Caught in a plaid romance
December 8, 2009 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Heard of Lady GaGa, and Bad Romance? Time to introduce Lady GapGap and Plaid Romance.

Apparently The Gap sent video equipment to all of their stores and asked employees to record a "Plaid Cheer" commercial. This is one of them.
posted by King Bee (172 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is fucking awesome. Also it'll spawn another Gaga lovethread, so win win!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:54 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


also I find it endlessly amusing that the fag in drag is the only one who gets the choreo
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ha. I was about to ask if this was a viral gap video, and thought it was not very good even if it was just some friends putting it together. Then I checked the more inside.

As a response to annoying middle-management "wear more flair" policy it's rather funny.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2009


644 views and 3 comments isn't quite viral yet.
posted by DU at 7:01 PM on December 8, 2009


DU: 644 views and 3 comments isn't quite viral yet.

I noticed that too, How did you come across it? is it known separately from YouTube around GAP?
posted by Blasdelb at 7:10 PM on December 8, 2009


I'll give the kids points for trying, but I had to stop early and watch the real thing twice before I could stop shaking.

I can quit any time I want, I swear.
posted by maudlin at 7:17 PM on December 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


Not why I joined Metafilter.
posted by kozad at 7:19 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I noticed that too, How did you come across it? is it known separately from YouTube around GAP?

It's known around GAP, and I thought it was a riot. Thought I'd share the love, no?
posted by King Bee at 7:25 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


how is this different from LARPing?
posted by Mach5 at 7:28 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh my goodness, can the next Columbus meetup be a giant Lady Gaga LARP? Please?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:31 PM on December 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


Nope. Couldn't watch Lady Gap Gap sing Plaid Romance past 30 seconds. Now, Bad Romance by Lady GaGa, I watch it daily, at least. But that's just me.
posted by wv kay in ga at 7:31 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, I know I'm veerrry late to the Lady Gaga thing, but having just watched that first video I think can say this:

1. Lady Gaga is the Madonna of our time.

meaning

2. She is seriously the shit.

(I have admittedly based this on a very small sample; my results may need to be verified.)
posted by crickets at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2009 [11 favorites]


If anyone wants to take a stab at filking Bad Romance, here's the background track and backing vocals.

Yes, it's filk. Deal.
posted by maudlin at 7:33 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


That guy looks hotter in heels than I do. The rest of his outfit - not so much.
posted by desjardins at 7:41 PM on December 8, 2009


I have seen, nay read, the Neutraface. This, dear King Bee, is no Neutraface. It is is neither bold, nor italic nor lithe and bearded. ergo it is an essential fail.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:55 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Free Lady GaGa Christmas song! It's about sex!
posted by dirigibleman at 7:58 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I have admittedly based this on a very small sample; my results may need to be verified.)

Consider your results peer reviewed and validated, my friend. She's the best parts of Madonna, David Bowie, Cher, Bette Midler, Meat Loaf, Prince, Peaches, Abba, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Manson and Malcolm McLaren distilled into scary celebity LSD and injected straight into your eyeballs.

Here, lookit her working the Ellen crowd. A real pro. And the performances are great too.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:05 PM on December 8, 2009 [18 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, you could look through my commenting history and find out I'm a damned Gaga fangirl, but I kind of wish this FPP and more meat to it. At least link to the competition info from Gap or other entrants or something or just other parodies separate from this Gap thing? I'm kind of curious about this competition now since I haven't heard anything about it before. And I seriously say this as someone who loves Gaga and worries post like this is going to wedge an even larger gap (lol get it?) in the Gaga and Non-Gaga factions in the Great "To Pokerface or Not Pokerface" Civil War of Metafilter and will only hurt the Ministry of Paparazzi's efforts to further spread the Gospel of La Donna della Gaga.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:07 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


(may her greatness be proclaimed upon the earth)
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:08 PM on December 8, 2009 [9 favorites]




I just see it being very funny!
posted by ara and spirit at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2009


Man, Plaid Romance was just painful to watch.

I'm going to forward it now.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:26 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Having watched several Plaid Cheer Off vids on youtube for context I will say that the marketing person who came up with this is a freaking genius. First of all "OMG I can't believe you are making me wear 30 pieces of flair", is clearly not the type of person Gap wants presenting its products. Any store not turing in a video clearly is so toxic that you can just close it or replace them wholesale. The forced cheer off has the effect of forcing all those people to the surface so you can fire them. Second the value of hiring tons of teenage employees and having them make videos of themselves talking about your products and making their friends watch clearly is creating more advertising views than a super bowl commercial. Also the number of gap stores making vids was certain to result in some kind of viral wackiness emerging.

OTOH It is a bit of a gamble since Lady Gaga's people will probably sue the crap out of them for using her song in an unlicensed capacity. Also with regard to other videos what if some idiot store manager records something scandalous. Parents could be involved, release forms may not have been signed. Frankly their general council is probably having a full on freakout conniption fit at the moment. Still overall the idea is genius and I commend whoever snuck this past the army of lawyers and snarky teenagers to get actually some mildly interesting videos up.
posted by humanfont at 8:32 PM on December 8, 2009


Pretty amusing stuff. It would have been better without the original vocals in the background, though.
posted by fantine at 8:36 PM on December 8, 2009


OTOH It is a bit of a gamble since Lady Gaga's people will probably sue the crap out of them for using her song in an unlicensed capacity.

That's the beauty of it. Since Gap is just asking for videos and not explicitly asking for them to infringe on any copyrights or trademarks, they won't be held liable. If something goes viral they get the benefits and the risks are limited to the creators.

Why no, I'm not a lawyer.
posted by ODiV at 8:41 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saw gaga live. (am totally bragging) It was fantastic, I never go see pop shows. Plaid romance? Neat idea, suffers a little on execution, but I guess I'm here talking about it.
posted by captaincrouton at 8:41 PM on December 8, 2009


Is this where we talk about loving Lady Gaga?

...and by talk, I mean scream incoherently, blubbering about her brilliance and how I may or may not want to have like ten thousand of her babies.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:57 PM on December 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


She's the best parts of Madonna, David Bowie, Cher, Bette Midler, Meat Loaf, Prince, Peaches, Abba, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Manson and Malcolm McLaren distilled into scary celebity LSD and injected straight into your eyeballs.

Words to live by.
posted by jokeefe at 9:02 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, I sometimes wish Vigilant Citizen was right about Gaga, that she was just a normal girl at NYU until a freak accident involving Electo-Concussive Therapy-style mind wiping left her in the state we see now, just like with Dr. Manhattan.

Cut to a montage beginning with young Stephani Germanotta accidentally plugging one too many things into a power strip. Roughly halfway through, the record label is measuring her up for a Kermit the Frog suit. "They are shaping me into something gaudy, something kept on high rotation." It ends with a commentator saying "I never said, 'Madonna exists, and she's a Free Mason.' What I said was,'Mind control exists, and it's masonic.'"
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:09 PM on December 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


is the "ga ga love" irony or am i just not "with it".

I spend all my time listening to indie rock from the mid-nineties and dancehall from the early oughts, so i know i'm not with it.
posted by djduckie at 9:16 PM on December 8, 2009


I'm still waiting for an explanation of Gaga's appeal.
posted by phrontist at 9:16 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have to say, I think I'm now compensating for all the irrational fandom I didn't participate in when I was a teen. I was too smug/had too much taste to listen to the top 40, and of course there was nobody like Lady Gaga at the time. Now that I've listen to Gaga, I love her like a 14 year old schoolgirl.

I'm seriously debating buying a ticket for her show in NYC. It'll be $50ish, and I don't go to concerts that often (more like ever, actually), I'm embarrassed to say I know zilch about the city or concert etiquette, but I'm pretty eager to see the madness in person.

I'd try to sum up in a brief sentence my favorite things about her, but I'm afraid Western keyboards just don't have enough characters to say it explicitly so... clever lyrics, catchy musicology, downright amazing choreography and showmanship, owns two Great Danes, and her CSpan (Also fun to see her name in the CSpan header, where you're used to seeing some Republican pull up a dumb chart that makes no sense) clip is really cool.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:17 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


From Jilder's link:

"The pop star mugs for the camera au naturel on this magazine cover."

I have $1 saying that the amount of combined makeup and airbrush paint on the magazine photo at least equals that that she wore for the visit with the queen.
posted by idiopath at 9:19 PM on December 8, 2009


is the "ga ga love" irony or am i just not "with it".

It's a weird bandwagon thing. Lady Gaga will suck their souls out whether or not their viewing her through the lens of some kind of post-modern performance act or whatever. It's some ultra-schlock to be sure.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


they're
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2009


fleetmouse: Madonna, David Bowie, Cher, Bette Midler, Meat Loaf, Prince, Peaches, Abba, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Manson and Malcolm McLaren"

I would add Grace Jones to that list. She shares more with Grace than Madonna I think.
posted by idiopath at 9:23 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I mentioned Lady Gaga to my 50ish year old mom, and she had no clue who she was, but I told her she would have been on my little sister's radio station. I pulled up the Poker Face music video on Youtube, and my mom took one look at it. Her response?

"Wouldn't she scare those dogs like that?"
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


mccarty.tim and I have the same experience. Up until this point, my devotion was saved for Julie Andrews and 20th Century German composers. I was way too cool for this "pop" stuff. And then Lady Gaga came along, and I wanted to hate her just like I hate all the other pop tarts out there - but I couldn't. I was absolutely defenseless from the first time I saw the Poker Face video.

Honesty, I'm grateful to her. Previously, I just looked at "fans" with derision. But now that I understand how helpless fandom can be - how little control over it you can have - I am probably much less of an insufferable prick.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:31 PM on December 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


exactly how clever is

let's have some fun
this beat is sick
i wanna take a ride on your disco stick


For some reason "disco stick" strikes me as a euphemism intended to refer only to the penises of gay men. I don't know why. I just doesn't seem like any straight would refer to their junk in that fashion.
posted by djduckie at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


*Straight man
posted by djduckie at 9:42 PM on December 8, 2009


And then Lady Gaga came along, and I wanted to hate her just like I hate all the other pop tarts out there - but I couldn't. I was absolutely defenseless from the first time I saw the Poker Face video.

I don't see how she's substantively different from, say, Britney, other than her affectedly demented touches (dancing with crutches! deliberately estranging costumes!) and infantile insouciance. Is it the ironic distance? The facile parody of celebrity that challenges nothing her target demo hasn't been hip to since at least the mid sixties? Is that really so edgy?

In b4 get off my lawn.
posted by phrontist at 9:47 PM on December 8, 2009


I really don't get Lady Gaga's appeal. Can someone explain it to me? She just strikes me as a hypersexual/androgynous/really fucking weird performer in the Ziggy Stardust mold, but with annoying top 40 songs instead of arguably cool songs. And you don't know that David Bowie is really under there. What am I missing?

IMO, her best song is done better by KiD CuDi (who I don't even like that much) and best by Lil Wayne.

Whatever you think of the misogyny, you can't help but love the first 45 secs of Wayne's version.
posted by jckll at 9:52 PM on December 8, 2009


I suppose objectively Lady Gaga is hot, but every time I try to envision her in a sexual/romantic context all I can see is her feasting on my blood, hissing like a mantis.

When the apocalypse comes, it will be Daft Punk and Lady Gaga battling for Earth's ashes on a plain of ruined dreams.

She's that great.
posted by Hollow at 10:05 PM on December 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


Jesus, people, if you don't like pop music, you don't like pop music. You don't have to condescendingly ask people to explain her to you or complain that it's been done before. Let it go.
posted by stavrogin at 10:06 PM on December 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


I like rap, I hate misogyny, yet I can still be entranced by something like this.

But somehow I can entirely help myself from loving anything from that Lil Wayne track, which reads and plays as petty envy.
posted by maudlin at 10:07 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love how Metafilter's turned around on the Lady Gaga hate. The first thread didn't go over so well.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:08 PM on December 8, 2009


There are important things to realize here. Firest, this ad is deeply informed by a fear of remote gizmos, ZAPping, and viewer disdain. An ad about ads, it uses self reference to seem too hip to hate. It protects itself from the scorn today's viewing cognoscente feels for both the fast-talking hard-sell ads Dan Akroyd parodied into oblivion on Saturday Night Live and the quixotic associative ads that linked soda-drinking with romance, prettiness, and group inclusion - ads today's jaded viewer finds old-fashioned and "manipulative". In contrast to a blatant Buy This Thing, this Pepsi commercial pitches parody. The ad's utterly up-front about what TV ads are popularly despised for doing: using primal, flim-flam appeals to sell sugary crud to people whose identity is nothing but mass consumption. This ad manages simultaneously to make fun of itself, Pepsi, advertising, advertisers, and the great U.S. watching/consuming crowd. In fact the ad's uxorious in its flattery of only one person: the lone viewer, Joe B., who even with an average brain can't help bu discern the ironic contradiction between the "choice" slogan (sound) and the Pavlovian orgy (sight). The commercial invites Joe to "see through" the manipulation the beach's horde is rabidly buying. The commercial invites complicity between its own witty irony and veteran-viewer Joes' cyncial, nobody's-fool appreciation of that irony. It invites Joe into an in-joke the Audience is the butt of. It congratulates Joe Briefcase, in other words, on transcending the very crowd that defines him, here. This ad boosted Pepsi's market share through three sales quarters. - David Foster Wallace in E Unibus Pluram

Lady Gaga brought this to the marketing of music. An unwelcome innovation if you ask me.
posted by phrontist at 10:08 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Speaking of corporate renditions of Lady GaGa songs: Starbucks Via "Ready Brew" as written and performed by baristas.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 10:14 PM on December 8, 2009


I love how Metafilter's turned around on the Lady Gaga hate. The first thread didn't go over so well.

Poor hermitosis thought he was going to be voted off the island after that post. I'm glad to see that MeFites were wise enough to learn to love Lady Gaga enough to keep him around!
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:16 PM on December 8, 2009


I really don't get Lady Gaga's appeal. Can someone explain it to me? She just strikes me as a hypersexual/androgynous/really fucking weird performer in the Ziggy Stardust mold, but with annoying top 40 songs instead of arguably cool songs. And you don't know that David Bowie is really under there. What am I missing?

You're missing the David Bowie under there. I spent an awfully long time distracted by the glitz and the pap, and then something just clicked.

Eventually you will see her at a piano and you will love Lady Gaga. You can't not. (Or maybe I've just been brainwashed by Freemasons...)

1. Lady Gaga is the Madonna Divine Miss M of our time.

meaning

2. She is seriously the shit.

posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


humanfont: Any store not turing in a video clearly is so toxic that you can just close it or replace them wholesale.

Can someone translate this into English for me?
posted by IAmBroom at 10:33 PM on December 8, 2009


> I really don't get Lady Gaga's appeal. Can someone explain it to me? She just strikes me as a hypersexual/androgynous/really fucking weird performer in the Ziggy Stardust mold,

On the one hand, she's obviously presenting herself as the latest incarnation of the Pop Star as Self-Conscious Performance Art Pop Object, and, there's nothing new about that.

I think what does stand out about her is something very simple: Where Bowie radiated an attitude of "I'm not just prettier than you, I'm smarter than you", and Madonna's shtick was "I didn't just come off a Greyhound bus, I am a Greyhound bus, and if you believe you can thwart my destiny, I will run you over, just like a Greyhound bus," and Marilyn Manson's vibe was "I know you'll never ever really like me, so let me shock you-- but, better, this time, I promise"...Gaga's thing is (or, to me, seems to be)... she's a Nice Girl. And also a Smart Girl. Even in her most aggro Pop Gotterdammerung videos, she seems like someone you'd see visiting her Grandma in the old folks' home. And bringing a cake.

Also, some of her tunes are catchy. And technology has progressed to the point where it's a simple and inexpensive matter to build multimedia opera around a little scrap of Abba. One can complain that she's all too much like her forebears, but with the rough edges sanded away-- but in a sense, that's exactly why she works. Her persona isn't about the chip on her shoulder... it's about simple yet not stupid, perfectly smooth and friction free confectionary delight.

It's not about her, it's about you... All of You.
[Gaga waves lovingly to audience]
posted by darth_tedious at 10:46 PM on December 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


Everytime I watch the video, I can't help but think about how fun it would be to dance like that. That guy is my freaking hero. I just wish they'd been a bit more creative in matching to the video and having different shots. Still, very well done.

too bad they can't sing, though...
posted by heathkit at 10:52 PM on December 8, 2009


My first real exposure to Lady Gaga came from SNL, when she was the musical guest - I mean, I'd heard the name of course and one absolutely can't go out dancing nowadays w/o hearing Poker Face, but I'd never really gotten a look at her until she appeared on that Deep House Dish skit.

Maybe you saw it? She and Madonna came out and tried to sing a goofy song, except Madonna blew her lines right off the bat? Thing was, I wasn't even positive that it was Madonna until the newsdrones on cable mentioned her appearance in the following days. I guess I'd just kind of assumed the gal on stage w/ Gaga was just some new cast member I didn't recognize, and I didn't pay her much mind beyond that. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was watching Gaga dwarf Madonna's stage presence that night.

She's wild and awesome and folks who hate on her or think she's a dude or "need her explained" or whatever the fuck are part of the gag! Seems like even the folks who think she's too strange to be into or too empty to be taken seriously struggle not to talk about her, struggle to take their eyes off of her.

tl;dr: RARA-AHAHAH, RAMA-RA-AHAH, GAGA-OOH-LALA!
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:05 PM on December 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


Oh, and regarding Plaid Romance: serviceable attempt, C+. Doesn't seem like rhyming plaid lyrics would have been all that difficult to cobble together. Neutraface remains the champion of Lady Gaga parodies.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:09 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


A cappella Poker-Face
posted by blueberry at 11:24 PM on December 8, 2009


humanfont: Any store not turing in a video clearly is so toxic that you can just close it or replace them wholesale.

IAmBroom: Can someone translate this into English for me?

I think that should read "Any store not turning in a video..." As in, if they're not willing to make a video, they're probably so devoid of "cheer" that GAP would want to replace them.
posted by Someday Bum at 11:27 PM on December 8, 2009


"Becoming a Gap employee is akin to landing a spot as a contestant on a game show. Every day brings another contest, with its own awards and penalties. A complex system of points per sale earns free T-shirts and jeans for employees who move the highest volume of merchandise in the least amount of time. Another program encourages salespeople to focus on the upsell by rewarding the employee who has completed the greatest number of three-item sales. Anyone who sells more than a certain dollar amount to a single customer gets his or her name in the company newsletter."

...

"The two Gap managers I spoke with readily admitted that they hire the most attractive sales representatives they can find. "If I'm attracted to her," one manager said, "then the customer will be, too." Young men are assigned to female customers, and young women to the males. Each salesperson develops his or her own method of working sex appeal. "I kind of tilt my head to the side and stare at the guy's butt," one salesgirl bragged of her jeans-selling method. "Then, as soon as he notices I'm looking, I quickly glance away and pretend to be caught. I can hold my breath and get my face all flushed. It works every time."

...

"One twenty-four-year-old who worked at a Gap in Philadelphia for a little more than a year was so panic-stricken after our taped interview that she returned two hours later to give back the fifty dollars she had been paid in exchange for the cassette. Her reticence to speak about her time with Gap was typical. "Are you sure they won't find out who told you?" more than one former Gap employee asked me."

-excerpt from Coercion: Why We Listen To What "They" Say by Douglas Rushkoff (1999)
I find myself feeling somewhat suspicious that Gap employees would be allowed to shoot and post their own videos without any guidelines or direction, or that there isn't some sort of system for rewarding the "viral" success of the videos. In light of King Bee's admittedly up-front comment that the not-oft-viewed linked video "[is] known around GAP", it smells a bit too self-linky (with the "self" being The Gap) for my tastes. Flagged, and I happily accept the slings and arrows of my curmudgeonliness.
posted by davejay at 11:40 PM on December 8, 2009


but I simultaneously continue to be a Lady Gaga fan
posted by davejay at 11:42 PM on December 8, 2009


For me the Gaga love is all about seeing a pop songstress in control. After seeing wave upon wave of Britney's ilk sacrifice themselves on the alter of fame, its nice seeing a woman so in charge of her own image and career that she might have a chance at taking on the corporate image makers and still retain what makes her interesting. I also think that there's a real aspect of Marcel Du Champ in her work. I can oscillate between thinking she's trying to make art and thinking that she's just fucking with us a dozen times in one performance, to the point where I think that oscillation is in fact the art that she's trying to make.
posted by BenNewman at 12:11 AM on December 9, 2009 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I kind of have to go with the art thing - when it was just Poker Face I was dismissive even though my own musical tastes run in that general direction. But then I started to see the performance art aspect of the Lady Gaga personality, and then a friend linked me the Cartman/Walken Poker Face mashup and I had the chorus permanently wedged in my head for a solid week. Then I saw Bad Romance and I knew I couldn't keep being a music snob any more, she was no worse musically than Annie or Lily Allen or Lykke Li or any of the other new crop of young pop starlets, and seemed to be better at turning out earworms.

Now, that said, I have no idea who's actually writing her songs, who's doing the production, etc etc etc, so I don't really know if she's every bit as much a media creation as Brittney or Miley or what. I'm not sure I care, though. I do sort of worry that the more frankly sexual stuff will kind of burn me out like the last few Kylie Minogue albums have, but it's a fun ride while it lasts.
posted by Kyol at 12:41 AM on December 9, 2009


Gaga's awesome because she appeals to both people who just like the music, and people who beanplate about how her entire act is a ridiculously meta commentary on fame. And she's apparently a genuinely nice, intelligent, talented, competent individual - so it's fun to see her succeed. She's in control of selling us her image, but she's also teasing us about it (Bad Romance video, anyone?)

Plus she's entertaining as hell! It's cool to not know what to expect next from her beyond craziness.

I think the last thread was a nice run down on Gaga love.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:48 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Bad Romance video makes me think, for some reason, of the Cremaster Cycle...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The Bad Romance video makes me think, for some reason, of the Cremaster Cycle"

Me too. The cremasteryness has to be intentional. As usual she is plagiarizing exactly the right people.
posted by idiopath at 1:09 AM on December 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Bad Romance video is like eye sex.

I love Lady GaGa. I just hope she manages to change it up and keep it fresh over the next few albums. I think she's capable, and I think that's why I can admit to myself that I like her, unlike every other pop star in the universe.
posted by dopamine at 1:36 AM on December 9, 2009


Hey, I had something positive to say in the first lady gaga thread, while everyone else was still a hater. So there. I actually liked her first single, Just Dance as a cheesy pop song.

That said, I do hate this stupid gap video. I'm not sure it can be taken down because, legally, it could count as parody. Plus, more free publicity for GaGa. (On the other hand, with record sales in the toilet, commercial licensing for music is an important revenue stream)
posted by delmoi at 2:12 AM on December 9, 2009


I'm still waiting for an explanation of Gaga's appeal.

"Those cracks in your face. Do they hurt?"
posted by cillit bang at 4:30 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, that said, I have no idea who's actually writing her songs, who's doing the production, etc etc etc

She writes her songs, she comes up with the video concepts, she created the image. That's kind of the first big thing separating her form the other pop tarts.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:10 AM on December 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I like Lady Gaga, too, but the first thing this video reminded me of was that lame video of the banking guy singing One.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:15 AM on December 9, 2009


Count me WAY OUT for the Lady Gaga love. That Poker Face video is boring, the beat is limp, and she's definitely not bringing anything new to this dance.

Plus, just saying the phrase Lady Gaga makes me feel incredibly stupid.

I don't buy the Bowie tie-in hype, either. Bowie at least created some personality with his characters, Lady Gaga has an army of designers that like Teh Shiny.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:10 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Plus, just saying the phrase Lady Gaga makes me feel incredibly stupid.

Actually, it makes me feel like I'm living in the future. "So the traditional egalitarian structure has broken down and she's like a duchess or something? Plus we don't have English names anymore?"

But the music: Meh. I don't object to it, but it doesn't magically transport me or anything.
posted by DU at 6:35 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


That Poker Face video is boring, the beat is limp, and she's definitely not bringing anything new to this dance.

Don't judge her on Poker Face. It is incredibly boring, but it's also the least interesting of what she's done. Of her singles at least. I do find a bit of her album filler to be, well, filler. Halfway between Madonna and Ace of Base. But not bad.

For those who stopped watching this 30 seconds in -- it gets better. And worse.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:50 AM on December 9, 2009


Jesus, people, if you don't like pop music, you don't like pop music. You don't have to condescendingly ask people to explain her to you or complain that it's been done before. Let it go.

But what we're hearing about GaGa is that she's different. I can't be the only one who is getting a vibe of "this changes everything." I'm reading comments about people who don't like pop music who are way into her.

She's the best parts of Madonna, David Bowie, Cher, Bette Midler, Meat Loaf, Prince, Peaches, Abba, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Manson and Malcolm McLaren distilled into scary celebity LSD and injected straight into your eyeballs.

I mean that quote certainly says to me that there's a bit more than just pop music going on, right? I'm not reading most of the questions as condescension, but maybe I'm missing it.

For my part, I've listened to her a bit and she just seems like just another pop artist whose music doesn't really do anything for me. Maybe I'm missing some of her appeal by not being in a large city centre. I also don't keep up with celebrity news, so it could be that she interviews really well or comes off really awesome in person.

Thanks for the comment, BenNewman. If she's in control of her career moreso than the average artist, then I can certainly see a draw there.
posted by ODiV at 7:09 AM on December 9, 2009


davejay: In light of King Bee's admittedly up-front comment that the not-oft-viewed linked video "[is] known around GAP", it smells a bit too self-linky (with the "self" being The Gap) for my tastes. Flagged, and I happily accept the slings and arrows of my curmudgeonliness.

Well, the video says it's from a Gap store in Roseville, MN, and I live in Iowa. I didn't have anything to do with the making of this video.
posted by King Bee at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2009


Personally, I think saying "Lady Gaga" is meant to evoke some neurological glitch that allows grown hipsters and intelligensia to temporarilly regress to their pop-idol worship phase. After all, Lady implies some kind of knighting or noble title (association with authority, austerity, respect), and Gaga implies irrational love or regression. To the unguarded mind, this is very strong stuff, as people who are used to viewing everything through sarcasm in the 90s, followed by irony in the aughts, this is their first sincere thought.

Consider that she studied at NYU, and Oliver Sacks has a practice in New York City. Consider how Sacks makes money from book sales, RadioLab interviews and Nova appearances. Surely that pays him some money, but to maintain the lavish lifestyle of a world-renowned neurologist, he needed to do something big. Helping to develop a name for a pop star seems in line with his research on aphasia and need for money to stock his personal collection of chemical elements. Even if he only gets 5% of retail sales, that's a pretty big chunk of halfnium.

Now, if you imagine all of that is true, will that explain our unconditional love for Lady Gaga, haters?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:32 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's been said before, but the fabulous thing about Lady Gaga is that she is so in control of her own image-- she never allows the public to see what's underneath the Gaga persona. Unlike Britney Spears, who always seems exploited, miserable, and human, Gaga leaves the house looking like this every day (those are all paparazzi, not intentionally promotional, pictures).

Like Britney and most of the pop divas of the past decade, she has a character that she plays in videos and concerts-- only, once she's offstage, she doesn't hurry to take the costume off. Stories of fan interactions read like alien encounters. It's all the glamour and weirdness Americans love about celebrity, without the sad exploitation and self-destruction.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:33 AM on December 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


without the sad exploitation and self-destruction.

At least not yet. She seemed pretty with-it in that Ellen interview, so I'm not expecting her to implode or anything. But she's been around, what, 11 months? Give the leeches and vultures time.
posted by DU at 8:03 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga wears red latex ball gown to meet the Queen of England - still more appropriately dressed for the even than Miley Cyrus.

Amen, Jilder. Amen. For the love of god, Miley Cyrus, flashing your tits at the queen is just. not. done.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Said it before and I'll say it again: I think she's going to consciously act out the implosion and self-destruction the same way she has been acting out the character of someone at the peak of their fame.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]



It's all just products... merely products... Buy some today.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2009


Stories of fan interactions read like alien encounters.

I have now been introduced to the concept of the lobster BLT.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2009


I didn't believe you, Bitter-Girl, but then I googled it, and yeah. Lady Gaga was the best and most appropriately dressed. What was Cyrus thinking? You'd think she'd be the most conservative because she's the youngest, works for Disney, and there's been controversy before.

Also, her vinyl dress looks cool, yet conventional enough that I think she'd be smart to market it. Granted, it's probably not so comfortable.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


My personal Gaga spins..

Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 1 : Bad Romance : 31
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 2 : Alejandro : 13
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 3 : Monster : 18
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 4 : Speechless : 8
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 5 : Dance in the Dark : 4
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 6 : Telephone (featuring Beyonce) : 20
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 7 : So Happy I Could Die : 12
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 8 : Teeht : 2
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 9 : Just Dance (featuring Colby O'Donis) : 11
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 10 : Lovegame : 2
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 11 : Paparazzi : 12
Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) : Track 12 : Poker Face : 12
etc..etc..

That's from THIS WEEK. Please note I'm working and not able to listen most of the day. GAGA OO LA LA!!

(Last.fm? What's that?)

Also what's this horseshit about Bad Romance being censored on the deluxe ed? GRRR. Free bit indeed.
posted by cavalier at 8:22 AM on December 9, 2009


not yet

But here's the thing: her outlook seems different and I think that is going to protect her. She's not winking coyly to try to get you to like her, cause she's "just a girl!" (who just happens to have fake tits, an autotuned voice and deep Christian values). Her performance is TOTAL, and that seems to be attracting the right people and simultaneously protecting her from the vultures.

It isn't that I think she's immune to failure, freakout, etc. But I think she's probably got a really good head start!
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:26 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think dirtynumbangelboy is absolutely right. The freakout will be performance art the same way everything else is performance art.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:31 AM on December 9, 2009


But here's the thing: her outlook seems different and I think that is going to protect her. She's not winking coyly to try to get you to like her, cause she's "just a girl!" (who just happens to have fake tits, an autotuned voice and deep Christian values). Her performance is TOTAL

Kirk Lazarus: Me? I know who I am. I'm a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.
Kevin Sandusky: What?
Kirk Lazarus: You a dude that don't know what dude he is!
Tugg Speedman: Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is and claims to know what dude he is...
Jeff Portnoy: What the fuck are you guys talking about?
Tugg Speedman: ...by playing other dudes.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:02 AM on December 9, 2009


People - explain to me again why "being in control of your image" means anything relevant in this context? How does this imply anything higher or more artistic or more interesting/game-changing for any reason?

It's pop fluff du jour. And what does "TOTAL performance" even mean? By respecting such an idea, are you saying that Lady Gaga should command more respect? She's got a monster machine behind her, and is still just as beholden to her record company as any other artist.

There ain't no There, there, kids.

It's all product, brought to you by the same people who've been bringing it to you since this whole plate of beans got started back in the 50's. It's fine if you like this music, or don't, but don't inflate this silliness into something bigger than it appears.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:10 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


She's got a monster machine behind her

Abso-frigging-lutely. I weep at the notion that music is better when it comes entirely from the brain of just one puny human.

I want my pop music assembled by the finest team of hired guns money can buy.
posted by cillit bang at 9:43 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm still waiting for an explanation of Gaga's appeal.

Same appeal as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, or any big female pop star of the past few decades: A chick in skimpy outfits singing songs with inane lyrics over over-produced backing tracks.

I am not complaining. I like the genre and I like Lady Gaga. I just think those of you pretending she's anything different are fooling yourselves.

Yeah, I guess you could call it "performance art" in that she performs artistic material, but really: what's going on here that hasn't going on a million times before?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2009


There ain't no There, there, kids.

As someone who now lives in Oakland, I concur.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you think Lady Gaga is ANYTHING like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, then the following are probably true:

1. You don't know anything about Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.
2. You don't know anything about Lady Gaga.
3. You are a poopy head.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:49 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Unlike Britney Spears, who always seems exploited, miserable, and human

That's the '00s Britney. Gaga is still in the '90s Britney phase.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:51 AM on December 9, 2009


You stalwart Gagaites are going to feel really silly in a couple years when you look back.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2009


1. You don't know anything about Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.
2. You don't know anything about Lady Gaga.


Believe me, I've listened to plenty of ...Baby One More Time, The Fame, and The Fame Monster. I love Top 40 music and always have. I would agree that Christina Aguilera is certainly a step below the other two.

3. You are a poopy head.

Unfortunately true.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:54 AM on December 9, 2009


I want to take a ride on your media stick.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2009


[NOT ANTI-POOPY HEAD-IST]
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:00 AM on December 9, 2009


I really don't get Lady Gaga's appeal. Can someone explain it to me? She just strikes me as a hypersexual/androgynous/really fucking weird performer in the Ziggy Stardust mold

That right there? That is the appeal. Got it in one!

The difference between Britney/Aguilera and Lady Gaga is that Lady Gaga is deliberately, flamboyantly bizarre. We all know that pop music is ridiculous and ephemeral, so why not glam it up as much as possible?

Self-styled pop music haters most likely won't understand the appeal. In the same way that self-styled sweets haters won't understand why people like chocolate. (And may be inclined to angrily demand that chocolate lovers explain "what the big deal is.")
posted by ErikaB at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2009


ErikaB: "I really don't get Lady Gaga's appeal. Can someone explain it to me? She just strikes me as a hypersexual/androgynous/really fucking weird performer in the Ziggy Stardust mold

That right there? That is the appeal. Got it in one!


Well you skipped right over the next part of my thought: And you don't know that David Bowie is really under there. With Ziggy Stardust, you knew it was just some crazy alter-ego that Bowie had dreamed up, but you could respect it (or at least know it was going to be short-lived) because it was Bowie underneath all the makeup. I don't get that here.

The difference between Britney/Aguilera and Lady Gaga is that Lady Gaga is deliberately, flamboyantly bizarre. We all know that pop music is ridiculous and ephemeral, so why not glam it up as much as possible?

Self-styled pop music haters most likely won't understand the appeal. In the same way that self-styled sweets haters won't understand why people like chocolate. (And may be inclined to angrily demand that chocolate lovers explain "what the big deal is.")
"

I suppose, but even if I didn't like chocolate I could still understand chocolate-lovers really going gaga (ha!) over some new and improved chocolate. To me, Lady Gaga just seems derivative, and, ultimately, really grating.
posted by jckll at 10:27 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


-Lady Gaga was accepted to Julliard at age 11 because of her talent at the piano.
-Britney Spears cannot play any instruments.
-Lady Gaga wrote a song for herself that Britney's people bought from her, and wrote the lyrics to all the songs on The Fame.
-The only song I know of Britney writing herself is this piece of crap, and her voice isn't even that good.
-Your favorite band sucks.
QED.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:28 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I actually wrote a big entry on my personal journal detailing how I went from being unimpressed by Lady Gaga to being absolutely crazy about her. If anyone is being sincere about wanting to know "what her appeal is," then here's the link.

The tl;dnr version is, aside from her actually singing live and writing her own songs and some of her music: "One thing I like most about her is even when she's barely wearing anything, she doesn't give the impression that she's doing it so much to attract anyone as to possibly hurt them; she makes the most unnerving expressions and does these creepy disjointed movements. Someone on Metafilter called her "Marilyn Manson without the Satanism" and I thought that was an apt description. Watching her produces a kind of existential horror, sometimes; not so much that she invokes death -- although sometimes she does, like in "Paparazzi," -- but it's more that her roboticism and possessed expressions are evocative of an annihilation or co-option of the self by something else -- fame or technology or demons, depending on the song and performance. It creeps me the fuck out." Being unsettled by a pop song or artist is an unusual experience, and a more visceral experience than most other emotions music can invoke, I think. There are a handful of songs that can make me cry, and a handful that make me really happy, but I feel more invaded by an artist when they can unsettle me.

That being said, Plaid Romance was absolutely painful to watch. I have some sympathy because whoever was singing was decent, you just wouldn't know it since it was being sang *over* Lady Gaga -- not an instrumental of the song -- so the volume necessarily was out of whack, and they don't seem to have any mixing knowledge because the equalizer doesn't sound like it was adjusted at all, and I won't even get into adding any filters or anything. You want to make the vocals fit into a ridge in the music, for lack of a better description, and when it doesn't it's just jarring and irritating.
posted by Nattie at 10:34 AM on December 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, for what it's worth: if you think Gaga is just another pop star, watch this (her AMA performance of Paparazzi) to the end and see if you don't feel differently. Hell, if you're dubious to waste your time, skip directly to the last several seconds and then you'll probably want to watch and see how the hell that happened.
posted by Nattie at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eh, Gaga may not be "just another popstar", but were talking in relative terms here. Stale 4 day old donuts retrieved from the dumpster behind the bakery isn't just another pile of garbage, but it's hardly something you want to serve guests.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2009


Rad Bromance.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:17 AM on December 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, for all the Gaga haters, she learned to play piano by ear at age 4, was accepted to Juilliard at 11, began writing her own songs and music at 14, and began attending the Tisch School of the Arts at 17.

She's written songs for Britney, Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, and New Kids on the Block.

So, the difference between Gaga and Britney? Gaga writes Britney's songs. When Britney's on tour, she is packaged and presented by an entire team of handlers, dancers, managers, musicians and crew.

Gaga writes her own music and she and her personal friends collaborate on Haus of Gaga to create her clothing, set designs, choreography, etc. Her favorite writer is Rainer Maria Rilke. Britney enjoys... um. Wearing ill-fitting cowboy boots?

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Britney is a piece of bubble gum. Gaga is the factory in China that makes and distributes the gum internationally.

just sayin
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:29 AM on December 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


At age 17, she gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. There, she studied music and improved her songwriting skills by composing essays and analytical papers focusing on topics such as art, religion and socio-political order.[8][9]

Art School darlings, every once in a while it gets a pomo motherfucker paid.

I don't have her on the ipod, because jangly dance music isn't my cup of tea, but I do have to say I totally admire her game, she's doing work, earning her shit.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2009


ha, look at that.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:31 AM on December 9, 2009


Rad Bromance blows Plaid Romance out of the water... *pewpewpew!*
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


All you know about her is what she's sold you. She sold out long before you ever even heard her name. She sold her soul to make a record. And then you bought one.
posted by Kwine at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hah, Rad Bromance was much better. That's exactly the sort of thing I was talking about earlier; the singer if Plaid Romance is way better but the mixing makes all the difference. It's a lot easier to tolerate a bad singer mixed properly than a good singer mixed improperly, I think; it's one of the mysteries of the universe.
posted by Nattie at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2009


All you know about her is what she's sold you. She sold out long before you ever even heard her name. She sold her soul to make a record. And then you bought one.

That's why it's so great. She's not pretending to do anything different. Her whole "fame monster" schtick, like many of her individual songs, is about selling out so completely that there's not even a person there anymore.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:45 AM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I cannot stand Lady Gaga, and I will stand by this, despite the frequent hipster proselytization (and the squeals of some of my friends whose musical taste I usually respect). It's just manufactured, packaged crap. It just happens to be manufactured and packaged in an "artsy" manner to appeal to the type that would normally AVOID THIS CRAP LIKE THE PLAGUE.
posted by brand-gnu at 11:45 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


To me, I'm having a growing sympathy for performers who are so obviously campy and fake over pop music's horrible attempts to "keep it real." Gaga attracts me for the same reason I can't stop looking at Klaus Nomi singing soprano in a triangular suit, or Lux Interior deep-throating a microphone. I mean if you are going to sing it, you might as well go whole-hog, put on the latex costume, and pretend to live it.

That said, Gaga is yet another performer who sounds much better on stage than in studio to me. (And yes, I do hear the supporting track.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2009


It's also worth noting two other things:

Gaga actually fucking sings in her concerts, like Madonna (though there were rumours about the last tour), and unlike Britney et al.

Gaga also fucks with her arrangements on a regular basis, is capable of actually singing harmony, and in general isn't just trotting out the exact same arrangement every night--again, like Madge, like Tori Amos, like every great (pop, if we must) musician.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's just manufactured, packaged crap. It just happens to be manufactured and packaged in an "artsy" manner to appeal to the type that would normally AVOID THIS CRAP LIKE THE PLAGUE.

Well, um no. If you would pay attention to what she says, and what other people say about her, you'd see that it is not manufactured packaged crap. There is a definite purpose behind the act. But whatever, that would pretty much require you actually listening.

Also, Rad Bromance is fucking win.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2009


Yeah, this is Andrew WK take 2. For shame, internet, for shame.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I feel less driven to put my opinion about Lady GaGa on the internet then I did upon my last opportunity to do so.
posted by everichon at 12:13 PM on December 9, 2009


That's why it's so great. She's not pretending to do anything different. Her whole "fame monster" schtick, like many of her individual songs, is about selling out so completely that there's not even a person there anymore.

She's expanded the usual market for corporate pop to people like you without losing any of the core customers. I think we only disagree about what 'great' means. Do you work in advertising?

Buy! buy! buy! my new record
Buy! buy! buy! send more money

Ellen: "What do you like to watch on TV"
Lady Gaga: "Ellen!"

You don't see Maynard on Ellen.
posted by Kwine at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's why it's so great. She's not pretending to do anything different. Her whole "fame monster" schtick, like many of her individual songs, is about selling out so completely that there's not even a person there anymore.

Just pointing out here that Kwine was directly quoting Tool's "Hooker with a Penis" off of their 1996 Aenima. If he was also attempting a very subtle jab about the whole GaGa-penis meme, well, bravo on that too.
posted by cavalier at 12:18 PM on December 9, 2009


You don't see Maynard on Ellen.

No. You see him at Whole Foods Market's signing Wine Bottles.

No shit, I saw "NEXT WEEK, MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN" at my local Whole Foods months ago and literally had a spit take.
posted by cavalier at 12:21 PM on December 9, 2009


No shit, I saw "NEXT WEEK, MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN" at my local Whole Foods months ago and literally had a spit take.

That dude was at the Sugar Land, TX Whole Foods earlier this year. I was there on my lunch break and was wondering why there were so many slackers dressed in silly black t shirts until I turned the corner and there he was. Very much the most incongruous thing I saw all week.

posted by Burhanistan at 12:27 PM on December 9, 2009


this is Andrew WK take 2

Kind of an apt comparison, I can't stand most pop music but I do respect WK and GAGA (for the performance much more than the music, honestly, in both cases). Before he went solo WK was in To Live and Shave in LA and Wolf Eyes. Gotta have respect for that.
posted by idiopath at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just watched Bad Romance for the first time. I'm all for pop culture heading in this direction. I'd love for the top 40 to be filled with psychedelic visions of a sexy dystopian future.
posted by diogenes at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before he went solo WK was in [...] Wolf Eyes

Whoa.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


RARA-AHAHAH, RAMA-RA-AHAH, GAGA-OOH-LALA!

This part always sounds like the unholy love-child of Scooby Doo and the Hamburglar to me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, she's pretty good live. I predict that she's going to become really famous!
posted by diogenes at 12:50 PM on December 9, 2009


Just pointing out here that Kwine was directly quoting Tool's "Hooker with a Penis" off of their 1996 Aenima.

Ah, okay, didn't catch that.

(in light of this, kwine, you're right: we probably do have very different ideas about what's great)
posted by oinopaponton at 12:51 PM on December 9, 2009


Whoa.

As far as I am concerned his involvement with To Live and Shave in LA was a bigger surprise, and more impressive.

The whole Wolf Eyes link seems kind of complicated, some places say he was in the band, Dillawoy says he was hanging out with them and brainstorming ideas but using the same name though they were not in his recordings and they were not in his. Here is some more background.

On topic, what I see in common with WK and Gaga is the fact that they are sticking to their guns with something pretty fucking unusual, even if in the mainstream. Not so much musically as the performance art aspect. And honestly, the music industry is much more about performance art than it is about music - people listen to bands that they think are sexy, whose images make them feel sexy. For better or worse, it is about cool, not the content of the music (and this is true for most niche stuff and "serious" and "indie" stuff too, don't fool yourself). And in terms of cool, they seem to be trying to do some interesting things - pushing some boundaries, making some room for the freaks.
posted by idiopath at 12:54 PM on December 9, 2009


You don't see Maynard on Ellen.

*spontaneous conga line forms*

You don't see Maynard on Ellen!
You don't see Maynard on Ellen!
posted by fleetmouse at 12:56 PM on December 9, 2009


The tl;dnr version is, aside from her actually singing live and writing her own songs and some of her music

Why does it even matter for a pop star? It's not the same people doing so, but some are lauding the massive production team behind Gaga and others are pointing out how she does it all herself. Which is it?

Hell, if you're dubious to waste your time, skip directly to the last several seconds and then you'll probably want to watch and see how the hell that happened.

How the hell what happened? That she put on some bloody makeup and got suspended by a rope? Did I miss something?

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Britney is a piece of bubble gum. Gaga is the factory in China that makes and distributes the gum internationally.

If I want bubble gum, I'll grab a piece of bubble gum. I have no need to tour foreign plants and inspect labor conditions. I don't need for my pop stars to be classically trained, play instruments, or write their own songs. That's not what they do.

Deconstructing the pop star has already been done, many times over. I like Lady Gaga b/c I think she's hot; I like watching her videos; and her songs are good guilty pop pleasures (meaning catchy for a few weeks; passable for a month; then you'll never actively listen to a song until you need a nostalgia fix 10 years down the road). I felt the same way about ...Baby One More Time, Oops I Did It Again, and Toxic.

*spontaneous conga line forms*

You know, that Simpsons' line always bugged me, because you can make friends with good salad. Especially gado-gado. I've done it!

posted by mrgrimm at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2009


I swear to God, I'll fight you! Every last goddamn sycophantic, slack motherfucker Paste Pitchfork Blender Spastic Anus zine last one of you!!!!!

(this is me doing my performance art thing. I'll link to the backing track later.)
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:30 PM on December 9, 2009


Why does it even matter for a pop star? It's not the same people doing so, but some are lauding the massive production team behind Gaga and others are pointing out how she does it all herself. Which is it?

The difference is that Gaga--like Madonna, like Tori Amos--directs the production team. In a fairly detailed manner, from my understanding. Compare with Britney, Talor Swift, etc, who are at the mercy of their labels and are essentially automatons with great tits and a few dance moves.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


She makes me explode with joy. If we can keep having people who live performance art, I will gladly keep giving them my money. Lady GaGa makes the world a more interesting place. She's dedicated to some crazy art that adds to my world. Every dollar she makes, she puts right back into the show.

Some day, there will be a crazy flame out. It will be epic, and I will believe in my heart that she's doing it as part of this crazy performance art piece she's making.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Crackheads.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2009


"One thing I like most about her is even when she's barely wearing anything, she doesn't give the impression that she's doing it so much to attract anyone as to possibly hurt them; she makes the most unnerving expressions and does these creepy disjointed movements...Watching her produces a kind of existential horror, sometimes...It creeps me the fuck out."

The Cremasteryness (idiopath's word, not mine) I referred to earlier.

And there's something else, too: The videos I've seen all remind me of the "Windowlicker" video. Except that Lady Gaga with Lady Gaga's head is less obviously wrong than a bunch of dancers with Richard James's head, but still equally creepy, somehow.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2009


Mrgrimm, I totally get you. I really do. I guess Lady Gaga in many ways is like Cathy Dennis; her pop star career may eventually go away (no no no please don't leave we love you!)... but she can easily survive for the rest of her life on publishing rights. She's written #1 hits for other, much less talented artists (which you and I both admit are guilty pleasures and pop culture juggernauts) Or art installations. That sort of thing. The point being, she has options and intelligence to do whatever she likes.

Other pop stars don't have that option; image IS their product. In fact, if it weren't, they would make more money from record sales and not almost exclusively from touring, merch and promotional appearances. Once that's gone, the fact that there was no inherent talent driving the phenomenon behind the sensation becomes glaringly evident.

All that's left is the one-hit wonder releases in your local dollar bin and the occasional horrible, candid photo posted under statements like, "Where are they now?"
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:59 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, look at those typing errors. I shouldn't post when I'm excited and it's cold.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2009


This video is absolutely terrible. At least this take on Lady Gaga actually has people that can sing.
posted by makonan at 3:14 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw her on Letterman. I thought she sucked.
posted by jonmc at 5:31 PM on December 9, 2009


OK, time to check her out. What's the best track to start with?
posted by porn in the woods at 6:20 PM on December 9, 2009


porn in the woods: "Bad Romance" is fantastic, but "Just Dance" is probably a little less overwhelming. "Paparazzi"'s great, too (watch the video).
posted by oinopaponton at 6:28 PM on December 9, 2009


More Gaga badassery

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRNsl_0AZOs
posted by Blasdelb at 6:59 PM on December 9, 2009


I think part of the love is that Lady Gaga is all about enthusiasm for what she does. She's incredibly and believably enthusiastic about her music, her image, her ridiculous costumes, her crazy art installation sets, her weird slightly off beat dancing and her fans. She's taken that completely bonkers side of her and let it run wild and she has the skills to bring it all together even if no single part is perfect. She's mad as a hatter and she knows it and is willing to risk of falling completely flat on her face for "vision."

This enthusiasm is the charm that draws in the people that might otherwise be completely indifferent to her antics and pass it off as everyday pop.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:00 PM on December 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Even if you don't like gaga's musical output (and it's not exactly my favorite thing), I don't understand how you can't at least respect her talent as an artist.

Pop music is about far more than the music. And she's taking a masterful approach to that, and doing it herself.
posted by flaterik at 7:01 PM on December 9, 2009


I have bets that in 25 years, she'll join Mothersbaugh, Elfman, and Wendy and Lisa as composer/songwriters who got their start in crazy-fun pop performance projects.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's more that her roboticism and possessed expressions are evocative of an annihilation or co-option of the self by something else -- fame or technology or demons, depending on the song and performance. It creeps me the fuck out.

Nattie: wish I'd asked when it was more likely you'd still be in thread to reply, but what did you make of the video for Poker Face? My POV stems from having watched Bad Romance and Paparazzi a couple of times each first (as well as her accoustic stuff) which really ratcheted up my expectations. Then... this unbelievably unprovocative bubblegum fluff. Almost offensively so. A completely literal interpretation of the lyrics, add skimpy outfit, (conventional) dancing, and fog. Eeesh. What an incredible disappointment.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:55 AM on December 10, 2009


Can't believe I'm late to a Lady Gaga thread. Going to see her Sunday in SF, and even went out dancing last weekend just to prepare. I had heard her name floating around for a while but (not knowing what she does) dismissed her as one of those empty celebrities like Kate Gosselin. I first saw her in repeats of the SNL thing, and as soon as I saw her fashion and performance style, I got her. So I went from a bluegrass phase to listening to dance pop, which I maybe get into a song here and there.

I think it comes down to the fact that she's actually talented (her acoustic stuff on youtube is great) and that she knows her job as an entertainer is to entertain, and she goes all out for it. Her albums and videos have layers of smart satire (the product placement in 'Bad Romance' is hilarious). She has a sense of humor about what she is doing, she is disparaging of no one, and she makes a point of being inclusive and wanting everyone around her to have a good time. I think she is what Madonna was trying to get to; but where Madonna was a master at marketing, her attempts at higher performance art seemed forced and clunky. She writes songs that have multiple hooks and that make me want to move my ass. I think many people dismiss it because it is dance music, but when you sit down with your ipod at a piano and start stripping it down to its basics, it is tight and solid.

I could easily have resisted it and taken the pop-culture-wasteland-cynical route, but I'm glad I went for the fun instead.
posted by troybob at 8:08 AM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist, I caught the video for Just Dance early this year and had a similar reaction: catchy-irritating dance-pop and a really lousy video full of club kids being louche while badly lit. I came away with the vague idea that Lady Gaga was some Belgian offering Eurodisco 2 and not much else.

Poker Face didn't move my opinion much, although I thought the hair and makeup were great, but I sat up and took notice of Paparazzi, and Bad Romance blew me away.

So don't worry if her old stuff looks and sounds weak. I'd just like to see how much she can do from now that she's developing her presentation and seems to be getting shitloads of money from her record company. If it's true that she's sinking every penny she earns into her shows (although I hope she has an accountant who is investing something for her), that's terrific.
posted by maudlin at 9:07 AM on December 10, 2009


seems to be getting shitloads of money from her record company

Let me rephrase that as: the record company is spending more than $2.95 per video now (see: Just Dance). I have no idea what she's earning, and most of her cash inflow may be from shows and merchandising rather than music sales.
posted by maudlin at 9:11 AM on December 10, 2009


It's important to see the trajectory from Just Dance to Bad Romance. If you're stuck on the comparatively low quality of Just Dance, you'll never get it. Lady Gaga is the self-conscious evolution of a pop star, and we're being allowed to bear witness to that.

Also, Blasdelb's link is worth watching. She looks as if she's about to cry. If you hate her music, think her outfits are ridiculous, think she's just another Britney Spears - if NOTHING else, you must admit she's sincere and sweet in this video.
posted by desjardins at 9:21 AM on December 10, 2009


Hrm. I like "Just Dance" the song but can totally imagine a contentless video. I wasn't aware that it had a video. I guess I was disappointed particularly by Poker Face because while I think Just Dance is a catchy song, I think Poker Face is also quite clever, and the video is so not.

I also thought, on first hearing of her, that she was some European sensation. How strange.

Lady Gaga is the self-conscious evolution of a pop star, and we're being allowed to bear witness to that.

So Just Dance and Poker Face were intentionally bad videos? I don't buy it, and you're going to lose a lot of credibility otherwise well-spent on Gaga arguing it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:23 AM on December 10, 2009


Lady Gaga is the self-conscious evolution of a pop star, and we're being allowed to bear witness to that.

This is the kind of mindless Gaga love that really needs to be put out to pasture. Ok, she's a bit more clever than the average bubble gum star. Her songs have a bit more musical integrity than a Spears throwaway. You're still comparing festering sores to less festering sores. It's really an odd bandwagon to hurl yourself in front of.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 AM on December 10, 2009


Then... this unbelievably unprovocative bubblegum fluff. Almost offensively so

Bear in mind that Poker Face is in fact about her feelings while in bed with her (presumably an ex-) boyfriend, but fantasizing about a woman.

This is the kind of mindless Gaga love that really needs to be put out to pasture.

Why the hate? You don't like it. Hooray for you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:53 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't catch the videos as they were released, but checking them out in release order now, the progression makes sense. The overall look 'Just Dance' fits the song's theme and reflects her club roots. 'Poker Face,' which I'd considered the most generic, is like a glossy update of 'Just Dance'. 'Paparazzi' and 'Bad Romance' are definitely where the elements are coming together, though.
posted by troybob at 10:19 AM on December 10, 2009


(Oh, and if anyone needs a cite for that thing about Poker Face, was in her interview with Barbara Wawa last night)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:22 AM on December 10, 2009


....I'm hoping 'Telephone' is the next video. I can't hear that song and not move, and musically it's got some pretty neat-addictive melody and transition stuff going on.
posted by troybob at 10:27 AM on December 10, 2009


....I'm hoping 'Telephone' is the next video. I can't hear that song and not move, and musically it's got some pretty neat-addictive melody and transition stuff going on.

Gaga and Beyonce? The robotic-dancing singularity is imminent.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2009


Gaga and Beyonce? The robotic-dancing singularity is imminent.

That'd be Video Phone.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on December 10, 2009


This love-in thread is probably almost dead, but I just thought I'd throw this out there: If Lady/Haus of Gaga creates and sells a line of clothing for men and I can afford it, I will likely wear it. I especially like the stuff the guys wear in Paparazzi.

This is the danger of pop music. It's gotten me, a straight and nerdy male, borderline interested in fashion.

NOT HOMOPHOBIC, just normally fond of baggy jeans and t-shirts.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:14 AM on December 10, 2009


mccarty: yes! My shopping strategy is: Target, 15 minutes, get whatever fits. With the show coming up, I headed to a costume store to find something rad for it, but it all looked too costume-y. Then I walked into some vintage stores and was blown away (though a bit out of budget range at the moment). I wouldn't get away with the stuff in her videos, but they definitely make me want to.

Still on the love-in: I'm constantly impressed with how Lady Gaga can look like several different women, even in the course of one video--not just in a change of wig and outfit, but she looks like different people--especially in 'Lovegame' and 'Bad Romance.'
posted by troybob at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2009


mindless Gaga love

I'm OK with that. I also have a crush on Zachary Quinto. Fire away.

It's really an odd bandwagon to hurl yourself in front of.

I will gladly suffer for her!
posted by desjardins at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2009


She's still no Amanda Palmer. She appears to be more like a Tori Amos made of latex and cartoons.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:40 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing wrong with mindless love. I think it’s the awkwardly mindful highschool-poetry-class interpretive shoehorning that puts some people off. Mrs. Bronzefist, ah, Lady Bronzefist if you will, probably would have enjoyed her Introduction to Gaga more without the hype. But she was also at the time taken aback by what passes for "androgynous" in (some) American commentary.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:16 PM on December 10, 2009


It's fine if you like this music, or don't, but don't inflate this silliness into something bigger than it appears.

Dude, you're so smart! Guess it's kinda unfair how, as an unwitting victim of the commercial culture, I get to foolishly enjoy myself, rather than taking the responsible route of telling everybody else to stop liking shit I hate.
posted by troybob at 5:39 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Troybob - you will be skinned for your pelt and your organs harvested. Please report to the Culture Lab for processing.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:55 PM on December 10, 2009


Still on the love-in: I'm constantly impressed with how Lady Gaga can look like several different women, even in the course of one video--not just in a change of wig and outfit, but she looks like different people--especially in 'Lovegame' and 'Bad Romance.'

Absolutely. And on, yet again, another view of the Bad Romance video, I think if ever Neuromancer is done justice, Gaga must play Molly.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:54 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA

since MTV cancelled the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show ...

well you see where I'm going with this

would she not be PERFECT???
posted by desjardins at 8:07 PM on December 10, 2009


Hmm... Maybe too appealing. Brad is not supposed to want this. Perhaps not transgressive enough.

I will say this, though: I would like to scrap Michael Bay's The Island and replace it with a feature length version of that Bad Romance video.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:50 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also what's this horseshit about Bad Romance being censored on the deluxe ed? GRRR. Free bit indeed.
posted by cavalier at 4:22 PM on December 9 [+] [!]


All current versions of the Gaga album are censored, but strangely not the singles - there are rumours that you may eventually get a chance to buy a copy thats not been censored.
(A lot of people have been returning the censored copies, asking for refunds.)
posted by Lanark at 1:17 AM on December 12, 2009


If you think Lady Gaga is ANYTHING like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera...

from the iTunes Store ...

"Other listeners bought ... Rated R by Rhianna, For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert, Circus by Britney Spears, She-Wolf by Shakira, All I Ever Wanted by Kelly Clarkson, Hard Candy by Madonna ..."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 AM on December 18, 2009


from the iTunes Store ...

Heh. If I put on a clown mask but say I'm wearing it ironically, I'm still wearing a clown mask.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 AM on December 18, 2009


My friend Molly just made a music box that plays "Paparazzi."
posted by ocherdraco at 8:09 PM on December 20, 2009


Just in time for Xmas, LADY GAGA BARBIES ON FLICKR!!!!

I just died. this is dedicated to Hermitosis
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:20 PM on December 23, 2009


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