This post is in response to Quinn's question about why Lady Gaga is such a big deal in the gay world. To be honest, I can't explain why she is such a phenomenon, but I will share with you the reasons why I love her so much.
First and foremost, she makes darn good music. Plain and simple. She is a genius at writing the most catchy tunes that will undoubtedly stay in your head for days afterward. It takes a lot of talent to write so many unforgettable songs. Most songs nowadays lack that power to stay with you; you hear them and once the next song comes on, you've already forgotten it. I would not be exaggerating if I said that every song on Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster album has, at one point or another, gotten stuck in my mind. The fact that she has 2 Grammy awards, 5 number one hits (4 in 2009 alone, the most ever in one calendar year), and has sold over 8 million records is impressive. But to do it all by the time you are 23? Now that takes some talent.
Second, she is a talented vocalist. Lady Gaga is not some product of post-studio computerization like so many music "stars" today. Have you ever heard Taylor Swift sing live? She writes decent music, but she can't perform live. Just take a look at her horrible showing at this year's Grammy's. And Britney Spears, while her music is a guilty pleasure of mine, was caught lip syncing at a recent concert. But Lady Gaga, on the other hand, can not only sing, but she can recreate her songs so they always sound new and fresh. For example, check out this acoustic version of "Paparazzi." And check out her piano skills!
Next, Lady Gaga absolutely refuses to play it safe. Everything she does is a risk. So far, she has not given in to the pressure to things "by the books." That's why she has risen to the top so fast. Her music is not the color-by-number songs that most of the music industry is used to doing. She can pump it up on the dance floor with strong, upbeat songs like "Bad Romance" or "Poker Face." She can also bring it down a notch and sing a song to evoke emotions out of the listener. A great example is "Speechless" which she wrote to convince her father to undergo open-heart surgery. Listen to it knowing that and I dare you not to feel greater appreciation for your parents.
Her cryptic and unusual mannerisms keep us guessing at every turn. I still don't understand what she is all about, and I'm pretty sure that I don't want to. Maybe once we understand why she is the way she is, we will no longer be intrigued by her. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lady Gaga said, "In truth, there's nothing to understand about what I do. It's whatever you think it is. So if it inspires a reckoning about pop culture, music, feminism, gay culture...the point is to make a point." So, pretty much, we may never understand what she's all about, which would be ideal. Take from her what you will, and I will take what I will, because that's exactly what she wants.
I absolutely love that she is working so intensely on HIV/AIDS awareness. This is something that unfortunately has been under the radar in the entertainment industry since the early 90's and Lady Gaga is trying to get attention to the disease once again, because, guess what, it still kills people.
Last, her fashion. Again, in this area, Lady Gaga refuses to do what society tells her to do. She embodies the rebelliousness in all of us. Whenever she makes an appearance, the world waits on pins and needles to see what outrageous and over-the-top costume she comes out with. While her costumes may be outrageous and over-the-top, they certainly are fun. Most of her outfits also carry social statements, like her Kermit the Frog outfit (a statement against fur) or her Fire Bra (a commentary on the female body as a weapon). Here are some other of Lady Gaga's most outrageous costumes.
When asked in an interview about why she is so outrageous, Lady Gaga spoke of her earlier years in grade school. "I just felt like a freak, I guess what I'm trying to say is I want to liberate them [kids who are different], I want to free them of their fears and make them feel that they can create their own space in the world." Thank you Lady Gaga for those amazing words of encouragement. Thank you for letting us realize, through you, that just because we are different, just because I am gay, we can still be ourselves and we shouldn't be afraid of it.
So, there are many aspects to Lady Gaga that make me adore her. And it may be that these are reasons why you can't stand her, which I will respect. There are many popular artists out there that I don't care for, but I am sure you could list reasons why you like them so, like I have done.
"And now, I'm just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time." ~~ Lady Gaga ~~