Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Thought For The Day: On Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is one of the great performers of the 21st century. Who else dares to wear a dress made of meat, develops prosthetic face horns or appears before a screaming Carlisle audience in a rubber catsuit that looks as if it were designed with men with a pregnancy fetish in mind? She has taken the nightclub staple of doing a “look” and thrown it out to the general public on a level nobody has achieved since David Bowie, all the while singing and dancing with rigid professionalism and discipline.
So why does her music have to be so bad?

Will Hodgkinson asks the obvious question in The Times.

"Born This Way is the album equivalent of a finely cooked meal with a load of tomato ketchup splurged all over it. It’s full of nice ideas, but they are inevitably subsumed under the all-powering but bland ingredient of Nineties Euro dance. Something original and interesting will start up but, before you know it, a familiar thud-thud beat bludgeons it into non-existence...
"The title track of Born This Way is the big anthem. With lines such as “don’t be a drag, just be a queen” it’s so squarely aimed at Lady Gaga’s gay audience that you suspect she would have roped in John Inman to trill “I’m free” somewhere around the second verse."

Couldn't agree more.
Fagburn's problem with the Gaga is that the music sounds like the sort of music I've been running away from in gay clubs for the last 100 years.
Oh, and I find her ever so slightly patronising.


  1. Yes, yes, she's terrible - now where's Beanie Man when you need him?


  2. In my bedroom.
    I am currently bumming the Beenie.
    What is point?

  3. Different strokes for different folks?

    You don't like GaGa and you've quoted someone else who doesn't but music is so subjective that I don't see how it can be seen as an authority.

    Many people love her and her music and she's using her voice positively.

    She's recently been named Forbes most influential celebrity and she's a strong supporter of the gays both in actions and words - I guess I just fail to see how this is a bad thing.

  4. It's a good thing - I just wish I never have to hear another rubbish record by her.

  5. I guess I think of this as a gay blog (rightly or wrongly) so I'm a bit surprised every time you take digs at GaGa who is so gay friendly and always uses her considerable fame to campaign so strongly for gay rights.

    But if it boils down to a matter of personal musical tastes then I get it!

  6. Does she like the Gays?
    I didn't know that - thanks.

  7. Don't be a d*ck - I just said I now understood where you were coming from! :)

  8. If she's fighting for gay rights then surely she's doing so because she thinks it's worth fighting for. Whether we buy her records or not is irrelevent.
    I don't see why - if she puts out a shit record - the fact she's "an ally" is used to silence anyone who says it's a shit record.
    Let's get one thing straight: Gaga has made a fortune and become famous off the back of an adoring gay fanbase.
    She puts out something that's great and appeals to "us", then we buy it and she makes a fortune.
    She puts out shit then we don't buy it.
    Seems fair enough.
    If she really believes in gay rights, then she'll carry on being "an ally" whether we buy her records or not.

    It's patronising in the extreme to suggest that because she's vocal about gay rights we should buy any old tripe she releases.
    I think she's amazing. I think her music is shit.

  9. "She puts out something that's great"

    When was that exactly?


  10. Darren: I get what you say (I still maintain that all music is subjective so its pointless trying to convince anyone to alter their opinions which was definitely not what I was trying to do).

    I guess what I should have asked was is her music so shit that she needs to be singled out in this blog?

    Was the context of this initial post only that her music is shit?

    If so what about Britney, Ke$ha, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce et al. Do you like them all or can we look forward to future posts commenting on how shit their music is too?

  11. Sorry, I didn't mean to say "shit" - I just think it's frustration, in my case at least, that I don't love her music as much as I love her (or, rather, what she's created around herself).
    I think, as far as the other singers you mentioned, they're all kind of boring compared to Lady Gaga, so it's easier to accept when they produce something I don;t like, because I'm not expecting them to do anything interesting.
    And none of them are as identified with gay politics as Lady Gaga now is. So I think it's a given that she will be written about by gay writers more than the others.
    There seems to be this inference now that if you are gay then you MUST like Lady Gaga... or, to be more specific: if you're gay then you must NOT criticise Lady Gaga. That is patronising and I think that will provoke any gay person/writer who isn't that keen to be much more vocal about it.

  12. She's not been "singled out in this blog" - I've written about over a thousand other people.

  13. Tis shit though.

  14. She's taken gay culture and used it as a weapon to bludgeon us into submission.

  15. Fagburn: Re "singled out" I've been reading this blog for a while now and I honestly don't recall you commenting on your dislike for another recording artist apropos to nothing.

    Perhaps I haven't been reading long enough in which case it serves me right! :)

  16. Last time I checked, it is Lady Gaga who has a CD out this week, so this is not "singling her out".

    Does Kesha have a new album out in a week? No. Britney? Beyonce? Shakira? Rihanna? I don't think so.

    You guys are just annoyed and "bitchy" because she is not being worshiped here. Funny: I never see you little monsters complaining about the press singling her out when it's positive.

    Personally, as "taste" (for music, food, whatever) is subjective, I think the albums is okay, I'll be hearing a few tracks a lot. However, I do think Gaga is the most overrated super-star now-a-days:

    She's far from being a real performer, anyone who has seen her live should be disgusted by comparisons people make with Madonna. Even Kylie Minogue is a better performer than Gaga.

    As a songwriter, gaga is a joke. When she does not use of nursery rhymes, there's no rhymes at all (for those who dont understand the concept: rhyming will give musicality to the words of a song). Gaga often changes the pronunciation of words of make up neologisms to make her words "musical".

    As a pianist, yes, she can play the piano, and she often makes mistakes in the piano too - check her "edge of Glory" performance (BBC Radio 1 Weekend thing), she plays the wrong keys THREE timnes throughout the performance. Besides that, playing any intrument is more of a skill than talent. So please, I don't ever want to read any of her little monsters saying she's talented, because she plays the piano.

  17. I thought she might redefine what it means to be a pop star, but suddenly it's all feeling a bit disposable and rehashed. Thanks for pointing out that she is a natural and inspired performer, but that the music she's churning out (with help) is, by and large, unoriginal drivel. p.s. I love you!

  18. the only reason that woman campaigns for gay rights is to leech off them to support the image she plays up. its all good for her being an advocate of gay right's when its a target market. i'm an advocate of gay rights but I don't claim to be a fucking part of the community.

  19. As much as I dislike Lady Gaga and her music, I have to take issue with this statement:

    "Fagburn's problem with the Gaga is that the music sounds like the sort of music I've been running away from in gay clubs for the last 100 years."

    It seems to dismiss all dance music outright simply because it's stereotypically gay, as though not listening to club music is some kind of political statement about how you're gay, but you're not one of "those" gays.

    I say dismiss Lady Gaga's music because it's awful, not because it's gay club-friendly; the two aren't one and the same.

  20. Hi Juan,

    That's SO not what I meant!


  21. Her music is DELIBERATELY radio friendly. Have you ever heard another song include the words 'Gay, Lesbian, Transgender'? Chances are if you have it was about a million miles away from any music sales chart.

    Ke$ha had a new album out in January. Britney Spears in March. Both have courted the gays for their spending power, with the former claiming her song about getting drunk because 'we r who we r' is about being free to be gay, but have any of them actually bothered to use their power in a truly positive way? No. Madonna gave up years ago, Kylie is too scared to offend anyone so keeps schtum. Did either Britney or Ke$ha get Fagburn mentions? I don't recall any.

    As for Gaga's music, it's the same ilk as the other 'pop' stars, only how much of that music was being played on US pop radio before Just Dance? How many people were working with RedOne and Garibay? How many of those can pull out a Bruce Springsteen sax interlude by Clarence Clemons? How many can get Brian May on a track? How many of those can command an audience by simply singing and playing the piano (even if she supposedly hit a bum note THREE times in the same song that she actually composed... intentional, much?)? How many of those actually author their own music (Gaga's main producer has admitted she usually writes 100% but shares a credit with people she's worked with if they've had even minor input in changing a word)?

    It may not be to your taste, but to claim Madonna and Kylie are better performers is absolutely hilarious... neither have an ounce of musical talent, and their voices lack the power and range of Gaga. Whether she decides to stay making the commercial pop music that is selling EXTREMELY well and clearly going far above and beyond 'homosexual' audiences is for her to decide, but she could easily be the new Freddie Mercury or Elton John, something most pop performers these days cannot say.

  22. You take Will Hodgkinson as your cultural yardstick? Jeez. Those that can, do; those that can't, write about it. I'll make up my own mind about stuff thanks. Do you tell other people what to like?