Chris Robinson @crmusicwriter

mostly music, sometimes books


Lady Gaga Fatigue

Most Saturday mornings the S.O. and I watch parts of VH1’s Top 20 countdown.  And no, I cannot explain why.  Every once in a while – a long while – there’s a good video (Raphael Saadiq’s “Stone Rollin’” immediately comes to mind) but for the most part it’s stuff I really don’t like, and think is more or less sucky. The fact that I really can’t stand most of what the kids are down for these days further leads me to wonder why I subject myself to things like Jason Derulo’s (I think that’s his name) terrible version of “Day-o” and whatever annoying song it is that Derulo’s fellow Usher clone Pit Bull has.  Perhaps one reason is that I watch to occasionally find videos to show in the classes at KU I teach – because there’s always at least one song on the countdown that can be examined through the lenses of race, gender, class, geography, etc. . . . but I digress….

This week I think #3 on the Top 20 was that fabulous little ditty by Lady Gaga “The Edge of Glory” (this leads me to express my condolences for everyone affected by the loss of Clarence Clemons – you could hear in his solo that he wasn’t doing well, and it didn’t help that he was way down in the mix).  So some of you I’m sure reached Lady Gaga fatigue quite long ago, perhaps some are nearing that point, and perhaps others will not tire of her.  I admit that while I immediately pegged her as an updated version of Madonna, she was – for a time – an interesting figure (the meat dress for example) to watch in terms of gender and spectacle and other things critical theory nerds such as myself get giddy over.  But after watching about 20 seconds of the “Edge of Glory” video I realized I have finally pretty much had it with Lady Gaga and I hope her 15 minutes are close to being up.

This leads me to the point of this post.  I was originally going to put a poll on here, but WordPress, the folks who host this blog, requires one to get a poll account with poll daddy, or whatever it’s called.  I don’t want to do that, so here is a lame poll where you will have to submit your answers in the comment section of this post.  So here goes….

Select the letter that best answers the following question: when do you see yourself reaching the point of Gaga Fatigue?

A. I didn’t even like Madonna

B. Dude, I have been Gaga fatigued since I first heard of her

C. About the time she got on the bandwagon for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

D. meat dress

E. the fervor that existed before the release of the newest record (see, I don’t know what it’s called either)

F. right about now

G. perhaps in a few weeks

H. It’s gonna take another record

I. Never

J. (this one is aimed primarily at academics) Who the hell is Lady Gaga?

3 responses to “Lady Gaga Fatigue”

  1. I will bite. I will say answer A or B. I’m too confused about the amount of attention Lady Gaga receives because it’s hard to get excited for music that frankly lacks originality. I didn’t care for Madonna, so why would I care for Lady Gaga who basically is just like Madonna with the volume turned up to 11? What frustrates me is the amount of praise she receives from music critics like here http://www.slate.com/id/2294985/ which for some reason tries to compare Lady Gaga to Bruce Springsteen. It’s like critics and her fans are gloss over the obvious and try to make grand proclamations that merit no basis in reality. Other than using Clarence Clemons on one track, there is nothing that Lady Gaga has in common with Bruce Springsteen.

    What I don’t understand is if she gets as much attention for her use of high art with her music which I find completely superficial and lack any overall vision. Her over the top camp performances which make her a gay icon, then why isn’t more attention paid to another artist who does both of these only to more success, Janelle Monae? In Monae’s music, she has created an alternate universe using Fritz Lang’s German silent movie masterpiece “Metropolis” and has updated that world to fit her music with an afro-futurism twist. She also plays with gender by her trademark tuxedo that dates back to Marlene Dietrich in the ’40’s. Monae’s musical influences fall within soul music and her pompadour is an update of James Brown’s hair. She even has James Brown’s moves. So why hasn’t Monae’s music caught on like Gaga? I think it’s because Monae doesn’t fulfill the role of a heterosexual popstar like Gaga. Gaga sings and dances like a woman so her music is easier to market to a wider audience while Monae plays the part of a male pop star. She even sounds like a young Michael Jackson. Hopefully Gaga will fade away soon and more respect will be paid to those artists who deserve it.

  2. Nothing like showing up late to a party. My answer is E, but with a caveat. Now that another year and a half has passed, I’m finding more nuance to the entire Gaga package. I would have been completely embarrassed a year or two ago to know that I would make this statement now, but I see a bit more than just the catchy beats, eccentric public profile, and rehashed lyrical themes. I certainly don’t think that she is any kind of prodigy or an answer to the prayers of the pop masses, but I do think there is a bit more than originally met the eye (and ear).

    This implies, of course, that I have actually spent any significant amount of time listening to and evaluating her music, which I have not. But in passing, over several years, and with quite limited investment of time and effort, I think she’s got something at least a bit relevant going on. I’m interested to see what becomes of her in the coming years, train wreck or otherwise.

    1. wow Joanna, better late than never 🙂 I can’t even remember what option E was, I’m kind of gunning for an impending train wreck just for kicks, although with as long as she’s been around without a train wreck or running out of steam, maybe there is enough substance to keep her going – the LGBT support definitely has helped to keep her relevant, although that seems to have been a while ago. That being said, I haven’t been paying much attention recently, I seem to be going deeper and deeper under the rock I live under.

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