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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Coming Age of Gaga: An Indirect Review for "Born This Way" and the Madonna Legacy

I can't help myself.
I'm addicted to a life of material
 It's some kind of joke.
I'm obsessively opposed to the typical.

All we care about is
Pornographic girls on film and body plastic
Give me something
I wanna see television and hot blondes in odd positions

Fame, doin' it for the fame
'cause we wanna live the life of the rich and famous
Fame, doin' it for the fame
'cause we gotta taste for champagne and endless fortune

Fame, fame baby, the fame, fame
 We live for the fame, fame baby
 The fame, fame
Isn't it a shame, shame baby.
A shame, shame
In it for the fame, fame baby.
The fame, fame

Use of Non-free Media Rationale: Click here
When Lady Gaga exploded in the scene, she seemed like a hybrid of every diva that has come and gone.  Looking more like Donatella Versace than Madonna, and sounding more like Christina Aguilera than Cyndi Lauper, music fans and critics might have easily relegated Lady Gaga to the temporal dominion of the dance world where countless dance divas continually produce mindless drums of superficial hits, and then, thankfully disappearing as the disco lights fade.  May the next dance diva step into the stage please? The last one had her fifteen minutes.
Luckily, the Lady has a brain and a shrewd understanding of how the pop world operates, especially under the reign of the current Queen, Madonna along with her miscalculating vocally-deprived protégé Princess Britney. 
Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” and its shameless extension “The Fame Monster” contain hits that fortuitously deconstructed Madonna and her pop persona.  Starting with “Let’s Dance,” and “Poker Face,” more famously with “Telephone” and more directly with “The Fame,” Lady Gaga pierced into Queen Madonna’s legacy with astute unapologetic infiltration.  I suspect that she knew exactly the secret of the Queen’s strong hold on power that she was able to chip away the Queen’s throne piece by piece.  Imagine a seemingly unintimidating scantily clad court jester polishing the Queen’s throne and crown, but chipping away the wood little by little, and taking away the gems piece by piece.  Before the Queen and his minions know it, the throne has become a bare piece of wood and the crown, a worthless piece of metal. Where have the gems and the posh trimmings gone?  The court jester has them, all over her dress, face, hair and underwear! But don’t bother to call her, “she’s busy.”
Madonna is the Queen and rightly so. But, for how long?  It is up to the Lady.  Madonna never played the victim and she knew how to push everyone’s buttons.  The Queen successfully turned the pop music world upside down and created a new value system where all that she possesses became valuable commodities: controversies, sex, image, brash but witty sound bites, well-produced music videos, nostalgic homage to the classics, the absent mother, the father issue and the bad girl turned enlightened Kabbalah follower.  Did she do it all in the name of fame? I don’t really know. Why does anyone do things for the public to see? Certainly not to participate in the examination of the human condition.  Even I have to admit that I wrote this piece for the sake of fame.  Yes, this is me being panty-less. Consider this my "Like A Virgin" single. 
As we learned from Lady Gaga, why go out naked (that is so cliché) when you can come out suggesting nakedness?  Why bother dressing like a fowl like Cher or Bjork, when you can parade like a giant egg. Lady Gaga took the Madonna legacy and brought it to new heights that make it impossible for the rest of Queen Madonna’s subjects to emulate properly. In the coming “Age of Gaga,” the likes of Christina Aguilera, despite her burlesque rendezvous, have no chance of surviving and even Kathy Perry with her blue hair and ample bosoms seem like a twenty-first century neo-conservative provincial girl. 

The big question is: "Are all these part of a new female empowerment or  a new way of  commodifying the female in the guise of empowerment?"

Use of Non-free Media Rationale: Click here
The new Lady Gaga single “Born This Way” is yet another example of the Lady’s relentless assault on Madonna’s queendom.  Yes, you've heard the accusation that the new single is a rip off of (or homage to) Madonna’s “Express Yourself.”  Then again, there is nothing new under the sun. We may have reached the limit of human imagination and no one can claim originality.  It has all been done.  Success comes to those who can present the old into something new. That is the Madonna legacy, of course along with the “Death of Substance.” The current Madonna Age that began in 1984 when she brilliantly strutted on MTV singing “Like a Virgin” can be a marvelous age.  Everything is now on the surface. Even songs that supposedly celebrate individuality like “Born This Way” can be sold to children, teenagers, young adults, academicians, Nobel Prize winners, gays, lesbians and even the good Lord himself.  I have a dream that when I die,  I will go to heaven and the angels will be singing “Like a Prayer,” and Jesus will look like a Brazilian model wearing Versace or Dolce and Gabbana.  As I approach Saint Peter, he will ask “What’s your favorite Madonna song?” And I will sing “You’ve abandoned me, Love don’t live here anymore.”
Of course, that’s not really an original Madonna song, but hey, I probably won’t be admitted to heaven anyway. When I was 10, my grandmother (of all people) asked me whom I like, Madonna or Cyndi Lauper.  I chose Kate Bush and went “running up the hill making deals with God.”
I was recently invited to join Club Madonna on Facebook and I hope this little piece won’t cause my expulsion. Oh well, I will always have Tori and “I believe in peace, Bitch!”

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