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asleep at mal 9/09
What do you think? 
6/9/10 22:15
asleep at mal 9/09
A friend posted the new Lady Gaga video earlier; below is my first reaction after watching it.

Hmmm... it felt like Gaga visits a fetish club, with music by Evita era Madonna. Not necessarily a bad thing, but every single style choice came directly from some dungeon scene or other that I've seen in the past year.

And as a general aside, I do not get the Nazi-influence in this video, the fetish scene, and militaristic fashion. It may be a function of of spending too much time studying Nazi-ism and WWII in college, but I just cannot understand the desire to re-enact or glorify the imagery.

OTOH, the song itself is a nice change, the costuming and movement, while derivative are well-done, and the staging/set dressing is cool. T compared it to Casablanca in parts, I read the era between WWI and WWII in Spain/France, and then of course there was the obvious Moulin Rouge thrown in as well. And Gaga as Madonna as Greta Garbo is never a bad thing.

I'm sure there are images, influences, styles we're missing or that we so associate with the fetish scenes that we've wrongly interpreted parts of the short. What does the video say to you?
6/10/10 5:19 (UTC)
Additional comments:
* The lace eyepieces are all over the steampunk style
* Annie Lennox from some video or another in the red nun's habit
* Tank Girl in the "bullet" bra
* I must note that she looks good without all the hair pieces/hats/etc
6/12/10 4:32 (UTC)
My very first thought about this video is surprise that I didn't actually find the music that irritating. I really dislike hip-hop and I recall her other stuff as more heavily influenced by it. This just sounded like...pop. Light, catchy, not particularly interesting but not particularly annoying either. I also really do think she's quite pretty, there is something unusual about her face that makes her seem more genuine somehow. I think it might be her nose - it's not a tiny perky little thing, it doesn't look like it's something she picked up at a plastic surgeon that was modeled on a template of other celebrity noses.

I also like all the backup dancers being half naked men. I suppose it's just as exploitative as half naked women in a way, but I'm straight. A bunch of half naked women dancing does very little for me and had the sexual writhing in this involved Gaga and another woman it would have really turned me off with it's lowest common denominator pandering. I know there have been other videos with guys as the eye candy, but I've never really kept up with pop music and I was never a fan of Madonna's. This is the first music video I've watched in months.

What keeps confusing me about Lady Gaga are all the people who seem to think she's breaking new ground. As clueless as I am about pop culture, now and past, I still know that there is nothing particularly new about anything she's doing here. Madonna and Cher both wore weird crazy shit back when I was a little kid. Fetish style in music videos is old hash. This isn't to say she's not doing it well. She's got a great body, the costuming and props were interesting, the choreography was good - I just get an impression from a lot of the headlines & captions I see mentioning her that a lot of people think she's some kind of pop culture pioneer blazing a new trail into an untapped part of the collective unconscious. I think these people really need to get out more.
6/12/10 6:17 (UTC)
You're definitely hit something I missed in my original set of comments - because I too rarely watch music videos I forgot how many of them utilize half naked women but not men, so this was a nice change.

That said, I don't hate her music, which kind-of surprises me. She's very pop most of the time, although that does include hip-hop influences sometimes. Bad Romance randomly plays in my head all too regularly because it's got that good/bad pop thing Madonna had going in the 80's.

As for her appearance and facial structure - I agree with you. She happily plays up her Italian genetics and her nose, which does make her feel a bit less like another pop-diva clone. She writes much of her own music, can actually sing and play instruments (gasp), and generally seems to be having a fabulous time in spite of all the work. I don't think she's really groundbreaking, but it's nice to see a female pop diva who is doing what she loves as opposed to what seems to be the norm these days, and letting her (male) producer or what have you make all the decisions.

Yes, I've been reading too much about Gaga lately - my blog feeds are filled with videos, covers, articles, interviews and cultural critique of her work. On one hand it's a bit much, and on the other there are a lot of interesting discussions, so for the time being I'll continue to pay a little attention to what she's doing - at least until she "jumps the shark" or it becomes old hat (as opposed to the old is new thing she's currently pulling off so well).