Jump to content

Lady Gaga and the pop music industry


Levis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Worthy of a discussion I'd say :)

So Lady Gaga - you can't ignore her, you can't pretend not to see her, you cannot avoid her. What do you make of her? There aren't many people in the music/entertainment business who provoke such intense love/hate reactions. It's unlikely that your opinion is 'meh' and if it is there's no point airing it here because it'd be nice to have a proper discussion about popular music and culture.

imo - and i've mentioned this a couple of times already - I think Lady Gaga is fantastic. She's legitimately talented and she's a performer to the core. Have we ever seen her in 'normal' clothes? Doing normal things? does she buy groceries? does she wear Alexander McQueen heels when making a cup of tea? Does she own a pair of jeans? We don't know because all we ever see of her is a SHOW. She's turned herself into a work of art and it's such an elaborate, over-the-top and CONSTANT performance that I can't help but think she's having a bit of a laugh at the pop music industry and using herself to demonstrate its outrageousness.

She's a spectacle and I love watching her. Also - she's not doing any harm as far as I can tell. So what's not to like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 50
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Every generation needs it's flamboyant performer(s). It's her time and her turn.

As far as liking or hating her. I am one of those who have a "meh" opinion. I actually like "Pokerface", and "Just Dance", but could live without some of her other stuff. As far as her outfits and whatever....hey it's her thing and as long as we don't see her privates (like Britney) or a sex tape, or anything like that, she doesn't bother me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night "Bad Romance" came on the car radio and me and my son started talking about her. I think that she will go down as one of the most famous and flamboyant - if not THE most - performer of all time. She was a mousy brunette a year ago, for crying out loud, nobody knew her, and now she's bleeding green because she's so rich. And famous... whew. She'll live the semi-charmed life of Madonna, I think, and hopefully she'll be able to handle it with as much aplomb as Madonna has (i.e. not going totally insane).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's all marketing with her, which is what you need to survive in these harsh and cynical times. I dig her. I think she is super talented but smart enough to realize that isn't enough anymore. Hopefully she will ride this crazy train for a bit and then bust out with a "serious" (whatever the frak that means) body of work that will shut the naysayers up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admit I sort of like her, despite how annoying the media's hype is of her and I think she tries to imitate previous female artists like Christina Aguilera and Pink. I really like her new song Telephone with Beyonce, the video is one of the best I've ever seen (probably top 20 all time worthy) and I love how it pays homage to Quentin Tarantino. I even considered it as a last minute replacement for my PT10, but changed my mind because I may not be obsessed with it anymore in a few months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think of Lady Gaga's music/performance as a sort of parody of the music industry, but at the same time she's of course a huge star in the music industry. It's kind of like how Scream was a bit of a parody of horror films but ended up being one of the highest grossing horror films in American history.

Anyways, she's pretty interesting I guess but I don't listen to her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think when all the lights fade and the outfits fall as a memory in the years to come, what will be left is her music. And, personally, I'm not a big fan. I acknowledge that she is very talented, and I wish she would use that talent a bit more often. But she's a pop star. She's what Madonna was in the 80s. I think people will remember her music fondly not because of the music but because of the memories brought up by the music and I think this owes to the fact that the market has been ridiculously over-saturated by her music. It's catchy, it's got a beat, it's pop. That's all it is. Nothing revolutionary, nothing new. Just pop. Pop will always be popular.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The songs totally blow and her circus-geek performances are derivative and boring/stupid, but the marketing hype does everything for her lack of talent and performance :beatnik:

A succinct but pointless analysis.

Whether songs blow or not is a purely subjective matter. Recently, you reiterated your opinion that F.R David's "Words" is the best song of all time. Meanwhile, in my world, the aforementioned song blows like a hurricane of stale farts. Subjectivity: the enemy of cultural debate.

Her performances are derivative? This may be true: as an avoider of Music TV, I haven't seen any of them. At least try to be informative, rather than glibly dismissive. Of what/whom are they derivative? Consider also, that derivative features may be the result of deliberate pastiche.

Her performances are boring? Again: subjective. Arguably, the public must find "the performance" aspect of her act quite compelling, if her music is as gusty as you suggest.

Marketing hype might compensate for a lack of performing talent; it wouldn't be the first time this has happened. Oh, hang on; it happens all the time. A lot. But are you arguing there is a deficit of talent, or a complete absence thereof? In most cases, the genuinely talentless are found out sooner or later. So, I guess, "We will see".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I find interesting and significant is that commentators repeatedly invoke comparisons with Madonna in her 80s heyday.

But she's a pop star. She's what Madonna was in the 80s.

But that's the thing. Madonna wasn't just "a pop star" - there are hundreds of those, and most are worthless - she was a cultural icon. And that was 25 years ago! What that tells me is that, whilst pop stars have come and gone in great numbers in the intervening period, there has been a paucity of pop icons worthy of comparison with Madonna.

I think this owes to the fact that the market has been ridiculously over-saturated by her music. It's catchy, it's got a beat, it's pop. That's all it is. Nothing revolutionary, nothing new. Just pop.

I have the advantage of being in the UK, where we don't appear to have the culture of "media overkill" that prevails elsewhere. It's pretty easy to avoid over-exposure to toxic irritants. I've only heard "The Fame Monster" because my daughter got it from Santa (who neglected to read the Parental Advisory notice before the elves wrapped it up). Otherwise, I may have heard some of her more popular tracks whilst out in social environments, but certainly not to the point where one would become consciously fed up or nauseous. So, I've heard her music often enough, but not too often. It's not grating, yet. Of the music, I'd say; it isn't exactly "all killer, no filler", but there are some outstanding pop tunes amongst them, which may stand the test of the years. That sort of inconsistency of content is pretty standard for pop, even where the big guns are concerned. Bringing Madonna in again, in the interest of context; at the same stage of her pop career, (circa "Like A Virgin"), Madonna was producing some great songs of enduring class - "Into The Groove", "Like A Virgin", "Material Girl" - and other songs which were big hits, but which are pretty weak affairs when viewed retrospectively and objectively. e.g. "Holiday", "Dress You Up". As RockyRaccoon pointed out: some songs may remain "outstanding" when considered in the context of sentimental nostalgia, but are less than "great songs" in the cold light of day.

"Poker Face" is a great pop song; no doubt about it. Personally, I prefer "Paparazzi" (Live at V Fest 2009) Why do I like "Paparazzi"? Cracking tune, nice production and, hey, I actually quite like the lyrics. :blush: My daughter is 11 years old, and I find that most of the music aimed at her demographic is characterised by the most witless lyrics imaginable. "Paparazzi" has a lyric which is dumb and simplistic on one level, but can also withstand some dissection and analysis of its substrata. Like the best pop. Like the Ramones. Or Madonna.

Another similarity with Madonna, and one which I appreciate, is that Gaga is emphatically not some "classic beauty" chosen by music biz executives from a pageant line-up on the basis of her facial or physical appearance. Individuality and force of personality prevail over the widely-held stereotypical notions of physionomical beauty which often influence a female's perceived suitability for pop stardom.

Another big PLUS in Gaga's favour (for me) is that it's one in the eye for the Idol / X-Factor "painting-by-numbers" approach to star-making. They miss the point of pop so badly, favouring the bland, uncharismatic and malleable. Tellingly, they have not yet unearthed anybody with the magic ingredients that make for genuine cultural icon material. (And they never will.) In an age dominated by mediocre talent show pretenders hell-bent on over-emoting, their usurper - the biggest pop star of NOW - is, ironically, a relatively minimal vocalist who, if anything, makes a feature of under-emoting.

And who probably wouldn't have made it past the local auditions stage. And I think that's, like, dead cool! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I think the main reason I get sick of her is because her music has been overplayed like a school instrument.

But I think this is the way things tend to go. I mean, I know when I was first discovering music from the 60s and 70s, I would tell my parents "Hey, I found (for example) 'I Shot The Sheriff' by Eric Clapton. I really like it." and my parents would say "Ahh yea. I can't stand that song" I would ask why, they would say "That song was played SO much on the radio I got sick of it." I like the song because I just listen to it as a song, and perhaps they liked it at first. But they hate it because of it being overplayed. I think Lady Gaga is the same thing for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think when all the lights fade and the outfits fall as a memory in the years to come, what will be left is her music.

I think it's definitely going to be the other way around. If anything about her is forgotten by the time we're adults, it's going to be her music. People will remember the extravagant stage shows, because that's a huge part of her appeal, and it's the thing that sets her apart from other pop stars (not saying that other pop stars don't have extravagant stage shows, they just don't do them quite like Lady Gaga). I'm not a big theater guy at all, but I do remember seeing plays my high school used to put on. I remember that for "The Music Man" they taught all 100-something cast members how to play the final song on the trombone, but I don't remember what song they played. Sometimes the theatrics are more important than the music. Such is the case for Gaga.

Personally, I'm not really a big fan of Lady Gaga, but I do understand why she's famous and I think in fifty years she'll still be remembered. It's not just the same crap the record companies have been pushing on us...I find it hard to believe that anyone would think something like this is synonymous with stuff like this and will have the same amount of staying power.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well see here's my counter-argument to that. People went crazy over the way David Bowie, early Peter Gabriel Genesis, and Roxy Music acted and dressed throughout the 70s. Yet now, they, and especially Bowie, are not remembered as much for their extravagant showmanship as their music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah but Bowie's music is remembered because it was equally as important as his showmanship, whereas Lady Gaga's music isn't as important as her show as a whole. As for Gabriel-era Genesis and Roxy Music, most people don't remember their showmanship or their music.

Anyways, I'm not really sure what you're getting at with your counter-argument. I'm not saying people are going to be singing "Poker Face" in 50 years, but people will probably remember who Lady Gaga was and how outrageous her shows were. It's really different than the 00s idea of celebrity. In the early 2000s we had celebrities like Paris Hilton, who was known completely for her personal life and not at all for anything she did. Maybe I just haven't been watching enough VH1 but as far as I can tell nobody really says or knows a lot about Lady Gaga's personal life, and the basis of her celebrity is her art. When you hear people talk about Britney Spears it's always something like "did you hear she's gained weight?" but with Gaga it's always something like "did you watch the 'Bad Romance' video? It was wild!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, "Bad Romance". I forgot to mention that one earlier. Another stroke of pop genius. Most pop artists heap shame upon the English language, taking the richness of its vocabulary and turning it into bland, cliched nonsense. Gaga manages the feat in reverse: takes nonsensical gibberish and turns it into a memorable chorus. A sense of absurdity is essential to great pop. If it involves stuff the oldsters find bewildering, so much the better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven’t really suffered too much under the Gaga media barrage partly due to not living in America and partly because I make frequent use of the skip/off/mute buttons when exposed to things that I find particularly grating.

So, her music: overall pretty standard electro-dance-pop fare, I’d say. A little more edgy (by that I mean overtly sexual and provocative, a theme where I tend to think subtle is often more effective than blunt both lyrically and visually) and detached yet sharp and self-aware. She certainly has some talented producers behind her and in the realm of pop rubbish she is a cut above, for now. She’s got a pretty good system worked out: her music/show can be annoying and repetitive and people will label it ironic, sarcastic or satirical or it can be inspired and original and they’ll say it’s fresh, alternative or post-modern (i.e. "weird for the sake of weird" – Moe, bartender, random Simpsons quote of the day). Win, win.

Concerning her image/show, again minimal exposure makes it hard for me to comment I don’t think I’ve ever watched an entire music video, performance or interview. For me, public appearance (outfits, live shows, personal lives) on a musical relevance scale of 1 to 10, comes in about negative 4.

As for Madonna comparisons, there’s some truth there except I’m no fan of hers either so that would serve only to deter me. I wasn’t around during Madonna’s heyday to draw really accurate parallels but I suspect she was about the same ratio of image to music as Lady Gaga is now. Sure she was influential and celebrated as a sort of pop renegade/trendsetter but I find most of her 80’s and early 90’s music hasn’t aged very well (which is likely the fate of Gaga’s discography).

And am I the only one who finds it a bit sad that these are the people our culture looks to as icons, known more for a media facade than actual artistic accomplishment?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And am I the only one who finds it a bit sad that these are the people our culture looks to as icons, known more for a media facade than actual artistic accomplishment?

I would agree. Though some would say that she is a visual artist. But I would argue that she does music. She is a musician. Yet she has so little artistic accomplishment in the musical field. She has the potential to though. But it seems to me that she is more concerned with getting money and fame (and being a fame monster) rather than creating music. And that's fine. People are like that, they've been around forever.

Perhaps since her music isn't the main focus of her, as Batman said, then people will truly only remember her for her showmanship. It'll be something like "Hey, remember that Lady Gaga? Man did she dress weird. What was her famous song? Ah I can't remember."

As for Gabriel-era Genesis and Roxy Music I wouldn't say NOBODY remembers them. But I will acknowledge that they're not particularly famous. Perhaps a better example is the band Alice Cooper. They put on insane shows. And, whereas they are somewhat remembered for their shows, they're more remembered for their music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't get how people can be saying it's bad that Lady Gaga is all about the media. All musicians are. Music is media. I mean Lady Gaga may not be among the top tier of artists around right now, but at least she's famous for her art as opposed to the artists who are famous for their personal lives. And videos and stage shows constitute art as well, it's not like the word "art" is only used to describe music.

RR, what I was getting at when I said "nobody" remembers Gabriel's Genesis was that I think the music isn't particularly well-known anymore, and anyone who does know their music is likely to know about their stage shows as well. And I'm actually gonna disagree with you on Alice Cooper, because even though a large amount of people still remember one of his songs ("School's Out"), you never hear someone mention him and only talk about his music. People inevitably bring up the "shock rock" thing he started. His legacy is that he inspired all the other rock bands whose main focus is a shocking stage show, like solo Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson.

But anyways, even if Alice Cooper is considered to be a good example of a band with elaborate stage shows who still had good music (it's a stretch but let's run with it), I still don't really understand what your point is. You say that that is your counter-argument to my views on Lady Gaga, but what exactly are you countering? Are you trying to counter my argument that sometimes the show is more important than the music?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree. Though some would say that she is a visual artist. But I would argue that she does music. She is a musician.

Then I'm going to argue that John Lennon wasn't a great artist because his books weren't great. He wrote books, so he's an author.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then I'm going to argue that John Lennon wasn't a great artist because his books weren't great. He wrote books, so he's an author.

And he was not a very good author. However he was a great musician. Thus, a great artist. So I guess by the same argument, Lady Gaga is also a great artist, just by a different right.

I guess I'm not exactly offering a counter-argument so much as I'm stating that Lady Gaga is nothing new and revolutionary. She's different, sure, I just get sick of everyone talking about incredibly revolutionary she is. She's not. But then again, 'tis merely my own opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, public appearance (outfits, live shows, personal lives) on a musical relevance scale of 1 to 10, comes in about negative 4.

I think the same. If I wouldn't see pictures of the artists automatically to a majority of new stuff I'm listening to then I wouldn't have any idea what bands look like, how many members they have, etc. On a live show I'm contend when they play their music on stage, I don't need big 'show events' with lights, flames or dancing performances (tbh, I really don't care for dancing performances to music)

BUT, I think that attitude fits to the styles of music I listen to, not to every other one...

I can't imagine having a pop singer or band - regardless of their talent - perform without such a show. Such visual aspects simply belong to pop music, just like a certain image of themselves that the artists want to convey.

(if that doesn't make much sense, sorry, I'm not fully awake yet)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...