So, I have some exciting news! I will be attending the Monster Ball Tour in September, starring the one and only Lady gaga! I have to say she is quite a character. I’ve been up the past for the few weeks studying her style of music, her lyrics, and her videos. And I think she is simply AMAZING. She’s so tongue-in-cheek. I’m really impressed with her vocal range.
In all honestly, the genre she works in, which is sort of an electronic pop, is really quite the most annoying and my least favorite genre. The ability to so easily manipulate the sound and the artist’s voice is a bit scary. Who knows what you’re really listening to? A prime example of pop being the demise of good music is Ke$ha, an artist who is so drunk on electronic techniques and auto-tune, you can’t tell what you’re listening to. Her singles “TiK ToK” and “Blah Blah Blah” completely alter her voice, and yet her record producer spotted her and signed her because her voice sounded like a “guttural orgasm”. One can’t be sure if this is true, seeing as her backup vocals on Flo Rida’s “Right Round” are also auto-tuned.
But what’s interesting about Lady gaga is that she has so much to say. She has her personal message to fans and she has her subtext within her music. One could easily make a song up about strip poker and get it on the Billboard’s top 100, but to get it to number one and have it mean something is really good. What’s it all mean? Well, I’m sure you’ve heard it before. In “Poker Face”, she’s talking about her hiding her sexuality. Who’da thunk that? The psychological fears and anxieties of being able to tell your lover you’re also attracted to the other gender are complex and simply juicy.
And what about “Paparazzi”? That song is one of my favorites, as one can draw extremely close comparisons to the musical Chicago. The song can have so many different interpretations. 1. A stalker follows a star and “follow you until you love me”. 2. What do you want more: love or fame? 3. You can do anything when you’re famous and people will still keep fleeing to give you power. There are others, but this song has so much depth. I admit that they aren’t the best lyrics of all time, but because it does have several layers beyond its superficial beat and catchy tune, this single marked her place as someone who has style and most importantly substance.
“Bad Romance” is another favorite of mine, as it goes into the psyche of someone who is in love with a bad boy, someone who fears what may happen if she loses him “I want your love and all your love is revenge, you and me could write a bad romance”. The song continues with Hitchcock-ian references: “I want your Psycho, your Vertigo shtick/ When you’re in my Rear Window, baby you’re sick”. This line shows that the singer loves her lover unconditionally. Every flaw, every inadequacy, she accepts regardless.
Another great song of hers is “Paper Gangsta”, a song about what it’s like trying to write songs and not sell yourself out. And Gaga has managed to do exactly that, while maintaining her “Fame”. I think one of the most important aspects of her career is that she’s matured into a great songwriter so quickly. She went from “party-hardy” in “Just Dance” in the beginning of The Fame to more mature songs such as “Paper Gangsta”. And from there, she jumped the ball and floored us with her next album/EP The Fame Monster. Containing some of her best work yet (sure, there are only 8 songs, but still great nonetheless), The Fame Monster is simply a mini-contemporary masterpiece to behold. With “Bad Romance”, she’s also got my favorite song by her of all time, “Speechless”. The ballad tearfully, powerfully is about her father and it oozes emotion in every chord. It sounds great live and may be her best work she will ever do. It’s all organic, so those annoying haters who hate pop can go and listen to this and see her as both a great pianist and great composer.
I won’t even begin to talk about her music videos. There’s just too much to love. From her more fun early videos to her emotionally created videos like “Paparazzi, “Bad Romance”, and the recent “Telephone”, she is just simply the artist of our day. She can be fun too! Not all of her songs need that deep analysis I give them. “Teeth” and “Telephone” are great for simply listening to or dancing to. “Teeth” is like Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment”; it’s about rough, rough BDSM sex. The thing is, Gaga’s is more fun, catchier, better composed, and…just better. Significantly so, as it doesn’t sound so filthy and unclean. The line in Lambert’s song that goes “raise the alarm” is a warning signal of “ewwww, gross” as his AMA performance perfectly demonstrated what a perv he can be. There are boundaries that can be broken and doors that can be shoved down for the better of art. But simulating felatio on stage is just crass and vulgar. “Telephone” pairs up Gaga with Beyonce for an upbeat song about…clubbing and ignoring your cell phone. What could be better?
Her ability to transition from genre to genre is also a veritable talent. From grungy rock like “Boys Boys Boys” to a more Lady-Gaga-sings-the-blues composition like the Canadian track “Again Again” and to a weepier ballad like “Speechless”, her style has great range. As does her voice. One is hard put to find such an enormous pop star with such an enormous voice. Her flowing tonal qualities last throughout her songs. AND SHE ALWAYS SINGS LIVE! Watch her live performances on YouTube and you can TELL she sings live.
Did I hear avante garde? Yes, you did. The word of the conceptual artist has welcomed her into their family. Her fashion, some may say, is completely ridiculous. And, in a way, it is. But is it really fashion? Well, not really. Her most bombastic pieces are pieces of art she chooses to wear. Her bizarre Muppet coat, her red lace outfit, and it goes on and on and on. The great thing is, is that her wearable art has what we may call as an Artist Statement. It can be interpreted, it has a meaning. It’s not just something outrageous to wear at the Grammys. There’s always more to it. Her skeleton suit she wore to the American Music Awards was a statement on anorexia in fashion. Her Muppet coat was a statement about wearing fur. Her fire bra was about the woman’s body as a sexual weapon. This isn’t just some crazy drug addicted pop star; this is a woman with a brain. She’s articulate, smart, and very pretty.
Her fan base is huge. Her “little monsters” as she lovingly calls them absolutely adore her. And for good reason. She gives then an outlet where they can be comfortable with themselves. Being the freak for most of her high school life, she’s able to emulate that emption in her music and give her little monsters a place of acceptance at her concerts. While I think it’s a stretch to call her fans her best friends, I am quite happy at how modest and kind she seems to be. Hopefully, it’s not a horrid façade like most stars.
I simply love Lady Gaga now; she’s such a weird and amazing character. Hopefully, she won’t be a flash in the pan.
“Speechless” live at the Monster Ball:
“Speechless” Royal Variety Performance:
“Speechess” Vevo Launch performance:
“Poker Face”/”Speechless”/”Your Song” performance at the Grammys with Elton John:
“Paparazzi” Live Monster Ball Performance: