The Huffington Post questions Lady Gaga’s artistry, labeling her a confused act and compares her authenticity to Katy Perry and Madonna.
In fact, they end their piece with an infuriating statement that all pop stars are inauthentic, destroying the notion that creativity through musical expression is complete and utter ******** because it’s mainstream. Any pop star with millions of fans is a victim of their own brand to a certain degree – there are press releases that must be Tweeted, events that need a Facebook post or a shameless selfie to plug whatever venture they’re currently pursuing, but having mass amounts of fame doesn’t equate an artist’s authenticity! Following the norm does, and Lady Gaga whole-heartedly does not follow the pack.
After reminding readers of her past album accolades and star-power, they wonder if her duet record, “Cheek To Cheek,” is more beneficial for Gaga or her musical counter-part Tony Bennett. Asking which singer is more important is like questioning if the cream in an Oreo could exist without the cookie. Both need each other to be greater than the sum of its individual parts.
“At its core, her discography has been catchy pop that didn’t even attempt to match the level of complexity purported by her sartorial choices, post-modern approach to the music video and aggressive name dropping of Andy Warhol. Gaga’s appeal was always in the packaging.”
I agree to an extent. Her costumes on and off the stage created a persona more monstrous than the 20-something could handle – she needed Haus of Gaga, a team of paws-up experts to assist who Lady Gaga would be that week. This shaped her publicized musical career for years – to the point of breakdown. She forced her mind, body and soul into a mold of what she thought a pop star should be, ending up in a wheelchair and forced to stop. When she resurfaced a year later, she birthed “ARTPOP,” her depiction of pop culture transcended through… herself. Sure, the message was a bit amateur, but it was her perspective of where she was that time in her career. She quite literally performed in trade for her fans’ adoration – where’s the inauthenticity in that?
Then there’s the horrendous comparisons to Madonna and Katy Perry who both “embrace the manufactured nature of their stardom.” If Madonna read such a thing she would probably have a few choice words like “****” and “off.” There’s nothing manufactured about the controversial, boundary-pushing career that’s lead up to the heart-wrenching “Rebel Heart” demise. Madonna’s entire career rests on the contrary; she doesn’t follow the trends, and when she tried to, A.K.A. “Hard Candy,” she failed miserably both commercially and lasting impact. She used sounds and producers that were “in,” but with her latest work, Madonna went with what felt right to her as an artistic human-being, and that is why “Rebel Heart” is some of her best work since “Ray Of Light.” As for Katy Perry, though she is undoubtedly a well-oiled, squeaky clean (with a hint of ****) brand of sparkle and color, she’s emerging as one of this generation’s strongest acts. Following an energetic, highly-publicized Super Bowl halftime show with record breaking viewership with a simple ballad at The Grammys is no easy feat, but she maneuvered through each performance with poise.
Lady Gaga saw the toll pop music took on her, and decided to shift gears to focus on her roots in jazz because she began to lose herself.
“I felt like people were holding me to a pretty high standard,” Gaga said last year about the pressure she felt from people expecting her to duplicate her “Born This Way” album sales. “Everybody’s hooting and hollering because, you know, I didn’t sell 20 million records this time, which I did with my first album. And you know, it’s not easy to replicate that. And you just – I don’t have a formula.”
A combination between the white-hot spotlight and a heavy workload caused her to step away.
“I have to make sure everything was okay,” Gaga continued. “Because it wasn’t. You know, it’s one thing to put a train on the tracks. But it’s another thing to keep the train on the tracks. You can’t just let a train out on the tracks and just run it out… I crashed. I just didn’t even want to make music anymore.”
Lady Gaga saw an opportunity to breathe life back into her dwindling creativity by taking a break from pop music to enjoy performing jazz music with a legend. She realized the pop industry edited her voice, shaped her persona and asked her to be someone she wasn’t and wanted to spark the fire again through her work with Bennett. The move earned her a number one album on the Billboard 200 as well as a Grammy, and it’s pissed on because that doesn’t “channel authentic inauthenticity.”
You can label Lady Gaga a fame monster, claim Madonna follows the norm or Katy Perry is the public’s desired expectation of blandness, but there’s a reason these women command the pop music scene… and it’s certainly not because they are inauthentic. If an artist isn’t breaking records or getting Re-Tweeted, their integrity is questioned and deemed a failure in pop music.
You ask what happened? What happened is that music lovers are beginning to lose sight of the subject in question: the music.