Tuesday, March 16, 2010
As a ‘veteran’ of music fan, I’ve glad to be able to live through the modern pop music era with the monumental event of the birth of MTV. I enjoy music video as a natural metamorphosis of music in the form of visual elaboration and interpretation of lyrics, usually with the aid of artist performance. In terms of pop female artists, it is no doubt that Madonna is the Queen or Mother of all. With her as the pioneer, dozens of follow up (Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Christina Agurlera, Kerry Clarkson, Beyonce, etc) have been blossoming along the way in the last 20+years of so. They all have their ups and downs, nonetheless, the continuous pop-up of these Madonna protégés definitely show that how successful Madonna’s formula of success is.
Few years ago, when Madonna performed on an award show with Britney and Christina as guests, it was deemed that Madonna had kinda ‘officially’ passed the baton to them. Of course, Madonna didn’t retire since then and had still stolen all the thunder in her every high-profile appearance. With the relative ‘tanking’ of both Britney and Christina, it is kinda given Beyonce the crown of pop female artist in Madonna’s absence. Then, in 2008, here came Miss. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta aka Lady Gaga.
I didn’t pay much attention to Lady Gaga till last year. For me, I thought she is just another Pink back then. I listened to her albums – Fame and Fame Monster. She sings alright, the music is of the genre of electro pop with some sonic engineering. Beats and rhythm are catchy. However, my experience as a pop music fan told me that her music will come and go, just like the others. So far, she sold more than 10 million albums and won awards as well, so far so good. I’m no social critic, but her surge in popularity does raise some eyebrows of the generations older than her and her fans.
I can’t dissect how she gains her popularity. Music wise, she is ok. I think she gained her fame above the others from her outrageous appearances and images. Those smoky eyes makeup while she met Queen Elizabeth II, the lobster face mask? I don’t know what to call it, etc. She reminded me of a female version of the young David Bowie and Elton John. I’ve never really caught a glimpse of her music video until last night on Youtube. The debut of her new song with Beyonce – Telephone with a MV of 9+ minutes long was the first time I really see what kind of image she is presenting in her performance. Well, I’m an open-minded person. I think for my age, her image and performance are absolutely fine with me in view of the freedom of artistic expression and all that. Certainly, parental guidance should be granted to children for watching her. Actually, after seeing Britney’s womanizer video, Lady Gaga’s outfit in Telephone doesn’t really shock me. To be honest, she is not pretty. To me, she looks like to me a female version of Marilyn Manson. Provocative? Yes. Attractive? Definitely Not.
I would say that Lady Gaga’s image is definitely a further development building upon the success of Madonna. Unlike Britney or the others who are more like copycats that can’t really exceed what Madonna has done, Lady Gaga certainly further push the envelope. Does it a ‘good’ further development or not? Well, since I don’t see anyone has push to another direction, I can’t say she is good or not. However, I’m not sure why I just can’t see Madonna would do the same things that Lady Gaga does. Maybe, I think what Lady Gaga does are a bit ‘dirty’. I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but it is like…you can act dirty but still retain a certain level of ‘grace’, but Lady Gaga to me is downright dirty without that ‘grace’. Perhaps, it has something to do with herself that she is just not pretty.
Also, with the envelope that Lady Gaga has been pushed so far, it is certainly outrageous. I’m not sure how far she can further push. If she is going back, she will most likely cover some grounds that Madonna has already been there done that. Certainly, younger generation of fans might have not seen that before, so she will still be fine. However, she would not be considered as a trail brazer in terms of pop persona. Nevertheless, after view her video, though that hasn’t converted me as a fan of her, I will definitely check out her next chapter down the road for the sake of entertainment.