Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gaga-fying the world -- one raised eyebrow at a time


By FRANCIS DASS

(REVISED VERSION)

Just how hot is Lady Gaga? Her Bad Romance music video on youtube.com has garnered more than 92 MILLION views --  AND STILL COUNTING!



Imagine if you would, Donatella Versace having a love-child with a man who is the result of splicing together filmmakers David Lynch and Tim Burton, then you would most definitely get the very real and fashionably out-of-this-world Lady Gaga.

Coming like an intermittent downpour on the pop music scene in the beginning with Just Dance, she managed to make an impact on listeners young and old early last year. The song was lightweight synth-pop reminiscent of disco pop tunes of the 80s and 90s. In terms of looks, the video was cheap and cheerful. Was she yet-another-Britney-clone type of artiste, many wondered.

The lyrics of Just Dance was suitably silly, talking about not knowing which club Gaga was in, lost phones and the song also mentions her having had a bit too much to drink, amongst an assortment of the singer's other seemingly harmless and ditzy observations/experiences. The song was completely unserious.

Interestingly, the first ones who were humming the song and miming the words in Kuala Lumpur were teenagers. Not ordinary teenagers, but terribly hip ones. They took to Gaga's dance song like duck to water.

As Just Dance went into heavy rotation on the video music channels, it became an almost overnight hit with pop music fans everyhwere.

Then, as the pop pundits sat back and wondered what this strange woman will deliver next, out came Poker Face.

On Poker Face Gaga sang like some kind of a stern instruction-voiceover to a Dummies Guide to Singing audio book! Her voice delightfully matched the formulaic pop-beat of the song.

Like the earlier video, Poker Face's music video was nothing much to scream about. Just Dance had Akon and pop lightweight Colby O'Donis gracing it. Poker Face was all Gaga and cohorts. Her unique style was expertly harnessed: the wigs, the weird costumes and metal plates stuck on the face (these would become her trademarks in subsequent music videos) were plain for all to see.

From these videos It was obvious that, like a typical New Yorker that she was, Gaga held an amoral view of the human body (nudity) and of relationships.

However, what WAS worth screaming about was her appearance in the Adam Lambert season of American Idol last year. Her stunning live performance of Poker Face on the show had global music fans scrambling to find out more about her. She was superbly theatrical and mesmerising during that Idol performance. The intermittent rain that was Gaga had changed to a full-blown Category 4 hurricane.

It was as if Gaga had pushed aside the imaginary bouncers guarding the global music stage and scampered single-mindedly towards the limelight at the centre with the hit song Poker Face. The song is not revolutionary -- it sounds like a standard-issue synth-pop concoction. It's just that the timing and delivery were pitch perfect.

With lines like, "Russian roulette is not the same without a gun" and "And baby when it's love if it's not rough it isn't fun..." -- listeners were hooked to this naughty young lady.

As a result, those who knew of her music loved Poker Face even more and those who didn't, clamoured for news of Gaga: just who was this Gaga?

Gaga is New York-born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, the daughter of an Italian-American multimillionaire Internet entrepreneur. She was born on March 28, 1986. In case you wondered, both her parents are extremely proud of their daughter.

Her New York origins largely explains her rather avant garde and over-the top sensibilities. The bisexual Gaga's  I-don't-give-a-damn-what-people-are-gonna-say outlook on life has lent her mystique -- that which took silverscreen stars years to attain, she has gained almost overnight, within a span of a year!

Her pop-star name, as everyone knows by now, is a reference to Queen's hit song, Radio Gaga. Apparently one of the many songs she wrote reminded someone of the great Queen's song and they referenced her as Gaga and she took to it.

Her stars started shining brighter with the next hit song Paparazzi. It was a love song and an ode to fame at the same time.

The video was visually stunning and was simultaneously Lynchian and Burtonesque in the way it told the Gaga story of being wronged by a man, then how her deep love brought her back to form -- and the adoration of the masses!

You see, in Gaga's universe, grave bodily injuries and a wheelchair are not enough to stop a natural-born showgirl like Gaga. For her, with the help of her trusty dancers, THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Burlesque and the grotesque are happily married in Paparazzi. The video was a beautifully conceptualised and artistically realised.

In the Paparazzi music video, audiences had a hilarious glimpse of how Gaga liked her men: dead!

In real life, Gaga, you see, suffered from a really bad break up with an ex called Luke. So, if you listen to any Gaga song that deals with relationship, trust Luke to figure somewhere in there.

Late last year, though, Gaga became a full-fledged Category 5 hurricane in the pop realm with the song Bad Romance.

The thumping Bad Romance is an anthemic dance floor scorcher that is stunningly epic. The music video can only be described as being simultaneously theatrical and visceral! Bad Romance is ten times better and even more over-the-top than the celebrated Paparazzi. It's like James Cameron Avatar to his Titanic, if you like.

Just last week, Rick Dees announced that Gaga's Bad Romance has topped his popular Top 40 radio show.

Thanks to her uncompromising style, Gaga has now become extremely hot property in the music industry, topping charts all over the world. She has also  started collaborating with big names, like the sizzling hot Beyonce.

After reading all this, if you are still asking, "Just how hot is Gaga, exactly?", the answer to that is that her video for Bad Romance alone on www.youtube.com has had 92, 483, 282 views. That's more than 92 MILLION views folks! And still rising. It's a staggering number by any measure.

(Gaga's Just Dance has garnered almost 95 million views on youtube.)

All we can say is Go Go Gaga, as her spectacular career unfolds right before our very eyes!

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