Lady Gaga: The Rise of Strange
Genius, Fake, Visionary, Fraud. These are some of the words used to describe the most talked about artist of the last three years, Lady Gaga.
The question that has been on my mind for a while now is she worth all the press coverage that she has gotten since she burst onto the music scene?
Does she deserve all the hype & attention the world has given her? Is she the icon that many claim her to be or is she the run of the mill star who has used her fame coupled with a great selection of publicity stunts to make herself the icon that we(the media and society) have made her to be.
Let’s be honest, if you love music you know her. If you love art you know her. If you love fashion you know her, hell if you don’t know who she is then which rock have you been hiding under! She has made herself an entity that has revolutionised life as we know it and she has done every facet of it.
She is on the cover of magazines that range from tabloids, to high fashion, art, music and I even saw her on the cover of a gaming/nerd magazine.
She has even managed to infiltrate the way we speak, terms such as “Lady Gagaish” or “Gagaish” have become the normal way to describe someone’s behaviour or fashion. Her lyrics have given new meaning to many words, i.e. penis in her song Love Game is referred to as a “disco stick”.
Stefani Germanotta, started as a normal Guidette (a female version of a Guido, for the definition of Guido watch the first episode of the Jersey Shore or any gangster film from the last 10 years) and regular Jenny from the bloc, in New York dreaming of becoming a star like many other boys and girls of the MTV and MXIT generation.
When she first ventured into the music industry she struggled for years to find her feet as an artist. She eventually hooked up with fellow star-in-the-making Lady Starlight who was fairly more established than her. The two played at a few independent festivals and put together some merry tunes together while all of the time building up a solid fan base. She eventually signed to Def Jam Recordings where she started off as a song writer, penning lyrics for the likes of Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilerra and many others who tortured men and made tweens faint.
She eventually struck out on her own with a hit song called Just Dance which featured Sengelese born hit-maker Akon. The song had some success but it had nothing compared with what was about to come.
The next time we heard from the queen of strange, the platinum blond haired colossus was in the dance hit Poker Face. The song shook the music like an earthquake in Japan(ooh! too soon?). The song featured a horse voiced woman in leather and a diamante mask sing an uber catchy chorus. People everywhere were taken, Facebook feeds were clogged and patience was strained with the catchy line of “Poker face, pa pa poker face! NA! NA! NA! Im sure even the Great Dane in the video was like What The *&@#?.
In her next hit we saw her in the aforementioned pop yet risqué song Love Game. With its sexual undertow, you knew there was trouble bound for the woman. Funny enough not too much a deal was made of it and people began too enjoy and some just hoped she would go away.
She then showed her real talent, both vocally and in her song writing skills(did I mention she happens to write her own music and songs?) in the form of the power ballad Paparazzi. The song stunned many and turned hardened haters to pay attention to her. The song seemed almost prophetic in the way she would rise to the top in her lyrics “I’m your biggest fan I will follow you until you love me, baby there is no other superstar you know that I‘ll be papa paparazzi”, did Gaga know something we didn’t?
Did she know that her time had come to revolutionize music and life as we know it when pop was stagnant and the most enjoyment we got was seeing Beyonce shake her ass or people getting beaten up on Youtube.
From then on there was no stopping her, like a train in a Tony Scott movie, Lady Gaga bulldozed her way into our lives. She filled newscasts with her crazy statements, artists wanted to work with her, and voyeurs had a new star for their mental masturbation. The world was on notice. It was take notice of her or get left behind. She has created new avenues to express yourself and reopened the ones created by artists like David Bowie, Cher and by the artist she has been most compared to Madonna.
Like Madonna, she was risky, she didn’t give a damn whether you liked it or not, she wanted to express angst in the sexual tension that the world had. Unlike Madonna, she grew up in the MTV world where kids knew more about life than their parents and the generations before her.Where Madonna was the button pusher, Gaga is considered the voice. She has become the acceptance board for all that have issues or want to break free from the mundane that’s is life.
She has also become a muse. A muse for artists who want to break the confines that rational thinking has given them. Designers swarmed her to her like vultures to a dying piece of carrion. Top designers like Jean Paul Goutier and Alexander McQueen wanted to use her as an avenue to let loose like the preverbal bull in the china shop, she had become the place where other stars would find it too risky to explore. Artists, people like painters and directors have wanted to work with her on music videos, not since the days of Motley Crew and rock n roll.
You can’t walk in a mall without seeing a shirt with her face on a trendy t-shirt. She has allowed or rather forced other celebrities to up their game fashion wise to stay in the news. Could you imagine what Andy Warhol would have done if he was around now or she had come 30 years earlier? It would be like a fat kid in a chocolate factory.
Not only has she become a muse but she has also become the voice of a generation. Her “Little Monsters”(what she and her official fans are called) has become a force that influence thinking and situations. They can be compared to the Belibers(the fans of the pigmy Canadian Justin Bieber) but except they are more artists and over the of age 16. These very fans made her have the record of having the most Twitter fans in the shortest space of time.
Lets be honest, whether we like it or not, Lady Gaga is everywhere, She owns the world, but is she worth the hype. Some call her a genius and visionary, while some call her a fraud and a copy cat. The truth is there is some substances behind the girl. Everything she does is a performance. Her Monster Ball Tour is like a Broadway musical with amazing props, vocal performances and it even featured performances from her background performers. The girl is gold. She even has revitalised the Polaroid Camera which was butchered by the age of digital, and is know the official face of Polaroid. Her style was unique but is now copied by artists like Ke$ha, Jessie J and every newbie who seems to be hatched by the Pop Machine yet many seem to flat.
She has vocal talent and can play instruments, she shows them in Paparazzi and Speechless(when was performed the songs earlier at the 2009/2010 Grammy Awards people where stunned) and if you watch her Home Box Office special of her Monster Ball Tour, which she sold out Madison Square Garden (the greatest venue in the world) five time in a row, she leads a Southern American church like song from her acceptance song Born This Way. Her music videos have become performance art, even leading to dance contest to mimic her moves. Her latest music and videos in the case of Born This Way and her recently released Judas may reek of Madonna but to be honest it is not.
You could even draw comparisons to her to shock rock lock legends like Alice Cooper, Kiss and Marilyn Manson. Her acceptance of all races, genders and sexualities have made her the voice of the generations and make her bigger than Elvis, The Beatles and dare I say Jesus. She has done more for people than any religion. When we are in our 40’s VH1 will being playing Lady Gaga in the legend sections.
Say what you like about her Lady Gaga, she is here to stay. With chart topping songs, forward thinking fashion, artistic prowess, and bridge-gaping love. Like the blond hair goddess says, she is on the right track, she will definitely live on throughout history.