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why i love lady gaga

I don’t listen to much pop music. My musical tastes vary, but I tend to steer clear of crappy auto-tunes, never have a good idea of what’s on the radio and ignore a lot of mainstream music in favor of more independent or older music with some sort of tangible feeling behind it.

There are, of course, some exceptions to this rule: I have a deep love for Jay-Z and Beyoncé that is rooted in their masterful marketing strategies and combined powerhouse of awesomeness, I think Stevie Wonder is a genius, Madonna is my homegirl and Rihanna’s beauty and power fascinate me.
But most importantly, the kryptonite to my solid stance against pop music is a strange-looking, 5’1” woman named Stefani Germanotta. I have a huge soft spot for Lady Gaga.

I always say that I am attracted to talent – whether it’s the written, performed, what have you – and easily become captivated by it. That’s why I love her so much: Lady Gaga has a talent that simply cannot be ignored. Yes, her theatrics, choice of wardrobe, general public behavior and musical stylings are all questionable.

But you have to give it to her – in a time when most of the world is facing the biggest economic downturn since 1929, she has risen to a kind of superstardom that no one since Michael Jackson has achieved. How can that be?

I believe that Lady Gaga could have only become famous at this particular point in time, in our generation and in our culture. She is smart, knows how to market herself and did the kind of hard work that transient artists (sorry Ke$ha, that’s you) just can’t seem to wrap their heads around.

I’ll spare you a history lesson, since every major music magazine has written something about Lady Gaga over the past two years, but I think pointing our why her ascension to the top of pop culture is worth noting. She developed a loyal fanbase first through performing her ass off in small clubs, then established herself through (at the time) emerging social media and only after she had solidified herself as an artist, shared her philosophy and talent with the mainstream.

The motivating idea behind her act is essentially a postmodern convention: she is exposing all the ugliness of fame by destroying what we associate with pop music and then selling that back to an audience that is ready and willing to consume. She turns pop music on its head because she represents the antithesis of everything American culture thinks is beautiful: she distorts herself physically, embraces subcultures that are generally prejudiced against and forefronts aspects of the underground that suburban white kids and their moms don’t want to know about. Then she adds a synth beat and catchy lyrics and sells this image to the very people she’s making a comment about. It’s brilliant, really.

Whether or not her marketing is as calculated as that or she just stepped in it, if you look at her as a performance artist, what she’s done in such a short time is quite actually amazing. Clearly, I’m not the only one who thinks this – her collaborations and access to major phenoms in pop culture speak for themselves. Everyone loves her.

One of the biggest reasons I love her, though, is her ability to constantly change. Not since Madonna have we seen an artist so capable of reinventing herself. I think Gaga is about to make a major shift in not just her image, but more importantly, her music.

This is a now classic video of her talent showcase at NYU before the Fame began and her premiere of “You and I” on the Today show here showcases her musical talent.

I chose these two videos, her oldest and one of her more recent, because there is a common styling and arrangement in each that prove that we’re very soon going to a witness a change in her repertoire from the dance beats that got her noticed to the heart-on-her-sleeve piano ballads and rock songs because she’s really passionate about performing this kind of music.
Despite the fact that she’s sitting there in a rhinestoned bra, both her voice and the passion with which she performs indicate that the surrounding hoop-la is superfluous as soon as she opens her mouth.

She has captured our attention and held it, we love her so much that whatever change she makes will not hurt her and she has proven to her label that she’s marketable in every sense of the word, so I think on her second record she will develop this aspect of her music more freely. I know I am not alone when I say I can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.

Read Neale Irwin’s anti-Gaga rant here.

5 thoughts on “why i love lady gaga

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