Audio/ Visual ideas & goings on.
Remember Lady Gaga? No not the one in the meat dress, the one who worked with RedOne, Akon, Colby O’Donis and Space Cowboy to create the most current and iconic Pop/ club/ Europop tune ever. We in 2008 saw the reprise of a musical scene that once dominated through the 70’s and 80’s with acts like Adam Ant and David Bowie, stripping down the confines of art and music. Merging the two to create a movement of cultural significance; leading into direct social reform and freedom of expression.
When I first saw the video for “Just Dance” I thought, wow, this is rather cool. Though as a liberal European I didn’t find anything all too ground breaking. None-the-less this soon became my song of 2008, leading me through club to club. What followed was mass hysteria and all conversations of music couldn’t exist without someone mentioning GaGa and her fantastic songs or wondrous wardrobe. The internet was alight with her movements and people changing their image to be more eccentric. Though in the “Just Dance” video she looks more like Christina Aguilera on a good day.
What I didn’t quite get from all the hype was why her music was so highly regarded. The lyrics are nothing new, the overall sound was that of continental European Pop. All that really made it stand out was the immaculate presentation and completely flawless production. Though there was something that put Gaga at the height of cool. She was not just a pop star, she was on a mission and after successfully invading the charts in 2008 she had a paved path for ‘The Haus of Gaga’ to take effect. This really came to effect with the unveiling of “Paparazzi” the surreal and hugely stylised video for a catchy electro-pop track. What really worked for me from “Paparazzi” was the development of character and brand that was emerging from the somewhat simple roots of “Just Dance”. It was the song and video that defined her as an artist, acting out a complete brand and public opinion. She fed us all what was to come as if we were reading the blurb of a play. For following on from this was the feature of “Telephone” which was highly hyped and anticipated for its length and production value, plus for the expected controversy over the growing risk in her wardrobe.
All of this was changed when the story went off course and “Alejandro” delivered another controversial music video, although doubts were also forming over just how original these ideas were. Sudden and direct comparisons to Madonna and pieces of modern art were breaking the full effect her music and delivery once had. Her plot turned as we left the story that we had and entered the new even darker world of Lady Gaga – Mother Monster. The formation and continuity in the ‘monster’ brand created a cult like following with many little monsters taking the horsepower of the Haus of Gaga PR machine and spreading the word of their leader. The word which was no longer about dancing in clubs, sex or relationships, it was political as she posted a video expressing her view on the US military “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy on homosexuality. She also with the 2011 release of “Born This Way” continues to promote her thoughts on discrimination. All of which is very pleasing and I cannot deny that it is fantastic to see someone of such social influence utilising such for a greater good. Though as it is part of the Monster culture it does lose sincere credibility. It begs the question, what next? How far will Lady Gaga go? Does she and her team understand the power of influence beyond that of music and a cultural scene? Entering into politics and social criticism as a character could be a downfall. I do like her music, I enjoy the productions and shows, I am totally astounded at how quickly after so many years behind the scenes and not being in the public eye, Lady Gaga has come to be a significant force in music, design and society.