The Evolution of Lady Gaga
October 24, 2016 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Meet her newest incarnation: Joanne. "She’s Burt Bacharach in sequined hot pants; she’s a Liza Minnelli for the Beyoncé era; she’s Streisand Spice. She projects the kind of timelessness that makes it very easy to forget that Lady Gaga is just 30, a ’90s kid trying more to be slightly more like Cole Porter than Kurt Cobain."
posted by I_Love_Bananas (46 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
she’s Streisand Spice.

Good grief, one hopes not.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:01 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I miss absurd Gaga. :(
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:03 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Even though it's not really her fault, I'll never forgive her for the boring mess that was American Horror Story: Hotel.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I saw her recent, but previous incarnation where she performed with Tony Bennett. She is/was magnificent.

I also read somewhere that she was a part of the Johns Hopkins study where they identify kids with unusual mathematical ability and give them additional help. Both her and Zuckerberg of Facebook fame were part of that coterie of kids. Not surprising at all, as musical and math abilities seem to be correlated.
posted by indianbadger1 at 9:13 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


she’s Streisand Spice.

She's been gunning for that so hard it's turning into self parody. Like end-game is being a Movie Star.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Joanne is a good album, but won't be my favorite Gaga. Still, she's this generation's best shot at being a David Bowie -- a cerebral, calculated artist who tries everything under the sun at least once.
posted by ELF Radio at 9:24 AM on October 24, 2016 [33 favorites]


Not surprising at all, as musical and math abilities seem to be correlated.

Funny, I was a part of that same Johns Hopkins program and have less musical talent in my entire body than Lady Gaga has in her little finger.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:29 AM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


My cousin is one of her backup dancers (!!) and all the stories I've heard about being on tour make her sound like the coolest person to work with, who doesn't take her fame for granted, and who genuinely loves the people around her who make her stuff possible. Who knows how much spin that is (I'm sure she has a pretty heavy reality distortion field around her) but it's a far cry from say the Biebs.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:32 AM on October 24, 2016 [40 favorites]


I know someone who toured with her as a lighting designer and he said the same thing: she really appreciates the people who work with her and is very sweet and humble in person. So I don't think that is just spin.


Same friend could never get some of his family members to believe what he did for a living, so he just started telling them he worked at Jiffy Lube.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2016 [32 favorites]


Heard A-Yo around a week ago, and it is my favorite Gaga song, hands down. I've been hoping for her to do pop/funk/whatever in a less "wall of sound" compressed ear-assault production, and it seems like she's there.

I hope she keeps going. She has amazing talent, but I am 45 years old and am just not a fan of today's (and the last 15 years' worth) production style.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:52 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


JaredSeth: "Not surprising at all, as musical and math abilities seem to be correlated.

Funny, I was a part of that same Johns Hopkins program and have less musical talent in my entire body than Lady Gaga has in her little finger.
"

Maybe u got a lot of math in your fingers
posted by boo_radley at 9:52 AM on October 24, 2016 [14 favorites]


I miss absurd Gaga. :(

That stuff is a wearing grind to keep-up, year-after-year. Eventually, even someone as young as GaGa, says "Enough!"
posted by Thorzdad at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


I miss absurd Gaga. :(

That stuff is a wearing grind to keep-up, year-after-year. Eventually, even someone as young as GaGa, says "Enough!"


Imagine David Bowie doing the Ziggy Stardust character to the end.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Saw her on SNL this weekend, and we actually watched the entire song instead of skipping ahead, which is what we usually do after the first 10 seconds or so of the music (and most of the skits). Coming from us, that is high praise.
posted by BentFranklin at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


SNL performance didn't do much for me, but that's hamstrung by being an SNL performance.
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2016


I'm not a huge fan but my gf loves her. I have to say her new album is musically solid. The production on this one is an interesting blend of genres, this time with a more roots/americana kick to it. There's a few songs on this that I think are instant classics.
posted by grobertson at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


She’s Burt Bacharach

Sold.
posted by Naberius at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Imagine David Bowie doing the Ziggy Stardust character to the end.

I think he came pretty close to doing that with the Thin White Duke
posted by thelonius at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


thelonius: "I think he came pretty close to doing that with the Thin White Duke"

I just saw Bowie again in "The Prestige" playing Tesla, and while his performance there sort-of fits this thesis, I would still say on balance, no.
posted by chavenet at 10:26 AM on October 24, 2016


"Not surprising at all, as musical and math abilities seem to be correlated."

I'm going to put that one in the "Smart people are good at lots of things" folder until somebody comes with a generally dumb good mathy musician.
posted by srboisvert at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2016


She's no Burt Bacharach, but "Perfect Illusion" is about as perfect a 3:17 song with callbacks to the 80s as you're going to get these days.
posted by blucevalo at 11:24 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


My cousin is one of her backup dancers (!!) and all the stories I've heard about being on tour make her sound like the coolest person to work with, who doesn't take her fame for granted, and who genuinely loves the people around her who make her stuff possible. Who knows how much spin that is (I'm sure she has a pretty heavy reality distortion field around her) but it's a far cry from say the Biebs.

That's cool to hear. She and I were bandmates as teenagers but since this was before Facebook, we fell out of touch. I've always wondered if Gaga is, in person, the same Stef I knew - inquisitive, probing, intellectually engaged, and extremely talented and driven.
posted by entropone at 11:25 AM on October 24, 2016 [25 favorites]


Music theory has no axiomatic foundation in modern mathematics yet the basis of musical sound can be described mathematically (in acoustics) and exhibits "a remarkable array of number properties". Elements of music such as its form, rhythm and metre, the pitches of its notes and the tempo of its pulse can be related to the measurement of time and frequency, offering ready analogies in geometry.

The attempt to structure and communicate new ways of composing and hearing music has led to musical applications of set theory, abstract algebra and number theory. Some composers have incorporated the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers into their work.


Wikipedia: Music and mathematics

posted by Celsius1414 at 11:27 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Double?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:29 AM on October 24, 2016


Heard A-Yo around a week ago, and it is my favorite Gaga song, hands down. I've been hoping for her to do pop/funk/whatever in a less "wall of sound" compressed ear-assault production, and it seems like she's there.

I hope she keeps going. She has amazing talent, but I am 45 years old and am just not a fan of today's (and the last 15 years' worth) production style.


I tend to be lukewarm about Gaga's studio tracks, but what sold me on her were the multiple videos of her doing Poker Face "live" in a TV studio. Each one was different, and the best ones had room for improvisation. Studio tracks with a compressed vocabulary for dynamics and tempo really don't do her justice.

I also thought she was a better match for Bennett than k. d. lang, since she can go just as big and brassy as him, while lang's strength is beautiful and smooth.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:30 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


She's no Burt Bacharach

Okay... returned, I guess?
posted by Naberius at 11:32 AM on October 24, 2016


I just saw Bowie again in "The Prestige" playing Tesla, and while his performance there sort-of fits this thesis, I would still say on balance, no.

What I mean is: Bowie almost didn't make it out of that phase alive, what with the haunted swimming pools and blow by the truckload.
posted by thelonius at 11:40 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't forget the subsisting only on milk and red peppers.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:50 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I tend to be lukewarm about Gaga's studio tracks, but what sold me on her were the multiple videos of her doing Poker Face "live" in a TV studio. Each one was different, and the best ones had room for improvisation.

She did start out as a jazz pianist, so this isn't surprising. It's just a shame that, as you say, that she's mostly known for her highly-produced studio tracks that don't play to her strength as an improviser. (She's crying all the way to the bank, I'm sure.)
posted by tobascodagama at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just hope that this doesn't mean there won't be any more egg entrances. I liked the first.
posted by andorphin at 12:03 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


yuck
posted by coolxcool=rad at 12:08 PM on October 24, 2016


I'm reminded of when she sang that tribute to The Sound of Music at the Oscars a few years back. It freaked the shit out of my then-roommate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:28 PM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Imagine David Bowie doing the Ziggy Stardust character to the end.

I think that level of commitment is only possible if, at the core, the character is who you Really are. Or, put another way, imagine Prince.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:25 PM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


I could take or leave Gaga, but her incarnation as Joanne reminds me of Streets of Fire, and I'm here for it.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:12 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Lady Gaga's live performance of Million Reasons this morning on Howard Stern
posted by The Gooch at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered if Gaga is, in person, the same Stef I knew - inquisitive, probing, intellectually engaged, and extremely talented and driven.

Signs point to yes.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:45 PM on October 24, 2016


Good for her. I love the way Linda Ronstadt switched genres even though not all the experiments were a success. Some of her Nelson Riddle collaborations have become the defining interpretation of those songs for me, and Canciones de mi Padre brought Mexican folk to an audience that was unlikely to have experienced it otherwise.

BTW, there are videos out there of Gaga's college peformances, before she became Gaga, and she's by no means limited to the pop styles she's known for now, and is very good.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:24 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who's always had an affinity for mathematics and an inability to carry a tune or learn an instrument, the "music and math are related" thing always fell flat to me.

Music is related to mathematics about as well as sports is related to physics or physiology, and yet the best athletes are neither physicists nor physiologists. We can describe a lot of things and find mathematical relationships, but it doesn't seem like it means that much.
posted by explosion at 4:30 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Joanne" is a good album. Not as good as "Born This Way," much better than "Artpop" (which I listened to twice and forgot about). "Angel Down" is the best thing on the album, for me...and I liked the whole thing. I'm glad she's going around reinventing herself, I think she's brilliant and no one can change my mind.
posted by lhauser at 4:31 PM on October 24, 2016


I'm reminded of when she sang that tribute to The Sound of Music at the Oscars a few years back.

Which reminded me of Bing Crosby and David Bowie's Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy. Interpreting by genre always makes me chafe a little when a critical argument seeks to assign value because that's not what formalism is meant to evaluate.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:43 PM on October 24, 2016


Wait, I thought Vegas Lounge American Songbook Gaga was done, and she was onto "love child of Cher and Emmylou Harris" Gaga?
posted by Sara C. at 7:31 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Once you get past the artifice, and with meat dresses and the like it's maybe hard to do, I think Lady Gaga's music is actually rather dull. I can appreciate that she's talented in a driven, ambitious way, but, for me anyway, the music is really quite substance-less. All that said, this new incarnation sounds much more interested and I would be willing to check out her pared down--as in acoustic--songs.
posted by zardoz at 8:00 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was after her first appearance on Stern that I fell for her, and fell hard. Hearing her do Hair and Edge of Glory alone on a piano gave me life.
posted by archimago at 8:04 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kid brag story: when my middle child was a freshman at college in NYC, she booked her first real solo show at The Bitter End. Forget about booking her own show and getting paid cash money, nope. She was most thrilled that she was playing the SAME STAGE where Gaga began her career.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 12:38 PM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The production on this one is an interesting blend of genres, this time with a more roots/americana kick to it.

Yes! I was kind of taken aback at the FanFare comments about her performance on SNL, which implied she was doing either boring pop or conservative drag... neither of which really squares with the rockabilly direction she's taking (and which she'd signaled as far back as You and I).

Once you get past the artifice, and with meat dresses and the like it's maybe hard to do, I think Lady Gaga's music is actually rather dull.

The artifice is really well done, though! I mean, don't take it from me, take it from the actual music experts at Switched on Pop. Or just go back and listen to Paparazzi and Telephone, a couple of masterful pop gems.
posted by psoas at 4:13 PM on October 25, 2016


This happened.. and it was pretty damn entertaining. Girl can sing.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:43 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


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