Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who is this embarrassing train wreck of a 'musician'? On Sunday I was watching the end of Rove while waiting for Dexter to start, and I witnessed a sight so embarrassing that I could barely look at the screen. It was this creature called Lady GaGa who looks like bargain basement Gwen Stefani and sounds like... whatever heavily autotuned pop sluts sound like without their autotuner. For some reason she was wearing these glasses that looked like twin televisions. Then she said, in a retarded fake British accent like the one Britney used to affect during the dark times of 2007: "Hello, my name is Lady GaGa. And this is Rove."

And then the shrieks of teenage girls rang out like klaxons warning of an imminent pop shitstorm!

This, FYI, is what the song is supposed to sound like:

Watching the original video provides some explanation of why she was spasmodically half-covering her face all the time. It's like a terrible pastiche of voguing, without voguing's sense of theatre or its stylishness. This offends me greatly, that a pop star who owes so much to gay culture (here she is performing at San Francisco Pride 2008) seems so incapable of paying proper homage to gay cultural touchstones. Madonna was accused of stealing voguing, but at least she did it properly! Also, she has ripped off Kylie Minogue's weird hood thingo from 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'.

I had, in fact, heard of Lady GaGa before, because she totally fucked up an appearance on Sunrise by taking the 'sync' out of 'lipsyncing'. I didn't catch it, but read about the trainwreck on BrizBands. It was bad enough for Sunrise EP Adam Boland to release the following statement by way of apology:

"This morning's performance from Lady GaGa was obviously not live. That is a clear breach of Sunrise policy on music performances. We'd like to apologise for the segment and assure you we view the breach extremely seriously. We pride ourselves on our live music performances and will continue to deliver Australian audiences with the best acts from here and overseas."

I'm definitely a fan of pop artifice - it's not as though I'm condemning Lady GaGa for not strumming a guitar and writing songs that came from deep within her heart, y'know? But what offends me is that: a) she is really BAD at a genre that can be really excellent and transcendent when done well; b) despite her obvious awfulness, the Rove teenyboppers appeared to lap it up. My parents, at whose house I was watching this, commented that it was "just like Countdown", and I felt sad to think that perhaps being shit live is something pop stars inevitably do.

Sarah Baker has written on the stereotypical construction of the 'teenybopper' as a hysterical "screamer", arguing that for pre-teen and teen girls, screaming, creating crowd crushes and acting 'hysterical' is a technique of cultural visibility, of experiencing your body and negotiating public space in exciting ways, and of imposing a kind of order and control on ostensibly out-of-control situations.

I wonder if anyone has done research into how ordinary pop music fans (as opposed to the adult, often gay, and extremely analytical and industry-savvy fans you get in places like Popjustice) decide which pop music they like and dislike. Are the grounds I might use to determine 'quality' simply irrelevant to Rove's screaming teenager audience?

Still, it depresses me to think that anyone would think Lady GaGa was good or talented in any way whatsoever.

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