Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Poker Face

I’m not usually one for sticking my neck out when it comes to predicting who will be a sustainable star of the future – and here you will be expecting the ‘but’ – but…I’ve been trying to get to grips with the hype that surrounds the artist that is Lady Gaga and can’t help feeling there is some substance beneath the image.

Despite not making my Top Three at Glasto this year, I did enjoy her live set and as a result vowed to find out a bit more about her. On the surface, she peddles the type of personality that I consider makes a great pop star; she’s highly individual, appears to have a modicum of talent and is completely bonkers. In many respects she reminds me of a young Madonna Ciccone circa 1984 in that she’s bold, brassy, sexually outrageous and wields a bunch of catchy tunes with ultimate ease. But as she exists in 2009 and not 1984 she has all the current understanding of modern R&B and avant-garde fashion to create cutting edge music/image packages in a style similar to Gwen Stefani. Because of her startling image and on-stage antics, she leans towards coming across as just another MeMeMe ambitious wannabe using the music industry as a means to climb the greasy pole to fame and considerable fortune. T’was ever thus.

But having watched a couple of her TV interviews my view has been moderated. She clearly has a frightening amount of self-confidence for someone of barely 23 years, some may say arrogance, yet she is considered, articulate, polite and has an endearing personality. More importantly, she is clearly a talented musician having played the piano since age 4 and has for several years worked the clubs whilst writing songs for the likes of the Pussycat Dolls. In other words, she has paid her dues in curiously old fashioned way rather than elbowed in on hype alone, the common method these days. It is going to be her innate musicality and genuine song writing ability that will sustain her when the public tires of the force fed media machine.

So whilst she appears to be a Madonna/Stefani clone, she has a background rooted more in musicianship rather than ambition alone and anyone who can write pure pop hooks like ‘Poker Face’, ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘Just Dance’ and can perform genuinely innovative acoustic versions of those songs deserves to succeed. Whether she can sustain her impact henceforth remains to be seen but I’m hopeful. In the meantime check out this stripped down version of 'Paparazzi' and see if you agree.


Jayne said...

Catching up here! A whole month later and I have finally caught on to Lady Gaga. I thought the same as you at the beginning - all hype for no reason - but then I heard LoveGame twice and it made me seek out her earlier tracks. I think there is definitely some substance there, she is the complete package as you say - clearly talented, individual and completely bonkers. An excellent pop star, I think!

musicobsessive said...

Jayne - having watched back some of the Glastonbury footage, I have to admit that perhaps she should've made my top three. Her 'rock theatre' act with a stripped down rock band gave real punch to her dance orientated material. She's a natural live performer and I love to see that in an artist in this day of 'studio acts' only.

I'm becoming a big fan. Seek out the Paul O'Grady interview/performance of 'Poker Face' on Youtube - it's magical.