The Path of Thorns

We’re plastic but we still have fun.

by on Jan.11, 2010, under Uncategorized

Three entries into this site’s new format, I’m going for the guts here.  I’m reaching into an album that defies almost everything I like as a music listener, a style I’d usually roll my eyes at, but I’m going to go for it anyway.  I want to try to see how objective I can be in critiquing something I’d usually despise.

Lady Gaga, and her albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster.

What would I, the listener, have against her?  Well, her sound is not all that groundbreaking, it’s not much of a new take on anything, and it sounds about as dated as Amber (remember her? ‘One More Night’?) when you’re not actually seeing Lady Gaga perform it.  “Bad Romance” sounds like something you’d hear played between Ace of Base and C&C Music Factory, groups we generally laugh at now.  “Just Dance” sounds like something I’d hear on a Disney kids compilation.  It just has the manufactured sound of a general and vague display of pop performance.

However, I respect that she came up through the club scene, working her way up to fame, which is what she’s all about.  And I salute her taste of music, in people like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, who I worship alongside her.  As a listener, I’m glad she found inspiration from them more than she might have in, say, Technotronic.  She’s not a particularly good looking woman, nothing exciting, and could have been nothing more than just another performer in New York.  But that’s like saying Madonna could have been just another flash in the pan from Detroit.

The difference is, Lady Gaga looks like an epic drag queen, loves the glamour and fashion, and brings thoughts of fame and fortune to every household.  She’s a lot for the eye to enjoy with her wildly designed outfits and makeup, who clearly enjoys working her ass off to get our attention.  And boy, does she get it.  She steps up the mystique and appeal pop stars need to be taken seriously and relevant, and is still just 23 years old.  When she performs her ordinary songs, she does it in an extraordinary way, just like KISS has for four decades.  They’re easily her best comparison.

I will say that “Speechless” is a tremendous ballad that really brings out her voice, and completes her as a musician.  That’s one that every household should give a listen to.

Lady Gaga brings fun and excitement, and a whole amazing show, to a world where people no longer care about album covers or collections, and can rarely afford concert tickets.  She brings the show to them; you can’t miss her, and if you do, you’re missing out on some amazing performances.  It’s almost like you love the songs because you love and appreciate her.  To me, that’s the height of what a pop performer can do, and I respect her for that.  “Paparazzi”, “Bad Romance”, and “Eh, eh” are songs I can imagine being played at my old high school dances, but her idea of bringing the idea of fame and stardom to her fans in a day where our stars are only a tweet away absolutely works for her.  She brings her songs to life with her style and larger-than-life performances, and makes herself a superstar in an otherwise bland showcase of new music in this millennium.

You’re not blowing me away with your generally bland music, Gaga, but you’re certainly needed in what I call a darker era for music.

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