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Her friends thought she was theatrical. So they rechristened her Gaga. In less than two years, she would become the Lady Gaga - the new Madonna. She is the hottest ticket in America, selling out the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami with tables costing as much as $25,000 each. Not even Madonna, her model and influence, could command in her heyday such pricey, rousing public appeal. She holds the music-fashion-entertainment world in her hands.
It's not only about the grotesque costumes she dons in public. Nor the fact that she almost always wears nothing in her videos. They call it high art. Well, it is just a tad short of XXX-rated pornography, don't you think so?
It's really about her knowing how to push the electronic shock buttons backed up by considerable vocal chords she uses to rock her world. Although the Alejandro song was introduced last year, it is its video form that is sizzling in this bikini-clad summer. The music video is rocking the beaches.
In hindsight, this unwittingly casual and unceremonious evolution into something far different than the young daughter that her father had known, should have been, in some sense, predictable. Why is that?
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, she knew what she wanted very early on. At 3 or 4, maybe 13, stardom was the biggest thought that occupied her hyperkinetic life plots catapulting her on a fast track towards the pinnacle of success in the music industry within two years after she uncorked her first truly shocking public performance.
While performing as an 18-year old in a New York nightclub, she was ticked off by hostile remarks from the audience. With no gazillion seconds under her belt to help her think her way out of the jam, she promptly took off her clothes to their utter shock. Primal shock? Well, it was more like the overtaken public's primal fear of the unknown was unknowingly triggered, and she quickly learned how to exploit it, you can bet on that. And just like that, she discovered the magical power of shock. At least she kept her brown underwear on, she confessed to Barbara Walters in a high-profile interview on national TV. She would establish a pattern in her career-defining moves from there on.
At 20, not too far removed from that spur-of-the-moment strip tease scene, she had earned 4 top singles off her first album. Unparalleled.
Surely, at this time in their performing careers, she had exceeded Madonna by a wide margin. Far and away, not even close. For what she may lack in terms of Madonna's post card perfect beauty, she more than makes it up in terms of greater vocal gifts eerily at peace with electronic musicology. As dancers, they are probably both equal. Unfortunately, one may even argue - and it is not difficult to do that - that she is, like it or not, a carefully crafted Madonna rip-off. Imitation begets success, shall we say sometimes even greater than the original, as in this case? Was the imitation intentional? We think so. The only thing missing is its provocative value. It lost its legs somewhere.
So this brings us naturally to the question of “Why the unnecessary blasphemies in Alejandro - her latest product that continues to climb the music charts fueled on by a controversy she had carefully nurtured since she unleashed it on American Idol?”
We ask this important question because electronic shock therapy is the least we need, alas, expect, from someone as big as her at this stage in the game. We can concur that her fame and super celebrity status was already cemented before Alejandro's, regardless of the yardstick one may use.
Hear this: Monstrous financial success at such an early age, MTV awards here and there, Grammy awards galore, Facebook army of fans numbering more than those of President Barack Obama's – isn't he the leader of the free world? And talk about YouTube subscribers and Tweeter followers. Her numbers boogle the mind.
You are already a much established super star. For Pete's sake, why the blasphemies?
Lady Gaga, please explain the swallowing of the rosary? If that is your way of shedding your Roman Catholicism and religious shackles, well, you may have succeeded in shocking a few of us who may not be in the know yet. Most of us that are aware of the history and the background to all of this Madonna-like outrageousness would query: Why bother? Madonna had already numbed us out long before you came along. It did not help in the originality contest when you replaced Madonna's cone-covered breasts with plastic guns in your video. You lacked in originality. Even Grace Jones, another iconic symbol, alleges that you imitate her dress code.
Post-'85, after Madonna's blasphemous jabs on the cross and utter disrespect of Jesus Christ, the informed public may react and just say: Madonna clone! It's not very dissimilar to experiencing a hurricane that travels just 10 miles faster. The shock factor is no longer there. It is more like a pathetic nuisance. Lady Gaga, your Aunt Madonna had accomplished the same before you were born using all-too-familiar grotesque acts. Repackaged merchandise or carbon copy? Either way, it means the same thing. What's the difference between cc: and bcc:? Not much.
So Lady Gaga, why the donning of strategically placed crosses on your nun's uniform, and making one of them pointing like an arrow to your genital area? We know where it is. You did not have to treat us like we are retarded. You wanted us shocked? Not a dime, copy cat.
It was not Alejandro that pushed her Facebook to the level of the most popular living personality in Facebook lore. It was her intimate interview with Rolling Stones in a recent issue that sealed the deal.
Only the dearly departed Michael Jackson got more Facebook fans– definitely massively more. But look, Lady Gaga is only 24 and will live on expectedly for many, many more years. Sky is the limit in terms of the boundaries and frontiers she will be methodically and deliberately extending out and blitzing through. This girl got the familiar, effective performing gifts that propelled Madonna and Michael Jackson to the supreme heights they both now occupy.
So, why the blasphemies?
We have a theory. If you watch Alejandro several times, you may not be able to get a clear story pinned down. There is no mini-cinema you will find at least at the level of her previous hit Telephone. There is not clearcut story line that the hapless viewers may be able to put together. There is none that one can diligently uncover. Who really died, for example? And these endless images of effeminate soldiers wearing high heels and fish nets, sado-masochistic sex scenes, fascist war scenes, distorted religious imageries, and so on and so on, under a dark, doleful, black-and-white German expressionism, as some critics fancifully described it. Still failed to be comprehensively provocative. A nuisance, yes. This music video is not about liberating us from our religious biases, homophobic fears, or mis-education. It is more like a postmodern mix of eclectic metaphors attempting to both confuse and shock us.
Listen to a sampling of Lady Gaga quotes:
"It's all about where I'm from and love of theater and love of music and love of the lie in art, and Steven (Steven Klein is the fashion photographer who directed Alejandro and some of Madonna's videos) really knows and understands that," she said. "So we're making a beautiful video, and I'm so excited. Alejandro video will be about fashion and lifestyle”.
We vehemently disagree. We think Alejandro is an artifice that uses music as a commercial ploy to promote and profit at the expense of homosexuals whom she claims she defends. It is more than the E as in Eroticism. More than likely, it is the E from Exploitation.
Roman Catholics, who are clearly the intended targets of her 8-minute, sex-crazed, supremely irreverent, strongest latest work, will not necessarily view the eating of rosaries as fashionable lifestyle, by the way. Rosaries are never nutritious since plastic beads are impossible to digest. And they know much more than that since they just learned in reverse from Lady Gaga that love of the lie in art is dangerous to the soul.
And one more thing. She may or may not know it, her Alejandro is advancing Satanic schemes.
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