I’ve often thought that gay men fall into two camps: those with impeccable taste in music and those who have abhorrent taste. There are those who know who Edith Piaf or Nina Simone were, and there are those who have the same taste in music as teenage girls at their most annoying (ahem Miley Cyrus). If I meet one more gay guy who really believes that Britney Spears is a rare talent, I’m gonna lose it. I’m not saying Homo A is better than Homo B for knowing the works of Piaf and Simone, Homo A is just fortunate enough to have been properly educated about music. There is a marked difference in the way I perceive someone when I find out what moves him musically.
Being the unabashed musical snob that I am (depends on my mood, really), I was delighted to hear about the recent shaming of Britney Spears in Australia where, according to reports, people walked out of her show en masse, protesting the lack of anything resembling a true performance. The Spears camp essentially said it was all made up and it didn’t really happen. But unless you were there, who can really know? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it’s happened countless times before, in Australia or any other given country. Often paying hundreds of dollars for good seats to watch a white trash girl from Louisiana parading around in a lion tamer costume, lip-synching to songs she had no hand in writing, it’s no wonder people are fed up, regardless of whether the Aussie-revolt rumours are true.
Britney Spears, bless her heart, has little talent. Her songs are overproduced and same-y. Sure, “Toxic” was brilliant, but she just lucked out in selecting it. It could have been sung by anybody. She’s essentially good at stripping and pole dancing and, sorry to say, she comes off dumb as a sack of hammers. If you’re gonna lip-synch, at least try to put some effort into it.
Enter Lady Gaga. I’ll admit when I first heard Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) I pegged her for just the latest in the assembly line of overproduced, American skanks who can’t lay off the auto-tune button. How wrong I was. I finally came around when I heard the Cherrytree Sessions EP issued earlier this year. Her latest single, “Bad Romance,” is so anthemic; its video so utterly crisp and clean yet dirty and bizarre (check out the last five seconds of it. Genius.) It’s clear that there is far more to this woman than the vast majority of her peers (if you can call them peers).
A recent Youtube clip of Gaga on a French TV show saw her chatting to the audience (in French), improvising French lyrics to her music (which she writes, by the way) and generally enthralling the crowd who were clapping along with her at the grand piano, in happy amazement that America has finally (once again) produced a true entertainer.
Gaga’s talent is matched by her flair for the creative — we, as a society, have don’t expect that anymore. What a sad reality. But that’s what makes the current Gaga craze so exciting and inevitable. There’s something afoot that’s long overdue. How great it is to get excited over a performer who deserves the spotlight! Why is this such a foreign concept?
As a music connoisseur, DJ and writer, it restores my faith somewhat because the major labels have been profiting off the force-feeding of derivative, brainless garbage to the masses for far too long. Could the stupendous rise of Gaga spell the beginning end for Spears? It could, and I hope it does because if Spears doesn’t show some depth of artistry, depth of character and maybe some skill, people are going to really tire of her and her ilk very quickly. I already sense it happening. By the way, I am absolutely certain that Stefani Germanotta knows who Piaf and Simone were. Vive La Gaga!