Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls and a Taxonomy of Vacuous Pop

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(that said, I never liked Redd Kross so yeah, maybe this is 3 times as deep as anything they came up with, I wouldn't know)

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

This is essentially convincing me that Gaga is a horrible person and I should do everything in my power to ensure I never accidentally give her money.

― Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:52 PM (7 minutes ago) Bookmark

completely otm

the name's ban. suggest ban (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

re-edited 'just dance' vid based on sequence from my 08 mix - 2nd half with the Moby/Kris Menace is best (and made me like her/this track's vocals much more)

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

i was just reading an old metal mike saunders review of demons and wizards by uriah heep and he called them PUNK rock

be on the treadmill - uh! - like OK GO (M@tt He1ges0n), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

i dont get it — we're supposed to celebrate her for being an ex cokehead who can't get thru a show? she's just as subversive as 'this one time i kissed a girl' katy perry, which is to say, not subversive at all. and the fact, like perry, that she plays up her DARING image makes it even worse

the name's ban. suggest ban (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:08 (5 years ago) Permalink

also all her songs sound exactly the same. idk why anyone would need anything from her beyond "just dance"

the name's ban. suggest ban (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

yes, but at 4:35 "i love swedish pop music" (german TV interview)

da croupier, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

this does have the ring of truth tho:
the most impressive thing about the best tracks on the album (half of more of it in toto i'd say, and i haven't close to digesting the lesser half yet) is the VARIETY of great vocal sounds. starting with the sound/tone of the vocals in the first place. it's got her handprints all over it, that and the synth/keyboard sounds (which are nearly endless in their variety of tones). ohhhh and whoever is reponsible, some GREAT drum/rhythm sounds.

one cool thing about her songwriting is how well she uses words as SOUNDS, lyrically.
maybe an entire 1/2 of Poker Face is (vocally) just sounds, right.

Surmounter, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

maybe an entire 1/2 of Poker Face is (vocally) just sounds, right.

the thing is, this is exactly what I hate about "Poker Face"

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

oh that's actually what i love about it.

and i think if she kept her trap shut, people wouldn't find her so obnoxious. just some basement production dance trax, is all i hear.

Surmounter, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

i've still never heard her speak. maybe i should keep it that way?

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:14 (5 years ago) Permalink

the uriah heep review was from like 72! or maybe even 71 but yeah i didn't know ppl used that term that early on.

i am talking about uriah heep in a lady gaga thread, what happened to me?

be on the treadmill - uh! - like OK GO (M@tt He1ges0n), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

xp -- yeah. seems like her whole "i'm an artist" routine is excrutiating and embarrassing

Surmounter, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:16 (5 years ago) Permalink

i am talking about uriah heep in a lady gaga thread, what happened to me?

It means you're on ILM, what else did you expect?

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

Yeah my big mistake re Lady Gaga was to read her press release before I listened to "Just Dance" - it put me of her from the very start.

Tim F, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:49 (5 years ago) Permalink

Same mistake I made with Vivian Girls. I saw that awful, awful bathtub interview and immediately wrote them off. Heard the album at a friend's over the weekend and actually liked it!

legendary North American forest ape (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:51 (5 years ago) Permalink

i am talking about uriah heep in a lady gaga thread, what happened to me?

It means you're on ILM, what else did you expect?

― Ned Raggett, Wednesday, March 18, 2009 9:25 PM (29 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave etc etc

be on the treadmill - uh! - like OK GO (M@tt He1ges0n), Wednesday, 18 March 2009 21:54 (5 years ago) Permalink

First time I saw Lady Gaga I thought she was some Russian Eurovision type and was thinking "well, good for you".
When I realised she was yer bog standard American popstar with shitloads of cash behind her I lost interest. I really try not to let marketing etc of an act affect how I hear it, but this is SO MUCH marketing it dictates the style of the music, the bored singing style, everything.

and i think if she kept her trap shut, people wouldn't find her so obnoxious. just some basement production dance trax, is all i hear.

Basically this otm.

Not the real Village People, Wednesday, 18 March 2009 22:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

Gaga's schtick basically seems to be that she is smarter than the eurodisco she's peddling which makes it ironic which makes it popart and not pop. What do I mean when I say she is smarter? I mean she keeps fucking telling us that she is smarter. This is the only distinction between Lady Gaga and Basshunter.

Plaxico (I know, right?), Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

xp -- yeah. seems like her whole "i'm an artist" routine is excrutiating and embarrassing

and so unsubtle - like, she doesn't even pretend to say "arty" things, she just comes out and literally says things like "THIS IS ART I'M AN ARTIST".

also her music sux too - not plumbing any particular depths or anything, but just blah reheated electro of no consequence whatsoever

lex pretend, Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

"metal" mike

The Prices are .......... VERY AFFORDABLE!!! (omar little), Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

fuck music imo

note: any and all comma splices in this post are intentional (Curt1s Stephens), Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

shit is a lost cause, evacuate

note: any and all comma splices in this post are intentional (Curt1s Stephens), Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:24 (5 years ago) Permalink

tru dat

The Reverend, Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:42 (5 years ago) Permalink

Basshunter plays DoTA though. More geek cred than Gaga.

Mirror-spangled elephant head (J@cob), Thursday, 19 March 2009 09:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

chuck are you seriously

.......

copying emails to us

― roxymuzak

haha

velko, Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

no one will be shocked that i find her music dreadful, personally, although even i can't deny the fundamental catchiness of "just dance." but i do find her a fascinating figure for a number of reasons:
* her upper-class NYC background, not typically a spawning ground for female pop stars, at least not recently
* her imaging a la terry richardson/american apparel -- surely the last step in the full-blown mainstreaming of the last night's party aesthetic?
* her chart successes-- call me cynical but i can only imagine that the record company threw a ton of money at this project, and for whatever it's worth (quite a lot to them), it worked wonders

and finally i'm intrigued by this fetishization of the "club," something that's been going on since fiddy's "in da club" and right through any number of recent top 40 songs i can't recall now whose principal theme is getting down and dirty in the dance club. why the club? why is gaga so intent upon casting herself as a "dance" artist? it all seems to go hand in hand with the TMZ-style obsession with celebs' drunken shenanigans (which seems to have hit peaked w/ the antics of paris and her coterie, as far as i can tell); there's this fantasy of the club as a zone of total promiscuity and permissiveness (cf, again, last night's party). in many ways it's not that different from the fetishization of the club/party in house and techno, of course (berghain's rep for licentiousness, etc.), and yet in its pop incarnation it strikes me as... just this free-floating signifier, a purely speculative expression....

tim, i'm sure you have something to say on this subject, and better phrased than my half-awake mumbling.

pshrbrn, Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

actually think 'Poker Face' sounds quite weird for a big pop song - feels like a plus

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 11:26 (5 years ago) Permalink

weird only if you hasn't heard 'don't stop the music' or 'disturbia' or [insert any dancepop hit from past 2 years here]

lex pretend, Thursday, 19 March 2009 11:43 (5 years ago) Permalink

*hadn't

lex pretend, Thursday, 19 March 2009 11:43 (5 years ago) Permalink

maybe if novelty has a very fast metabolic breakdown in your system.

Plaxico (I know, right?), Thursday, 19 March 2009 11:45 (5 years ago) Permalink

weird only if you hasn't heard 'don't stop the music' or 'disturbia' or [insert any dancepop hit from past 2 years here]

no i've heard those and i think there is a difference - a couple of elements on the LG track seem odder than any Rihanna thing. a better comparison would be with Danja's Britney stuff but particularly the stuff they probably thought would be 'too weird' to release as a single. 'Poker Face' chorus is totally ordinary tho, it's just other things going on around it.

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 12:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

uhh what elements? seriously, the britney album? i think gaga has managed to fool you :(

lex pretend, Thursday, 19 March 2009 12:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

More Metal Mike, buried in another email (which yeah, I'm copying. Thanks for noticing):

so far, 1 ex GF, and two merch-help people, ages 20 through 38 who all are big on 4/4 4-to-the-floor 80's dance music, LOVE the album beyond description. on any kind of decent loud stereo (or in a car) it is a pounder.

my favorite part of its sound/production is that it has my favorite "cool synth noises" by about ten miles. if there's ever been anything else like them, ever, i'd sure like to know what they are. she's doing them with a sort of "excitement level" (for want of a better phrase) that's akin to how guys used to crank it up playing rock-guitar.

i also dig that the album/gaga is bringing out the "pop music haters" and making them crazy. hahaha sorry all you music-hippies, her lyrics (the best ones) are awesome.

But anyway, I never said I agree with him. (Just said he's "slowly starting to convince me that Lady Gaga might not be as horrible as I thought", hardly a ringing endorsement.) My reaction to her has so far been mostly negative (wrote a short screed to that effect on Idolator last year), but I have a feeling what's bugged me has been a lot more her clearly annoying schtick and marketing than her music. (The quasi-decadent cleverer-than-Eurodisco pop-art routine actually reminds me a lot of electroclash from a few years ago, as does the blankness of her voice sometimes -- amazed nobody's made that comparison here. She's just gotten bigger than electroclash ever was.)

But it's possible the schtick is making everybody (including me) underrate the music. I think part of Mike's point is that high-energy Eurodisco-like dance music never really hits in the States anymore. She sure doesn't sound much like Rihanna to me. As for the precedents for her particular synths sounds (or "basement production dance trax," whatever), now I'm curious, too. (I'm no expert on current dance music, so I don't doubt that they're out there.)

xhuxk, Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

I have never listened to Lady Gaga and thought she was doing anything remotely new or exciting.

cortez de esteban (Curt1s Stephens), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

no i've heard those and i think there is a difference - a couple of elements on the LG track seem odder than any Rihanna thing. a better comparison would be with Danja's Britney stuff but particularly the stuff they probably thought would be 'too weird' to release as a single. 'Poker Face' chorus is totally ordinary tho, it's just other things going on around it.

― Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, March 19, 2009 8:18 AM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

i feel this. it sounds very ordinary and very odd at the same time. like i hear the drum machine and the basic production but i also hear weird nuances that sound like someone was having some stoned fun with effects. and it kind of sends chills down my spine, which i know is a gag-worthy comment.

i also really like how the chorus vox are so much more expansive and heavy than the verses'.

Surmounter, Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

But anyway, I never said I agree with him. (Just said he's "slowly starting to convince me that Lady Gaga might not be as horrible as I thought", hardly a ringing endorsement.)

All I said is that all of this is having the exact opposite effect on me; it's making me like her less and I didn't like her that much to begin with.

Also, having not heard her album, I'm hesitant to call her "high-energy" since her two radio hits are 119 bpm.

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

fwiw the elements that struck me as relatively "weird" sounding were the murky-sounding looped one-note synth detail that comes in after 8 seconds (a lower version of what you're already hearing- it makes me think the video should involve submarines), some of the backing vocals (taking their cue from 'Gimme More') and Gaga's affected low notes (not really camp but aiming for the same kind of warped mania as say Roisin's 'Ramalama (Bang Bang) - nowhere near as good as that but it works well enough). i guess my point is it reminds me of these much better tracks but i'm not seeing this as a bad thing.

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:32 (5 years ago) Permalink

i feel this. it sounds very ordinary and very odd at the same time. like i hear the drum machine and the basic production but i also hear weird nuances that sound like someone was having some stoned fun with effects.

^^ yeah this is one of the things that producers seem to be struggling with these days, doing this sort of thing right. I'm all about the cool synths and fucked-up druggy effects, but it seems like everyone currently producing music who likes these things makes a) dreadful spastic amelodic hook-free indie-electro or b) dreadful cluttered amelodic hook-free top 40 a la Lady Gaga. ("JUST. DANCE." is not a hook in 2009 ok? It just sounds like you were too lazy to think up good lyrics).

right now mainstream rap is the only genre I've found that utilizes the elements I like properly, but I'm worried that its top 40 side is going down the same unfortunate path as Lady Gaga et al (see: Flo Rida "Right Round")

cortez de esteban (Curt1s Stephens), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:33 (5 years ago) Permalink

"JUST. DANCE." is not a hook in 2009 ok? It just sounds like you were too lazy to think up good lyrics

no worse than Britney's "Gimme gimme more gimme more gimme gimme more" really (better tho that track is)

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:36 (5 years ago) Permalink

agree that 'Right Round' is awful tho

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:37 (5 years ago) Permalink

definitely worse than gimme more imo

Surmounter, Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:37 (5 years ago) Permalink

TS: "JUST. DANCE." vs "PUH-PUH-PUH-POKER FACE PUH-PUH-POKER FACE"

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:38 (5 years ago) Permalink

vs "UMBERELLA-ELLA-ELLA AY AY AY"

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:38 (5 years ago) Permalink

I'm hesitant to call her "high-energy" since her two radio hits are 119 bpm.

Yeah, that's why I didn't spell it "Hi NRG." I mean, she clearly has energy (and her beats do too), even if they might not get played on anybody's 12 Noon Aerobics Show like Evelyn Thomas or Miquel Brown or Pamala Stanley used to. She's hardly mellow.

xhuxk, Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:38 (5 years ago) Permalink

i just find the latter quite amusing ("Pukka face? wtf?") and not particularly annoying (the "MOMOMOMO" after it helps) xposts

Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:39 (5 years ago) Permalink

Just Dance just doesn't strike me as exceptional in any way. it's not bad, but it doesn't get me excited.

Surmounter, Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:41 (5 years ago) Permalink

dan plz transcribe the lyrics to "caterpillar girl"

cortez de esteban (Curt1s Stephens), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:41 (5 years ago) Permalink

vs "KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-KUHTA-CATERPILLER GIRL"

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:42 (5 years ago) Permalink

I think that's the thing about "Poker Face" that irritates me so much; the chorus is decent but most of the song reeks of budget "Umbrella", and I don't actually like "Umbrella".

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Thursday, 19 March 2009 14:45 (5 years ago) Permalink


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