Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another pedestrian Gaga song

Hard to believe that this turgid rehash of some of Cher's and Bon Jovi's less inspired moments (via, perhaps, some of Pink's and Kelly Clarkson's lesser moments) will excite anyone not already besotted with Gaga (poor Clarence Clemons gets a dreadfully reigned in/limp sax solo and re-entry that's quite dominated by thwacking drums and synth whooshes so that there's no feel to the episode at all). Enter Shikari's aping of (in their case, van Halen-style) big '80s/'90s MOR rock from a few years back feels truly joyous by comparison:
In general, best to avoid Gaga in favor of Robyn or newies Glasser and Ronika for one's interesting-young-(dance)-diva needs for the foreseeable future. (Unfortunately, Gaga doesn't seem inclined to allow that to happen - she's frickin' everywhere, from Oprah yesterday to Farmville today to Cannes tomorrow...)

Update May 16, 2011: Another Gaga song, 'Hair' dropped... v. similar to Edge of Glory, but even less interesting. I continue to think that Gaga needs to take a break - try to write some songs with real feel and musicality, learn how to arrange stuff (Transitions between sections of songs! Is that too much to ask for? Jesus, it's getting embarrassing. Go and take some lessons from Bat for Lashes or Newsom or Elton or Mark Mothersbaugh or Andy Partridge or....) , explore different lyrical approaches, learn to rely less on the same chundering chorus over and over, and so on.

Update May 23, 2011: Slate's review of the BTW album raises a point that crystallizes something for me:
'Gaga is a rocker at heart. She has little feel for, or interest in, black music; there's almost no hip-hop on her records. Her songs are powered by blunt foursquare house beats—a European sound that, thanks to Gaga, has become the default pulse of American pop.'
While I hold no special brief for hip-hop, I've increasingly been alienated by the lack of feel in Gaga's rhythm section: her records mostly plod, they aren't geared to move to (the Gwen Stefani-Sweet Escape/NoDoubt-Just a girl hybrid Summerboy from Gaga's first album is a pleasant exception). The bass drum hammers you, the bass is never sinuous or slinky (I'm not asking for James Jamerson or Bernard Edwards or Louis Johnson here, although that would indeed be pleasant. Jam and Lewis or Steve Bray-style keys would be fine!). And that's a huge problem: there's nothing especially dance-able or dance-worthy in Gaga's music, and yet dance music is allegedly what she's selling. Note that all of this really does set Gaga apart from Madonna, a dancer, who grew up with Soul Train, who was drenched in Sylvester and Chic, who sought out Reggie Lucas, and Rodgers and Edwards, and so on.

No comments: