I like Lady GaGa. I genuinely enjoy listening to her music and watching her music videos. I’m a near thirty-year-old man who owns a few GaGa t-shirts as well. I’m not afraid to admit it. However, since the album Born this Way was released and I’ve been reading the reviews I’ve been considering what Lady GaGa means to music. Is she merely a media spectacle? Is she just a talentless attention whore? Is she the second coming? Is she just a Madonna clone? Is she really a genius? What is Lady GaGa?
I, at first, was repulsed by Lady GaGa and her poker face. The teenage metalhead in me instinctively reviled the pop music she was spewing. The hipster in me hated how much everyone loved it. It’s something I’ve been doing for many years. I can remember a number of bands that I “discovered” and later totally abandoned once everyone else knew who the hell they were. I hated all the popular music. I hated it because it was popular. I’ve since calmed down and learned to accept what I responded to by its actual content rather than its popularity. I started listening to all kinds of music. Some of my friends didn’t understand. Some still don’t. My point here is that I, like a lot of people, can be very closed minded. I think it’s easy to dismiss Lady GaGa as some media whore without much talent. I think it’s easy for people to say that she just wants to be Madonna. This reminds me of a time in the 90s when Marilyn Manson started becoming popular. People at first thought that his…shtick, for lack of a better word, was an Alice Cooper rip-off. He was essentially a more bombastic version of Cooper; a 90s version, for those that might understand what that means. By the end of the 90s he had shown that he was a little bit more than that, or at the very least, something else entirely. He used MTV to the fullest extent to get his face and music out there. The controversy that surrounded him only fueled the fame he received. Marilyn Manson became, what can only be called, a Rock Star. He was perhaps the last one we will have, but that’s a different discussion. Lady GaGa has essentially done the same thing. Love it or hate it. Now, in 2011, MTV is essentially meaningless. GaGa has used the internet and mobile phone applications to get her face out there to the masses since her initial breaking onto the scene.
The other point I’d like to make about Lady GaGa is that I don’t really see her as a musician. She’s more like an Artist. I was going to say that she is a Performance Artist, but I don’t think that’s so much the truth as she IS the artwork. She uses herself as a canvas for numerous works of art. Her music is only one part of that artwork. The songs, taken alone, are catchy pop/disco tunes, but not much more than that. To take the music without the full package that is Lady GaGa and her stage show is missing the point. She is silly. She is awkward. She can be beautiful, but most times chooses to the strange over the pretty. I commend her for this. It challenges people. A lot of people will rail against it. A lot of people will love it. Some people won’t know what to think about it, but it will make them uncomfortable. This is what any artist can truly hope for. I like Lady GaGa. She has come very close to achieving something I have always wanted to achieve. She has found a way to meld her artwork (or someone else’s) with music to present a complete work of art to which people really respond.