OMG! Lady Gaga Haz A Nu Video! June 9, 2010Posted by Skippy in Music, Observations, Popular Culture.
Tags: derivative nonsense, music
…and it’s derivative and boring.
Fig. 1: I liked this better when it was called “Express Yourself.”
Children, I never got on board the Lady Gaga hype. Frankly, I think she’s a Madonna-knock off. She’s a well-produced knock-off, but a knock-off nonetheless.
And this video—-really? Does she think that just slapping together a bunch of flashy images, latex bondage, cheap religious iconography, and hot video boys constitutes a “good” video? Yes, all of these elements are present in any number of Madonna’s videos. However, there’s a difference: Madonna gave the viewer a narrative structure. Look at “Human Nature” or “Express Yourself” or “Like a Prayer”; when Madonna gave you a video, she gave you a story—-not a discombobulated conglomeration of allegedly shocking images that had little if anything to do to the underlying song.
Speaking of the song, listen to Gaga’s “Alejandro.” My god, could a song be less interesting? The song itself sounds like it was lifted in parts from an Ace of Base song. It’s repetitive and boring. No wonder the video can’t take us anywhere; the song itself has nothing on which to hold on to. I guess she’s singing about someone calling her Alejandro? Or Roberto? It is astounding to me that people repeatedly compare others to Gaga, when it’s so clear that she herself is a whack derivative of Madonna. She’s copied all of Madonna’s stylistic moves, but hasn’t bothered to understand the contexts in which Madonna made those moves. Trying to transport Madonna’s late 20th century “feminist”(I’m not saying Madonna is a feminist) moves into an early 21st century “post-feminist” context just doesn’t work. It’s as though she has no idea who Lady Gaga is—-what is Lady Gaga trying to say? What is she commenting on? I mean, “Poker Face,” “Telephone” and “Alejandro” sound like merely disposable club songs—-frankly, anybody could “sing” those songs. And anybody could put together a long-form video with slick images and hot go-go boys. Making the two work together is altogether different.
And here, I have to come back to the images slapped together in Gaga’s video. I do not understand what the religious imagery in this video is supposed to do. Is it supposed to be “shocking”? “Provocative”? Sadly, those images are neither. Frankly, they come off as pedantic and trite. A supposed “nun” swallowing the rosary isn’t interesting if there’s no narrative structure in which the viewer can make sense of such an action. Is Gaga swallowing the rosary…in protest? By the four-minute mark, the viewer begins to lose interest in the video, because the images themselves become repetitive, just like the song itself. If you can make it halfway through the video, you’ve seen the rest of the video. The allegedly androgynous go-go boys all have Three Stooges haircuts which is somewhat distracting—-why are they wearing those haircuts? Again, you stop caring; it’s not like you get an answer anyway.
Further, I think that the presence of the go-go boys are there to distract from Gaga herself. Despite the fact that she’s paler than a ghost and has the distinctive blonde hair, her presence in the video isn’t powerful. She doesn’t command attention—-again, not in the way that Madonna does in her videos. Watching “Alejandro,” I couldn’t help but wonder if Gaga doesn’t have a particular lack of confidence in her “Gaga-ness.” I wonder if she uses all these derivative images in order to distract the viewer from her rather less-than-striking self. I certainly could be wrong here; I base this assessment on my own observation that Gaga is far less…”attractive” than Madonna, a clearly subjective assertion.
Sadly, all watching this video did was make me go on YouTube to find all of Madonna’s older videos.