I’ve ignored Lady Gaga up until now, having filed her away hoping she somehow just disappears (along with Katy Perry). But now I can’t deny her ascent anymore, particularly with her somewhat surprising US success (Poker Face at no.1, etc.) Whatever my opinion of her, getting dance-pop to the top of the US charts is, at the very least, notable. I should be happy about this, but I feel *nothing*. Nothing at all. Why?
For one thing I’m suspicious of her talent. But that’s not necessarily relevant. History suggests I’m more than happy supporting those without talent. No, there’s something bigger going on, and I think it’s to do with her act of self-creation. Everyone seems so thrilled that she’s channeled this Warhol aesthetic as some kind of commentary on pop culture, and valorisation of pop. The US market particularly (well, Perez Hilton at least) seems to thinks this is cutting-edge and novel.
But it’s just not! Hello?? Kylie… Has this not been her driving (touring) aesthetic for a very long time? What about Roisin Murphy’s avant garde wonders? What about Robyn? What about an entire continent that has acknowledged that pop can be cutting-edge for a very long time. What about Sweden for god’s sake.
Not to generalise about an entire country… but… it’s like the US car industry. After decades of churning out giant, clunky junk with live rear axles, orange-peel paint and panel gaps you can stick a fist through, suddenly it’s all about svelte, premium small cars. What a good idea. Just like in Europe. So there you go. Lady Gaga is crap because of the American car industry’s years of systematic mis-management, strategic mis-steps and desperate flight to Europe for commercial salvation.