Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Listening Post


One of the most curiously entertaining pastimes in the world of pop culture these days is listening to -- and occasionally engaging in -- the endless debate over whether Lady GaGa is a pioneering genius or a derivative hack (or perhaps a genius precisely because she is nothing more than a derivative hack).

Regardless, she's brought a kind of visual flair back to music performance and the medium of the music video that's been sorely missing for years -- and for that I give her credit. I said this last year, when I called Bad Romance one of the best singles of 2009: Love her or hate her, you can't deny her as a cultural force.

Case in point: Her new video, for Alejandro, was released just yesterday and in that time it's gotten almost three-and-a-half million views on YouTube. Katy Perry's already labeled it "blasphemous" and, at the very least, I think it can be said that GaGa pulls off "inexplicably sexy" better than just about anyone.

So is it brilliant, ridiculous, or not even worth raising an eyebrow over? Well, you decide.

Here's Lady GaGa's not-at-all-homoerotic new video -- Alejandro.

23 comments:

Tabi said...

I wouldn't call it shocking. She's just invoking Madonna. This reminds me of the "Like a Prayer" video.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly ridiculous, and I'm sure the eyebrows of any god-fearing-church-going folk who happened to see it have worked their way up over the back of their head... I just wish she made an effort to transfer some of the batshit insanity she gets into the videos into the fucking music. It's frustrating knowing that if I heard this on the radio, I'd have no idea who it was, but visually it's obvious.
I suppose I could give her credit for sucking the kids in with pretty regular safe sounding pop music and then sucker-punching them with the satanic, homoerotic, nazi fetish thing in the videos.
In any case, this was a cool video.

Forrest said...

Is it possible that Gaga is Marylin Manson's younger, more pop sister? Similar facial features and video sensibilities.

The Bacon said...

Credit where it is due, she is an excellent author of pop songs. Hooks galore...I've nearly concussed myself in the past to remove GaGa songs.

That said, it is of very little value musically. bare bones latin rhythm mixed with a standard pop beat...about a 10 semitone vocal range...no real musicianship to speak of or instrumental flare.

As far as the video....someone should tell her you can't shock people anymore. Go ahead and have a bunch of gay guys in bikinis grind on each other while you alternate between a Habit (sp?) and you nether covers. It completely fails.

Oh, and she is a terrible dancer as well. Laughable really.

If an artist really wanted to shock the public today, the best way to do it would be write a song that means something, record it with excellent musicians and have the humility to let them play it well, stand there fully dressed and sing it with class and dignity.

Anonymous said...

There is some seriously trippy shit in that. My reactions went from LOL to some awe that anyone would try some of the concepts in that video. The dance sequences look like Tom's of Finland meets the June Taylor Dancers meets the Village People meets the Three Stooges (those guys fondling her look just like Moe). Music reminded me of Abba - I could definitely see them doing that song.

That was my first taste of Gaga. I don't see the music as anything to write home about, but that video is the neatest thing since Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

I want to see her cover Soft Cell's "Sex Dwarf".

Alanna said...

The song blows, that's all I know. When I found out it was her, I was sorely dissappointed.

The video is interesting. I give her credit for what she's done. She's basically Divine Miss Gaga. Upper crust, UWS Catholic HS gal turns into blasphemous pop-star. Sick Body, too!

marija said...

Gaga's music? Laughable - this song reminded me instantly of Ace of Base, Sweden's worst export product EVER.
Gaga's videos? Amazing - I agree with Anonymous that it's sad that she doesn't put as much thought into her music as she puts into her videos and public persona.
She took the Madonna thing to a whole new level (ebola-level catchy tunes, flashy clothes and dance moves, little to none singing talent) and congrats on that. However, I'd be much happier if she chose to pursue a career in film.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Madonna and sounds like Ace of Bass. The video is interesting but I think that some of the others are better.

God I'm getting old. I picked up the Ace of Bass feel after listening to it for a few minutes. The sad part is that I've gotten to the point that I can't stand to listen to the local pop station. I'll turn it over to classic country before I listen. (I'm turning into my parents.)

Since I had to go to YouTube, I noticed that Justin Beiber videos were showing up too. What's the big deal with this kid? Any one else think that he looks like Ricky Martin during the Menudo years? (Through the power of Google it seems like others have had this same thought.)

slouchmonkey said...

Hack-e-sack! Ok, you've got Bowie, Manson, Madonna, Fosse and a few others all jumbled up to make some sort of confusing artistic vision with no real emotional impact. Fernando, Alejandro, Roberto, Pedro, Alvaro and any other Latin name ending in O is repeated in a over produced (I'm not sure how) one note tone over a basic techno beat. For FUCK sake! Plus, cut-cut-cutcutcutcutcutcu-cut-cut-cut-cut-cut-cut-cutcutCUT-CUT! I wish these fuckers (video directors and artists) would go back and watch the Nicholas Brothers dance. One take, bitches! I'm with The Beacon. You want to be ground breaking? Write a song, fucking stand there and play it live, then let someone film you with a camera!

rockygrace said...

Well, THERE'S eight minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

Sheesh.

J. Dack said...

As another commenter said, it just feels to me like she's trying to be this decade's Madonna.

And it's working. But I still don't care. I never liked Madonna either.

Deacon Blue said...

I liked the earlier video you posted months ago from her.

This one, not so much.

It sounds like La Isla Bonita from Madonna and looks like a mashup of Madonna's Like a Prayer, Justify My Love, and Erotica videos

Figgylicious said...

It's not my favorite thing she's done (that would be Bad Romance), but my God I'm happy that someone's bringing fun back into music videos. I look forward to every new thing she comes out with, because you know it'll be nothing short of spectacularly bizarre.

The song is a bit repetitive, but the video is visually striking, and I'm just so glad she exists.

slouchmonkey said...

Sorry, The Bacon. Agreed Alana, sick body, though.

Web Dunce said...

I want to like her, I really do, but come on. There's nothing here that hasn't been recycled ad nauseam. She's like Madonna circa 1990 - only really creepy and sans the bombshell sexy. Although I must admit, the Fembot tits gave me a chuckle.

babita781 said...

I'm so old that I'm glad someone is finally making videos that cause a stir again, and too old to be stirred by stuff I saw decades ago.

Anonymous said...

Appears to have been cut from Julie Brown's "Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful"... but not as funny.. not that "Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful" was funny.

Amii said...

As noted, the Madonna similarities cannot be ignored. They are so prevalent, that she should be credited

It's so much like Madonna's work that if this were English class, the teacher would tell Gaga that the next time she cheats off someone in class she should mix the sentences up a little so it won't be so glaringly obvious.

Alanna said...

The homoerotic "Rhythm Nation" Ring-around-the-rosey makes me giggle.

Tim said...

If you cherry-picked the best images and pared the video down to the length of the actual song, it might be great. As it is, it's a 9-minute video for a 4-minute song, without a concept coherent enough to justify it.

Thomas B said...

But the girl's done her job here, I reckon -- everybody's got an opinion, either for or against ... It's been a while since a pop star's come along who provokes thought at all, really. In that case, I've got to say that Gaga's done her job quite well.

Nick said...

at least MIA's video had exploding children.

Nick said...

and at least MIA ripped off the beat from Suicide's "Ghost Rider" instead of "Don't Turn Around" by Ace of Base.