So I haven’t reviewed anything in a while now and that’s not fair to readers. I at least owe someone who might care a review of the latest Lady Gaga album. Time has passed since I got my hands on it and my exposure to this pop persona has increased immensely. Same for most everyone, I think.
Previously, I used to be pretty mean to her. “Lady Caca,” I would call her. “Pure pop garbage” was my basic stance. I blogged about a website that was critical of the Illuminati symbolism she incorporates into her shtick (you have to admit…it’s totally there).
To the Illuminati blog, my [now ex] girlfriend mentioned something just as I had thought of it, too. The secret society stuff is a good gimmick. Indeed it is. Secret Chiefs 3, one of the most truly gifted bands of our day, uses the same gimmick. The difference is this, though: Secret Chiefs 3 own their gimmick…Lady Gaga seems to be a victim of hers. Granted, the mere thought of her as a tool for wealthy and powerful forces of old makes for an incredibly dark aura around America’s [generally] blond heroin. (Yes…like the drug.)
But hey. That can be a morbidly enjoyable thing, as well. I should be entertained, not sympathetic to a zombie pop star. Shit. I don’t even know her. Furthermore, most straight people that like her aren’t even worth knowing.
But then there are the gays. Gay people really seem to enjoy Lady Gaga. Not just gay people, but gay people with respectable taste. Sure, Lady Gaga leaves no second guessing of her affinity for gay culture. There is something deeper here, though. Homosexuals see something there that apparently strikes at the core of gay culture. In a nutshell, I presume it’s basically flamboyance. That weird, large stepping, up looking, blue light basking sex via feeling via driving electronic music (and maybe a little bit of cocaine or ecstasy back in the day…or bathroom).
As a mostly straight male, I have never really understood that whole thing and I probably never will. And being outside of that perspective, I have a really hard time discerning that which is a cultural imperative and that which is a stereotype. Pandering to homosexuals is great…especially if the artist truly respects their current civil rights struggle. However, keeping an air of 1990 doesn’t seem progressive enough, rendering Gaga to potentially be nothing more than a fleeting gag.
The costumes are fun. Great even. She can actually play a piano and sing, too. Awesome. But we have to ask ourselves…how is all this good stuff being utilized?
The music is the thing, so let’s just take it there for now. It has a beat. It has very basic keyboard programming. It has some gottdamned autotuning. Lyrically, it’s not saying anything that would make anyone think outside of themselves. Thankfully, it’s not the ego worshiping call to superficiality that her debut, The Fame, was. Instead, we have eight suffocating tracks about all those crazy feelings you get when you’re in love! Whoopity doo.
So this girl has a large platform now and this is how she uses it. Dressing up the typical and mundane as something greater than it is. I must give her credit, for it is so well dressed that it is difficult to turn away from. Until, of course, it opens its mouth. Then it becomes further evidence of who really controls pop music. Say it with me! Coked out rich guys and their demographic analysis!
And so, despite some crazy design work, we end up revisiting sounds reminiscent of unfortunately unforgettable acts such as Ace of Base, La Bouche and – I don’t know – Haddaway? Is this a sound that defines a generation…or a movement? I hope not. Yet, Gaga does show promise in a single song. Of course, I am talking about the album’s sole organic track, “Speechless.” Another stupid relationship song – one I’m sure will be the “last skate of the night” at roller rinks everywhere – but considering the music alone, it’s a talented stretch compared to all else she has released. Too bad it’s the token slow song in a wading pool of crack.
Frat boys can go to clubs, hear this music and like it because the girls will dance to it. Maybe a few of them will actually realize Gaga’s nod to homosexuality. Then they can secretly get really into it, fuck a few dudes, then get married to a woman and resent their lives. Sad and funny at the same time!
The true societal mess of all this exists in the viewpoint of those frat boys’ dads and all their political clout. Equal rights for homosexuals? Of course. America is incredibly late to the game on that. But these older, wealthier forces are going to need a hell of a lot of arm twisting to believe that. All Lady Gaga does is spook them deep into the safe, dark corners of their own belief systems. Their stereotypes become reinforced as it appears to them that perhaps gay has never changed. It continues to be read by them as something stagnant and specific. A shallow light show with cooties. (Re: Adam Lambert.)
Those kinds of people are simply not hip to the idea of an intellectual homosexual. All they have is MTV and the news. That’s as far as homosexuality reaches into their homes or psyches. Seeing as how inescapable Gaga the Symbol is in these things, I have to wonder if maybe she is that aforementioned zombie pop star – controlled by her handlers as an attempt at reverse psychology to reinforce the gay stereotype and prevent their civil rights struggle from being taken seriously enough to gain any real traction.
Yes. This is a delicate thing. Who the fuck am I to tell Lady Gaga to change her “message” and sound to appease some rich asshole I don’t even care about? So if I may, I would like to address Lady Gaga directly, as a friend. And to her, I say this…
Take this influence you have and transcend all that you have built in flaccid pop music. If you wish to be a political force, then use your message as political leverage. I believe in you, Lady Gaga.
Oh…and quit making music that sounds so fucking dated.