist with chops and excellent business sense, who in twenty or thirty years will have the same kind of continuing global reach that Madge does now. However--and this is the difficult bit--Gaga will need to find ways of completely changing her image and persona while remaining exactly the same. See Ciccone, M for the blueprint.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:47 PM on November 18, 2009


I am shocked and surprised to find a relatively upbeat reaction coming from Metafilter about an artist I have actually heard of. Usually the only stuff that gets positive mentions are bands that have like 17 fans and 14 of those live in Williamsburg. It's like Pitchfork around here, only with more snark.
posted by Justinian at 11:14 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


When was the last time that a 90s hardcore rave hoover synth was in a #1 record?:

Compare the hoover sound at :54 in the Bad Romance video to:

Joey Beltram - Mentasm
posted by empath at 11:30 PM on November 18, 2009


I think it's funny just how much Unicorn on the cob has overthought this.

To be fair to Unicorn on the Cob, it was me that overthunk that plate of beans, after watching the Bad Romance video twice on very little sleep.

I wasn't comparing Lady GaGa to Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse. She is specifically styled like them in the video. In the scene where she is being "auctioned" she is dressed like, and dancing like Britney Spears. When she is with the man who purchased her at the end of the video, she is made up like Amy Winehouse.

I am aware that Christina Aguilera wasn't "abandoned to the ravages of infamy." It's just part of the theme that she's presenting - that of a young woman being made into a pop star and auctioned to the highest bidder. And she is styled like Aguilera near the end of the video.

There are probably some references I'm missing, because, contrary to my contributions to this thread, I don't really listen to much pop music.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:05 AM on November 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I already had nightmares featuring that song on repeat after watching her on Gossip Girl, damnit now it's going to happen again!

Yay! I thought I was alone in the intersection of MeFites and GG watchers! Also, I thought that whole NYU alumna thing was a concoction of the show, but I guess it's real -- good link to that video, hermitosis. (I thought her appearance on that show was spot on -- her performance in front of all of those students while those collegey love triangle scenes were going on, her performance of actually being on that kind of show -- totally amazing in sending up the zeitgeist. GG is the ultimate guilty pleasure -- watch it, and it might end the fight for that phrase.)

Just think of the number of times we've talked about her here, versus someone like, say, Neko Case.

Neko Case does get mentioned pretty regularly around here. Also, do you all really think that Lady Gaga's consumers aren't "in on the joke"? I guess 13 year olds wouldn't be, but I think they are unconsciously responding to more than the surface of the music, don't you? I think it's hard to watch her videos and only think about the actual face value of the poppy lyrics. Also, I think older teenagers/college-age fans (who are probably a huge part of her audience) are probably taking those same philosophy and semiotics courses she did, and, well as a former self-important college student, I would wager they are probably thinking they are the only ones "in on the joke."
posted by bluefly at 4:13 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree much of the commentary here: talented, genius, love her, Matthew Barney for the people, etc. GMTA (M=MeFites :))

About the product placement choices, though -- I'd love to read some more analysis or insight into that. Or just read about product placement in music vids in general. Because with all the aforementioned irony and satire, I have trouble "reading" the prominent brand placement in this video. If that makes sense?

also,

.... the "Bad Romance" video, which makes me wish I was in high school so that its whooshing flames could have burned the closet down around me.
posted by hermitosis at 7:45 AM on November 18 [9 favorites has favorites +] [!]


Hermitosis, I want to marry you.

(by "marry" I mean "attach my chubby ass to your side then, say, go out clubbing and you go flirt with hot guys and I go suck down cape cods and adorkably dance amongst the crowds and get cooed over. then we regroup when the bar closes and go for breakfast.")
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:21 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


If a month ago someone came to me and said "In a few weeks time, you'll spend the better part of an afternoon watching videos of Lady Gaga songs with genuine interest" I'd tell him to never refrain from taking his meds.

Congratulations, MetaFilter, you've done it again.

Still don't like her music, though.
posted by Bangaioh at 5:36 AM on November 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm 89% sure the product placement is a big metajoke on her sponsors. I mean, she makes the vodka into the drug that makes her a sex slave. And I'm not sure how Compaq feels about their laptops being used to auction off sex slaves. Clearly, her sponsors are being taken for a ride, just like the guy in the golden jaw in the video who thinks he's getting laid but then gets burned to death.

If Nintendo were a sponsor, that would make my freakin' year. The company too wimpy to put a red cross on a hospital in Earthbound now approves of a maffioso using their hardware to bid on human sex traffic.

While I don't want Gaga to be scared away from doing this kind of stunt again, I would love to see a lawsuit emerge, just to see how it develops. Especially to hear the defense say, in court, how vodka, as portrayed in the video, is a fun beverage to drink in the club.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:44 AM on November 19, 2009


Guys, guys!! I love the tentatacle, too!

No snark intended -- I have nothing but adoration for Gaga. But as a mere mortal, I fear her as well.
posted by trunk muffins at 6:29 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


So I listened to a preview of the new album and it is fantastic. What I wanted to mention, though, is that she does actually use auto tune on two, three tracks. It feels like she uses them for the T-Pain-ish robot/artificial quality they bring as refrains, not to replace her voice, as she belts around them quite handsomely.
posted by cavalier at 7:05 AM on November 19, 2009


Also, do you all really think that Lady Gaga's consumers aren't "in on the joke"? I guess 13 year olds wouldn't be, but I think they are unconsciously responding to more than the surface of the music, don't you?

Yeah, but a lot of pop music ends up being the soundtrack to a lot of people's lives, through radio, commercials, film, etc. The great thing about pop music that's subversive is that it does reach the largest audience, a lot of whom are oblivious to the point, but that makes it sort of amusing. Some people will get it accidentally, by singing along and suddenly realizing what they're singing.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:26 AM on November 19, 2009


There's a reason I went as Viking Lady Gaga for Halloween. She's absofreakinglutely amazing. My new hero.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:57 AM on November 19, 2009


And the kicker is she's using her considerable skills to turn out not necessarily terrible tunes and making huge sums off people who aren't in on the joke.

I appreciate Lady GaGa on a much deeper level than you.

Not to single you out in particular, but this whole "How droll that fans of her "music" don't understand her like we do," thing is pretty goofy. GaGa makes excellent pop music, in addition to having wonderfully weird imagery and great fashion, and best of all, doesn't take it all too seriously (unlike say, Marylin Manson, who oozed "trying to hard"). She makes damn good dance music and catchy lyrics, and I think she gives that priority over some half-baked semiotics thesis. Which is why she's good. If she valued the whole sekrit-message concept over producing quality music, no-one would give a shit outside some of bored college students.
posted by Snyder at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not to single you out in particular, but this whole "How droll that fans of her "music" don't understand her like we do," thing is pretty goofy.

I think most of her 'fans' get it on some level... The people who just like the beat or whatever probably don't care enough to look, which is totally fine.
posted by empath at 9:59 AM on November 19, 2009


Who exactly is Gaga channeling here?

ronnie spector - and i'm still hearing laura nyro, too

gaga's spent a LOT of time studying the old school
posted by pyramid termite at 10:24 AM on November 19, 2009


gaga's spent a LOT of time studying the old school

Yeah. I would totally dismiss her as being manufactured but seeing her perform live with just a piano (as Gaga, not the video in the OP, which also shows skill) made me realize she actually know what she's doing. Girl's got chops.
posted by GuyZero at 1:19 PM on November 19, 2009


Also, throwing her foot up on the keyboard at the end was pretty awesome. Elton John would be proud.
posted by GuyZero at 1:20 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm liking the song, Bad Romance. I can take or leave the video. I will certainly check out more of her stuff.

I'll be 51 in February so I'm a bit surprised. I thought I'd pretty much solidified (calcified?) my musical tastes a while ago. I rather enjoy being wrong in this case.
posted by Splunge at 2:25 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, Metafilter needs a time machine. I wish I could see the threads that would have been when the intellectuals first caught on to Buster Keaton.

"Hey, you seen that Buster Keaton flick?"
"I've seen a few. He's the dummy who isn't as good as Charlie Chaplin, right?"
"He's no dummy. You ever notice how the environment he is in is absurd, and how everything happens as a result of accident? It's essentially existentialism distributed to the public at large."
"Ha, you're overthinking it like a plate of beans."
THIRTY MINUTES LATER
"OMG! I love Keaton! He's brilliant! Do you think he's a Mefite? DELURK BUSTER!"
"Hey, guys, check out this thing I painted after I saw Keaton's latest!"
"[comment deleted: derail] Bring it to MeFi Projects along with your aardvark, Dali."
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:11 PM on November 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Hmm, prior to this thread I haven't even considered listening to this artist. However I must admit that she's fascinating simply as a persona.

I found this interview to be kind of interesting. Half way through she flips up the shades on her glasses and seem to be more frank for a momemnt, saying something like " [I'm very interested in being an interesting commercial artist]". Oh and watch until the end for some strange comedy...
posted by captain cosine at 8:26 PM on November 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was reserving judgment on Lady Gaga until I had time to check her out properly, and this thread gave me the nudge. Brilliant, for the many reasons already noted; I've actually pre-ordered a pop album for the first time in years. That thread from May is hilarious in its off-base snarky predictions.
posted by rory at 2:23 AM on November 20, 2009


"The people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, just rattle your [fucking] jewelry."
Lady Gaga to sing for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance at the Opera House in Blackpool.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:19 PM on November 20, 2009


And yes, Lady Gaga is the love child of Grace Jones and Bootsy Collins.

Okay, I felt pretty uninspired to look up this young lady's music as the computer I'm using just stutters and starts when trying to load video but that comment made me actually have desire to find out more about this artist.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:43 PM on November 20, 2009


mccarty.tim: ". I wish I could see the threads that would have been when the intellectuals first caught on to Buster Keaton."

This come close, Adorno wrote about Keaton (in Minima Moralia I think?). I had a mentor who was a pioneer of electronic and computer music, and a cybernetician, who would make his students all watch this film.
posted by idiopath at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2009


Because I don't see it already linked above & had trouble finding it again, another couple of songs by The Stefani Germanotta playing in 2006 @ The Bitter End in NYC:

D'yer Maker

Hollywood

And Again, Again at the Knitting Factory
posted by morganw at 6:42 PM on November 21, 2009


I'd be interested to see the Lady Starlight shows, but I can't find any videos of them.
posted by empath at 9:14 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga on the AMA's with her new song Speechless, which is actually a pretty amazing song.
posted by empath at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, some of her performance of Speechless at MOCA
posted by empath at 2:04 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yowza. At the American Music Awards. The best part is... who is that? Jay-Z? at the end clapping with this "wtf?" look on his face...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:16 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga on the AMA's with her new song Speechless, which is actually a pretty amazing song.

The song title perfectly describes my reaction to both the song and the staging.

I correct my previous statement: Gaga may not be the next Madonna. She may well be what Madonna wished she could have been.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:23 PM on November 23, 2009


Each age gets the Madonna that it deserves, dirtynumbangelboy. Each age gets the Madonna that it deserves.

I enjoyed the singles that came off of The Fame well enough -- smart lyrics, fun dadaist videos, musically more interesting than almost anything else you might hear on the what is the name of that device again? radio. Especially "Poker Face". Still, I wasn't entirely convinced that she could be more than superficial and the celebrity-parody aspect seemed much too early for her career to tackle. But I am really loving "Bad Romance". Where PF was cynical and isolated, the artist swimming with ideas she feared to express, BR is her coming out and screaming them aloud. It's truly bringing things to an epic level, and I deem her worthy of the effort.

I do concur with bitter-girl.com -- if anyone out there has videos of the stuff she did with Lady Starlight it would be fascinating to see. (And what's up with that? Did she climb over and ditch her?)
posted by dhartung at 8:08 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just downloaded the EP. I have all these bottles lined up so I can smash them as I listen.
posted by hermitosis at 8:37 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not to liveblog my reaction to the album, but anyone mistaking her for another pop princess should consider the following lyrics from the new album.

From "Monster":

"We French kissed on a subway train / He tore my clothes right off / He ate my heart and then he ate my brain."

From "Dance In the Dark":

"Find your freedom in the music / find your Jesus / find your Kubrick"
posted by hermitosis at 9:03 PM on November 23, 2009


Hermitosis, my understanding is only the edited version is out now. Are you hearing the unedited tracks, and if so, where did you purchase?

I ask because I think editing out the word bitch is asinine and ridiculous and Gaga herself wouldn't want me to listen to the edited version of Fame Monster.

I really wanted the mega box set with a lock of her hair in it... it could live in the closet with all my Spice Girls dolls/video games/autographs/all their autobiographies/my 13-year-old self's dreams of stardom
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:13 PM on November 23, 2009


Seriously, the super deluxe fame monster bundle comes with autographs and weird stuff and it's only $115.

maybe there are unicorns in it somewhere
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:22 PM on November 23, 2009


I love Gaga. She is brilliant.

Also: am I the only one kind of terrified by her Bad Romance video? I might have nightmares of the freaky Where the Wild Things Are/Pan's Labyrinth creatures.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:25 PM on November 23, 2009


According to the reviews, the Amazon MP3 version of the deluxe [explicit] version isn't really [explicit].
posted by dirigibleman at 9:28 PM on November 23, 2009


Hermitosis, my understanding is only the edited version is out now. Are you hearing the unedited tracks, and if so, where did you purchase?

I wasn't aware of this -- I bought mp3's from Amazon, and have listened to the whole thing, and if it's edited I don't know where or how.
posted by hermitosis at 9:34 PM on November 23, 2009


From the Super-Deluxe thingy-do:

Pre-Order Lady Gaga Super Deluxe 'The Fame Monster' Bundle and receive the exclusive slim-fit T-shirt at a special price!

Oh, perfect! I'm a 40-pounds overweight 30-something guy! This will totally get the chicks!

OK, the lock of Lady Gaga's hair is creepy even for Lady Gaga.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:45 PM on November 23, 2009


If I get the set, I will totally take a picture of me with Gaga's hair and make it my user profile pic.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:53 PM on November 23, 2009


I just love the fact that Lady Gaga's official online store has a SCHOOL SUPPLIES section.
posted by desjardins at 9:57 PM on November 23, 2009


Geez, Gaga was hanging out down the street a couple hours ago. If I'd have known we were being such teenage girls about it I woulda gone and snapped a picture with her and set it as my profile pic, just for the whuffie.
posted by Justinian at 10:30 PM on November 23, 2009


I guess 13 year olds wouldn't be, but I think they are unconsciously responding to more than the surface of the music, don't you?
The music dorks I hung out with when I was 13 would totally have gotten it. They wouldn't all have the terminology or context to describe what they were seeing, but they would have seen it. Then again I think I hung out with some unusual music dorks. I wonder what happened to those guys.
posted by hattifattener at 12:21 AM on November 24, 2009


The music dorks I hung out with when I was 13 would totally have gotten it.

Yeah, I distinctly remember worshiping the Cranberries in middle school after "Zombie" came out and I realized that their music was, like, about stuff. Especially after I saw the video with those horrific, screaming children.
posted by hermitosis at 6:02 AM on November 24, 2009


OMG the mp3's I bought are totally not explicit.

:''(
posted by hermitosis at 11:56 AM on November 24, 2009


Neither is the 2-disc "The Fame Monster" set I bought yesterday, hermitosis. I'm not really sure what's going on. It's very weird.

apart from that though OMG I listened to it on the way home from the record store OMGOMGOMG!!! though now I'm kind of wishing I'd held out for the Lady Gaga hair, get it, she's selling pieces of herself to her fans. ahem. that's enough now.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2009


Lady Gaga has some difficulty getting through Pokerface without crying after her fans sing Happy Birthday.
posted by empath at 11:18 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


"i love her so much! no homo he he he"

I inexplicably continue reading youtube comments.
posted by idiopath at 11:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, I just listened to her new record tonight, and I'm sorry but it's fucking awesome fun. I'm a fan.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:14 AM on November 25, 2009


Hmph. I got hooked on her two accoustic performances, migrated into her pop stuff, and then watched her videos. Unfortunately, I saw "Bad Romance" and "Paparazzi" a couple of times each before watching "Poker Face", and had disastrously high expectations for what turned out to be such unprovocative bubblegum. So much squandered potential there.

But the music: yes.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:00 AM on November 25, 2009




Heh. I sent the link to a friend involved with computer graphics, saying "here's an amusingly clunky video."

With the big eyes, she recognized part of her software tutorial for her husband's software, used without any changes whatsoever.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:43 PM on November 28, 2009


Before Lady Gaga there was Isabella Blow
posted by prettypretty at 4:29 AM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking about this too much lately, and I've figured out--maybe--one way for Gaga to continue going after the first album, while avoiding the trap of falling into Same Old Shit Yet Again for her second-third-etc albums.

Since she's been consciously acting out the trajectory of some celebrity at the peak of their fame, the next logical step is to act out the fall. Which should quite neatly allow her to transition away from the totally insane aspects of the act (which I adore, don't get me wrong) into something more lasting, while keeping the fans on her side.

You heard it here first!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:28 AM on November 30, 2009


« Older straight over their heads   |   Remittances reversed Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post