"CHANGE IS inevitable. Except from a vending machine," said
THE OTHER day we spoke of excess, in the form of the late producer and party-giver
But what to make of Lady Gaga, who's today's queen of excess? The pop singer dresses like an alien and rules the charts with her techno dance tunes.
Gaga recently put out a wild and wicked video, "Telephone" guest-starring
"Telephone" is the most elaborate video in some time. It recalls the classic (and expensive) works of
BUT, can Gaga hold onto her popularity? She has a powerful voice, though it is jacked up and often distorted via the electronica so beloved today. She can dance. She has humor. The outfits, however, are a gimmick that I fear will pall quickly; she doesn't need them. They look uncomfortable and even dangerous -- to herself and others. But that's just my opinion.
Lady Gaga is most often compared to Madonna, and cited as her inheritor to the crown as Queen of Pop. (It's certainly not going to be Britney!) Hard to judge at this point. The culture (and the music biz) has changed so much since Madonna's advent in 1983, that the landscape is almost totally unrecognizable.
Allowing for those changes, I don't "feel" Lady Gaga's impact as I did with Madonna -- La Ciccone was also interesting as herself, as a celebrity, a star, an instantly iconic figure on the world landscape. Madonna presented herself as a sexual creature, open to all experience. She was no mutant! Her "re-inventions" were mostly a matter of hair color, style and a different way of dressing. She always looked like herself, even when she shaved her eyebrows to
LADY G,'s transformations are far more manufactured -- deliberate costumes. One might say she is paying homage to the 1970s when performance art and camp sensibilities spilled out into the culture and the streets -- especially in
Of course, Madonna's music (her ballads anyway) and her early lush videos were more to my taste -- as much as my taste would ever run to current pop music or
As far as I'm concerned, the greatest thing Madonna ever did was her
MISS Gaga has yet to break through -- in my opinion -- as Madonna did, in terms of "stardom." No matter that Madonna's movie career never quite panned out, she always had that glamour vibe, albeit on the funky side. And her personal life was subject to wild speculation. She was -- and remains -- a gossip columnist's dream. (This columnist got to know Madonna, so there's that issue in terms of judging Lady Gaga's impact; she's not calling from
Well, we'll see where Lady G. is 25 years from now. Initially, nobody thought Madonna would last more than a season.
Still, like Madonna, Gaga now finds herself the subject of major "think" pieces, such as
Hmmm ... although it would be absurd for Madonna, age 51, to be truly "competitive" with the much younger Gaga -- in fact the two appeared in an "SNL" skit, spoofing a rivalry -- maybe evaluations, such as McCormick's, will kick start La Ciccone into re-thinking what she's been doing in videos recently. She should get back to the mind-set that produced masterpieces such as "Like a Prayer" "Express Yourself," "Oh, Father," "Bad Girl," "Vogue" "Take a Bow" "I Want You" and even 2000's lovely, western-themed "Don't Tell Me."
MADONNA has her four children, her admirable charity work, her multi-mega-millions, her record-breaking tours, her gorgeous young lover, her legend and a mob scene wherever she goes. She ain't crying, and I'm not crying for her. Still, I could live forever and never again see Madonna's pelvic squat thrusts that she thinks is dancing, as in her most recent videos and concerts. We know you're fit, honey. And we know you love those techno sound effects. Enough.
It's time for another reinvention.
Lady Gaga - Telephone (Official Clean Version) featuring Beyonce
If you think Top 40 is not so tops and want your tunes to be more cutting-edge, you need to know where to find the best music. Read on.
Pink Flies High at the Grammys
In some ways, I thought the Grammys belonged to Pink. Ten years after her initial surge to fame with 'Get This Party Started,' the soulful-voiced blonde, had one of those classic gasp-inducing performances -- I've rarely seen or heard anything as astonishing as Pink's rendition of 'Glitter.'
Barbra Streisand's voice has not suffered much over the years, despite the fact that she doesn't exercise those golden vocal chords. She has admitted to some last-minute warm-ups right before recording or beginning a tour, but otherwise, she just opens her mouth and out come those famous tones, ravishing, if inevitably matured and deeper.
"ALL MY life, my saving grace, the thing that kept me steady, was listening to music; on the radio, on records or my mother's singing." That's the famously voluptuous singing superstar Mariah Carey, with whom I had a brief conversation the other day. I was the last of Mariah's duties that long afternoon; she'd given about 19 interviews to promote her new album, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel."
For '80s acts, the moment that signified pop music's wheel of fortune had spun back around their way may have been in 2007's final episode of 'The Sopranos' when Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing' played during the final moments of a series well-known for its pop IQ.
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