I find Lady Gaga strange but not for the reasons you think it is. It’s strange that for a musician who’s often said to write her own songs, her more popular, better-known and/or better received stuff aren’t entirely done on her own. Her upcoming album contains some songs not entirely written by herself as was Cheek to Cheek and her covers of ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘Imagine’ being an indication that Gaga is still far from what people make her out to be.
She’s not very mediocre but she’s not really that good and exceptional. I’d rather take David Sylvian over her when it comes to arty pop music. And I’ve turned to quotes from Digital Spy to express my feelings on her:
I’ve never really understood the hype behind Lady Gaga. Her music is made out to be so much more than what it actually is by both Lady Gaga herself and her fans. It’s treated like the second coming. The majority of her music – singles and album tracks – are just as generic as anything recorded by the likes of Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, but her fans treat her as though she’s the saviour of pop music. I still regard Poker Face and Bad Romance as two of the most overrated songs of the last ten years. I’ve seen a fair few people comment that Artpop has underperformed because it’s a departure from her earlier music and a risk. How so? It’s a highly commercial pop album that is no different to most of the other songs in the music charts around the world.
One only has to look at her chart performance over the last three years, especially in the UK, to see that interest in her has waned big time. Every single that she has released since Judas has disappointed and underperformed. According to Wikipedia, Born This Way sold over 200,000 copies in the UK in its first week yet Artpop hasn’t sold that many copies in nearly a year. Obviously no-one is going to keep debuting with over 200,000 copies of each album they release, but to drop like Lady Gaga has done is pretty startling. Selling five-six million copies of an album worldwide is pretty good going in today’s music market, but there’s no denying it was a huge drop off after The Fame. I think part of the problem is her theatrics grew old and boring very quickly. How many times can someone wear a peculiar outfit and keep the public interested? A person can only keep that schtick going for so long before it becomes overkill. She also takes herself far too seriously. Then there are the extra long music videos that come off more pretentious than entertaining, especially Born This Way and Marry the Night.
One of the biggest things that I think has ruined her career, at least at this point in time, is the sheer arrogance of many of her fans which has turned a lot of other fans and casual listeners off. It got incredibly annoying seeing her constantly mentioned on YouTube, message boards and forums, especially when it was to accuse every other singer and band in the history of music of supposedly ripping Lady Gaga off. To claim that certain songs and music videos from 20 years ago are ripping her off is utterly ridiculous. Many of her fans got ahead of themselves and cocky far too quickly by calling other artists “flops” and now the tables have turned because she’s no longer the big shot in the music world. Then there are the reports of “Little Monsters” bullying non-fans and other artists (wishing people to die isn’t cool) which has left a sour taste in the mouths of many people, especially when Lady Gaga claims to be anti-bullying. It’s not the first time she has contradicted herself. She’s spoken out about female empowerment but has still worked with the likes of R. Kelly and Terry Richardson.
Arrogance and nastiness are nothing new in the pop world. A lot of Michael Jackson’s fans are downright delusional. Madonna’s fans haven’t got a leg to stand on in terms of criticising Lady Gaga fans for their arrogance and pettiness because a lot of Madonna’s fans are so conceited, egotistical and cocky which has always made me laugh because she’s sourced a lot of her ideas from lesser-known artists and old school Hollywood. There’s nothing genius or innovative about taking things from one art form and putting it into another. This is why I’ve never understood how Madonna fans can criticise someone like Lady Gaga (and many other artists) for doing things that weren’t even new or original when Madonna did them, but explaining this to Madonna fans is like talking to a brick wall.
Cheek to Cheek is definitely something of a departure for Lady Gaga but there’s no denying its chart performance in the UK and many other countries has been a disappointment. Had the album been released four years ago, it would have easily peaked inside the top three. I wouldn’t write her career off just yet because she could very well bounce back, but as it stands at the moment she’s definitely had the biggest rise and fall in pop music since The Spice Girls although Britney Spears probably had a bigger rise than Lady Gaga but she didn’t fall as much or as quickly.
And another one:
When Gaga first became famous, her “eccentric fame-wh**e” act was very ironic and self-aware. It worked well with her great pop songs, which were popular precisely because they were pure, balls-to-the-wall pop records, no emotional/artistic BS. Around the time Bad Romance was released, I noticed that she had bought into her own hype, and was taking herself far too seriously. It didn’t affect her popularity yet though – I think the public didn’t know her well enough to be able to tell whether she was still being ironic or not. Also her shock-tactics where still getting her attention.
When BTW was released, the hype, arrogance and her pretty much announcing herself as a Messiah to LGBT’s became too much. She needed a really bloody good song to carry off her boasts that it was going to change pop music, be a new anthem, blah blah. But BTW was a total embarrassment – trite, ignorant, with clunky lyrics and a total rip off of Express Yourself. Just in case we didn’t work out exactly who “inspired” that song, gaga posed in the music video with Madonna’s front tooth gap.
So then she released Judas, which she hoped would be “controversial”. It wasn’t, no one cared, so she rushed released the excellent The Edge Of Glory, which got over-shadowed by Judas and wasn’t as big as it should have been.
She spent The Fame era being ironic and self-aware, and people liked her. She spent the Fame Monster insisting to the world that the whole Gaga shtick and costumes as her genuine personality. the world raised it’s eyebrows, but let her get on with it. She spent Born This Way trying to be the Second Coming to all freaks and gays, preaching compassion while her own actions were anything but (plagiarism, subtle goading her fans into harassing people, arrogance, wearing fur when she said she hated it etc.). It just showed her up to be totally insincere and that this whole breed compassion BS was a mere marketing ploy.
Now, for the ARTPOP era she’s trying to convince people she’s a member of the elitist world of high-art, when in reality she’s just another popstar. Her delusions and narcissism are so off-putting.
She’s hyped up Applause nearly as much as BTW, but once again it’s turned out to be an underwhelming release. Applause isn’t the worst song I’ve ever heard, it’s just mediocre. I find the lyrics clumsy and boastful, and the chorus forgettable (for some reason everyone likes the chorus but for me it’s the worst part of the song). She also copies David Bowie’s vocal style during the embarrassingly clunky verses.
Applause didn’t “flop” per se, it just wasn’t as successful as you’d expect for someone who was on top of the pop world only 3 years ago. It was very egotistical of her to rush it out to compete with Katy Perry, and, as they say, she got her ass handed to her.
It had seemed like she was going to rush release the hugely disjointed Aura (Burqa) next. Yet another second single – parts of which sound similar to Judas – that she expects to be controversial, which will just irritate the public and be a damp squib. However, it now looks like “Swine” will be rush-released instead, which we’ll have to judge when she debuts it on the 1st of September.
When Katy Perry or Rihanna release sub-par singles, their popularity is usually enough to ensure that they have respectable chart success. So Gaga’s narcissistic, ingenuine personality is surely a reason for her fall from the top.
However, I think the biggest reason is the discrepancy between her boasts and the actual quality of her music, which has dropped since her debut.
The Fame + Monster were good because she had RedOne firmly on board – his talent was instrumental to her initial success. For all her fibs about being responsible for “every note” of her music, RedOne has the primary or second writing credit on some of her best songs, such as Bad Romance. Back in 2009, many girls were criticised for copying “Gaga’s” sound when in fact the record had been produced by RedOne. It was HIS sound. RedOne + Gaga was the magic formula. Basically, I don’t think Gaga’s as talented a pop-writer as she first seemed, and now it’s starting to show. She’s running out of ideas.
As someone learning to play the piano, I’m pretty shocked that people just believe Gaga’s baseless claims that she’s a good pianist. “Basic” would be a complimentary description of her skills. Anyone can slowly play a few chords, it doesn’t require talent. I don’t think she can even read music, based on the fact that she claimed to have taught herself to play (it shows!) and the fact that she would have probably bragged about herself if she could.
It’s also surprising that everyone agrees with Gaga that she has the greatest voice of her generation. People just have low standards for vocals these days, due to her peers, including Rihanna, Katy Perry and Kesha, who are all known to be vocally limited. Gaga’s voice is so thin and nasally to these ears. She sounds like her tongue is pressed against the back of her mouth.
I get the impression that they’ve heard better musicians and I also agree with that.