Lady Gaga was on Howard Stern the other day and she was just awesome. Not only did she handle all Howard’s questions and come across as driven and eccentric without sounding like a total shithead, she also is one of the only people I’ve ever heard skate the line between answering the more titillating questions and saying “I don’t really think that’s appropriate” without sounding like a complete turd/prude/person with something weird to hide.
To top it off, she performed two songs, “Hair” and “Edge Of Glory” with just vocals and a piano and both songs were absolutely unbelievable. It’s not often that I listen to ANY music and have to consciously think to myself “uh, dude, you may potentially start crying right now if you’re not careful” unless I’m super-duper wasted/hungover/emotionally vulnerable, but yesterday I was just driving along and boom, I was about one click away from being Spade and Farley listening to the Carpenters in Tommy Boy.
Now, there are a lot of issues to address here, most of them involving me being a total pansy for A) having any respect for Lady Gaga or worse, B) being the kind of aging hipster douche that PRETENDS to like Lady Gaga because it’s eccentric and shows a breadth of taste and the sophistication to see the masterful simplicity of the songcraft in the vapid pop machine and blah blah blah. There’s of course C) Only total homos cry, except for at your army buddy’s funeral or at the ceremony where your son receives the medal after getting Osama.
Other issues include the fact that these renditions of “Hair” and “Edge of Glory” sound a LOT alike and that she’s making some pretty weird faces, playing piano with talon-like nails and generally the whole thing is rife with easy-to-mock trappings. There are long responses to all these issues but the quick answer to all of them is pretty much this: Hey man, whatever. I thought she was great.
There’s this pervasive notion in the mainstream and counterculture alike that as a collective, humanity is nothing but a mad grip of buffoons and we heap all this praise on these talentless hacks just because they’re beautiful and have access to the studio wizardry of Wil.I.Am. We all get furious because these shitheads don’t deserve it. They’re ciphers. They stink. What ever happened to talent? To substance over style? To artists like Phil fucking Collins! That motherfucker may not have been beautiful, but he could sing the dick right off a dog, boy. But this new batch of shit…Who likes this shit? Pre teen girls? Fuck. Hell in a handbasket. That’s where we’re headed with this bullshit.
And on and on like this.
It’s funny because (and this is getting dangerously close to ‘leave Britney alone’ territory) Lady Gaga is a great singer and a great songwriter and she’s kind of funny looking and finally, after a decade plus of mindless pop and boybands and Svengali-pupeteered dipshit pigs we finally really, truly do have a megastar that’s actually a great musician, talented songwriter, gifted vocalist, weird iconoclast, who’s also odd looking, and yet when you look up and go, ‘man, lady gaga is just fucking incredible’ people smirk and go, “Oh man, I didn’t think you went for that pop bullshit” or worse “oh, look at you with your shitty, ironic hipster praise of another pop turd. You’re essentially Pitchfork sucking off the Carter 3” all the while ignoring that this woman is actually the real deal that deserves the praise she’s getting because she’s done all the things you need to do to earn said praise and she did it while being weird looking in a VERY superficial industry and in front of an increasingly fickle public.
It goes back to enthusiasm and being a poser and the way that everyone is afraid to show any interest in anything at all because we live in a poisoned culture of cynical dicks, but this time the teenaged girls and the homos were right. Lady Gaga’s piano performances on Stern were truly powerful and touching and sure, maybe all you like is Slayer and it seems mad gay to you, maybe you just listen to Eminem and the Geto Boyz and that weird-chick-on-a-piano shit has nothing to do with your tastes. But me, I’m an old shitty man who has very little faith in anything and who decided to get into punk rock because I thought polish and stadium seating and virtuosity were overrated non-necessities that only got in the way of the visceral impact of the shared experience of music, and this shit floors me. Go ahead and call me a pussy.
I think Lady Gaga is fucking incredible.