Friday, December 18, 2009


A confession: before preparing for VH1's Top 40 Videos of 2009, I had never seen a Lady Gaga video.  I had seen some clips, but that was it. I'm not being a contrarian,  I really hadn't.  Of course I'd seen pictures, and I read her Rolling Stone cover story, which kind of impressed me. I say that with a bit of a caveat: I'm not quite as impressed with her as lots of othre people are. Yes, she plays piano and writes songs, but those songs, to me, are not much differnet than what I imagine the denizens of the "Jersey Shore" listen to. (And no, I haven't seen that show either. I live in New Jersey and went to college in Long Island, I think I've seen the story before.) Most of those artists have no persona nor any media savviness, and so they are forgotten about the moment they fall off of the charts. Gaga brings some of that Madonna and even Marilyn Manson self-marketing to the game. She's grabbed hold of our attention and she won't let go.  I actually watched an inteview with her, when I filmed her appearance on SIRIUS XM Hits 1 a few weeks ago. I thought it was interesting that she carries herself as both a pop superstar and at the same time, more "artsy" than you. But doens't come off as a bitch or a diva. She's actually very smart and very canny.

She also talks about "redefining the idea of what is beautiful." I don't think she really does that. If she plays down her Warholian wardrobe and dresses like a Jersey Shore girl, I bet all the guys down there would have no problem with her. Beth Ditto on the other hand, could maybe redefine the idea of what is beautiful. But I don't think the general public would buy into that.

Back in the '80s when Madonna released her first album, I remember her being really polarizing, and I didn't have a strong opinion of her either way, but I didn't think she would be around for long. That was based on the music, which was nice pop, but I didn't know much about her personality. By the time she released Like A Prayer, I realized she was kind of the real deal and would be around for just as long as she wants to be. Now she is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and I think she deserves that, she's more rock and roll than Leonard Cohen or The Eagles. I wonder if Gaga has a Like A Prayer in her though.

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