Okay. So. I’ve got to admit something. I kind of like Lady Gaga. And by like I mean I frantically read all of her interviews. Big deal, you may say, lots of people like her. But rewind to last spring and I was filled with spiky distate for this lady. I hated “Just Dance” (still do) as it played 20 times a day on the radio (which my coworkers play 24/7 without my control) but that’s all I knew about her. The song was vapid and seemingly manufactured crap just like the image she appeared to be such a puppet slave to. And I’m kind of a music bitch and so I judged.
But then the reverse of what usually happens happened–sometimes I like a song, then hear an interview or hear a band live, realize they’re dumb or untalented and then dislike them. But with Gaga it was the opposite. I hated her songs on the radio, but began to love her after reading her interviews, learning more about her background, and hearing her play live. I fell for her.
In a sea of Taylor Swift and American Idol I think we need Gaga. So here’s why you should love her too. Join us!
First of all, I give her mega props because she did pop music like rock musicians do rock music: she worked her way up, playing small bars throughout the Lower East Side, going from gig to gig: more New York Dolls than Britney Spears. Instead of schmoozing her way to a record contract, she put in the time and effort by writing and performing her own music from dive bar to dive bar with just a keyboard and a fog machine. On entering pop music, Lady Gaga once said that it seemed more like a challenge–no one was doing pop music. Everyone thought pop music was easy and vapid and Lady Gaga wanted to prove them wrong, that pop music could be not only entertaining but innovative and intelligent. She earned her stripes in a grassroots music way, and I applaud that.
Second, she has a fierce loyalty to the LGBT community. She made her way up through the burlesque scene and she loves her gays. In one of her first mainstream tv interviews on Ellen she said she looked up to Ellen because she’s such an inspiration for the gay community. Could you ever see Rhianna saying that? Lady Gaga recently marched and spoke at the National Equality March in D.C. and said to a crowd of over 500,000 that her attendance that day was “the single most important moment of [her] career.” Sure there’s been lots of female pop singers who’ve been gay icons (Cher, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli) but I can’t imagine them at a rally like this, not even after 30+ years of success let alone right at the beginning of their career. In her speech she said “as a woman in pop music, as a woman with the most beautiful gay fans in the world, to do my part I refuse to accept any misogynistic and homophobic behavior in music, lyrics, or actions in the music industry.” Love. It.
Third, she’s actually a musician. Like I said, I hated her songs on the radio–the manufactured studio crap that makes pop music so loathsome in my mind. But strip all that production away and that’s when I started to actually like her–the lady can sing and play the piano like a pro. She takes a mic and a keyboard and goes at it solo to play live on tv, on radio shows, on any stage big or small…can you imagine Beyonce ever doing that?
But yes, I know the fashion thing turns a lot of people off. She takes her fashion…well…a titch seriously; she’s in the magazines more for her wacky fashion choices than for her music. And yeah, people think she’s crazy for that. But what about Kiss and the facepaint? Or Bowie–he was a freaking clown for Ashes to Ashes and yet everyone loves him. In an interview she once said that she doesn’t dress to be crazy but to challenge people’s ideas of what is attractive: “I think I’m changing what people think is sexy.”
Finally, if you need only one reason to love her it’s this– she’s fierce. Case in point: her recent SNL performance:
The third-wave postmodern feminist movement needs an icon like Lady Gaga, so take another look at the Lady.