Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yes I Am a Little Monster

Some of you may not know this but I looooove Lady Gaga. Now before you run screaming from this post just take a moment to try to understand.

If only I can explain it. Let me start at the beginning. Even as I type this post I'm listening to her doing a 2 hour interview with Alexander Fury on SHOWstudio. Not many stars would take the time for such a thing. Anyway how I fell in love with her was like this...

At first I heard about Lady Gaga from others commenting on her music and persona. The opinions were generally not positive and since I don't listen to top 40's music stations, I had not even heard her. Then an episode of SNL changed that.

She sang a capella. That was how I first heard her. And when I listened to her voice I could feel her. I could feel power, anger, tenderness. He voice was lovely and strong. Gaga played piano and sang and at some point lit the piano on fire. Yes she wore daring clothing, yes her music was imbued with pop style. Yet her voice was real and good. She shared the parts of her in us all, the ugly, the cruel, the fun, the charm. From her performance on SNL I was incredibly curious about her music, her persona, her art and even her life.

When asked about her style in concern to fashion she described it as "free." I think this describes what she tries to give to her fans by the way she expresses herself through fashion and performance. She puts few boundaries on her expression which gives those her view her a feeling of permission to express themselves. To be free to let themselves show whats really inside. The jagged edges, the blood red lace, the internal enjoyment yet mockery of all that is considered masculine or feminine is what is inside so many of us.

Now let's get to the nitty gritty about Gaga, her music. First off I'll fully admit that I like a lot of pop music. Though it is not what I first turn to at times, pop music has been the soundtrack my joy. I enjoy Mariah Carey, Madonna, Snoop Dogg and many many others. So I was open to Lady Gaga as a pop artist. What is intriguing and almost deceiving is that Ms. Gaga delivers deeper messages within so many beats per minute. When I listen Just Dance or Alejandro or Eh, eh my body cannot help itself. I must dance when home or walk to her beats while out and about. Her pop sound is classic while it takes us to the future-tense. In her songs you'll find hints of Madonna, Christina Aguileria, Elton John, Ace of Base, Queen, Donna Summer and of course Blondie.

Within elemental sounds and electronic beats she tells us secrets about ourselves. Take some of the lyrics from Bad Romance.

I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it's free
I want your love

I want your loving
And I want your revenge
You & me could write a bad romance

Who among us hasn't at some point felt that way about someone. Wanting someone so badly that you don't care if it's sick and twisted. And that is I believe precisely the point in these lyrics. There is a difference in romances and there is indeed a thing as a bad romance that is...well... bad for you. But these relationships and even desire for such a kind of relationship happens. Gaga took that ugly feeling and makes a safe place to feel it without having to return to such a emotional place in any physical way.

Alejandro is another song that resonate for many, especially for women who may have loved an older or more mature man. These words I especially related to:

She's got both hands in her pocket
And she won't look at you
She hides through love...

She's not broken
She's just a baby
But her boyfriend's like a dad
Just like a dad

That was my story once years ago. I loved a man 16 years older than me and yet I was still such a girl, shy and unsure. That experience revealed how much I needed to learn about loving myself and Alejandro reflects that to young people. If this song had been known to me then, I may have gotten the message to let go of him and turn to my own inner resources much sooner.

Something I really admire about Lady Gaga is how confident she is and how much she encourages her fans to be confident. I forget at moments that she is still in her early 20's. She is a strange creature, a living mannequin, bold and doesn't ask forgiveness for it. She makes choices from her clothing to her music to her performances that she knows may make people dislike her or even be disgusted by her. When I think of how many years it took to get to the place where I didn't care what other's thought, I feel so grateful for someone like Gaga. Her daring is just so beautiful and too boot I really enjoy what she wears, even when it's a bit disturbing. And I have to admit of course she has a lovely body to put those clothes on.

Gaga's videos and performances are fascinating and even a little scary. I think this may be part of the reason some of her critics have suggested she's a devil worshipper or a part of a real or make believe group called "The Illuminati." Yes Gaga is queer and kisses women in nearly all her videos, yes she has images of death and blood and sex. That alone would call for a witch hunt by the right wingers. What Gaga does that may be even more frightening is that the images she shares and conjures have a message behind them. What we see is not just to jar but to awaken and inspire. Take for an example her performance of Paparazzi at the MTV awards.

Her outfit bleeds and she is faux killed on stage. It's scary to witness and makes one uncomfortable. But it's not just for shock. There is meaning behind what was seen. What's the message? Think about what happened to Lady Di. Think about what others do to others to not look at themselves. The death part isn't just physical but a death of spirit when we obsess on others and treat them like gods instead of seeing and nurturing the god within. Let's not forget too that Gaga was raised Catholic and still considers herself Catholic. We Catholics are a morbid group who have eaten Jesus and feel deeply about his torture and death. We love that shit!

I could go on and on about this woman. About how she empowers people to be their true selves and at the same time entertains like a beast. Plus how could you not love someone who gets middle-aged suburbans to sing to a song that talks about wanting to be with women while "bluffing with my muffin." Don't underestimate the power of pop. So now I think it best to let her work and art speak for itself. I am grateful for Lady Gaga. She means a lot to me and I hope to see her show in September. Peace & enjoy!
Just Dance
Bad Romance
Poker Face
Love Game

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