She wears preposterous ensembles and says ridiculous things. But seriously? We need Lady Gaga.
The Lady will perform on September 13 at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, and she's planning something big. In an interview with Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh, she says: "I'm going to be performing one of the most recent singles off my album. But it's going to be a different and more dramatic interpretation. And it is most certainly rooted in New York-style performance art." Setoodeh asks — and who could blame him — "What does that mean?"
It's less of me singing the song, and more of an art installation. A performance-art piece. It's very well-designed and thought out, and we've been planning it for months and months. It is for me a very meaningful performance, [for] where I am in my career, as well as the experiences I've had, as well as the co-headlining tour I'm going on in the fall. […] I sort of have this philosophy about things: there's never a reason to do something unless it's going to be memorable, unless it's going to change things, unless it's going to inspire a movement. With the song and with the performance, I hope to say something very grave about fame and the price of it.
Does that clear anything up? Hell no. But even more cryptic is her answer to the question, "what are you going to wear?"
I would say that the fashion for the performance is a representation of the most stoic and memorable martyrs of fame in history. It's intended to be an iconic image that represents people. I think after watching the performance and maybe studying it after you watch it on YouTube, you'll see the references and the symbols come through.
And, when talking about her lighting scheme, Ms. Gaga says: "I like it to be moody. I like it to evoke an idea more than light my face. It's not about what you see. It's about what you don't see, and sometimes that vacant space can be very scary."
Perhaps you find it tiring to hear about her "philosophy," her "art," "symbols" and "meaning." Maybe it would be easier if she just said, "I'm going to dress like Joan of Arc. It's gonna be dope." But the other women topping the chart right now? Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Those two aren't exactly… interesting.
Back when that song "Beautiful" was all over the radio, a DJ friend of mine once said, "The devil didn't invent rock and roll for James Blunt." And I can't help but agree, as a woman raised on filthy Prince lyrics, Madonna writhing to "Like A Virgin" (at the VMAs!) and sexual innuendo in George Michael hits. Lots of people can sing. Lots of people write songs. Pop music should be more that that. Not a lot of people sing well, or write catchy songs; Lady Gaga does both. But more importantly: Lady Gaga makes it exciting. Titillating, unexpected. With Muppet coats, teacups, awful (untrue) hermaphrodite rumors and general pantslessness. Without her, pop would be a bland landscape right now. And think about it: People mocked what David Bowie and KISS wore, too. In addition, she uses her Haus of Gaga to "propel" friends and young designers into the spotlight, using her fame to further their careers.
You might think Lady Gaga is pretentious, a phony. But if she is, it's as someone once said of Holly Golightly: She's a real phony… She honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes. Asked, "How old were you when you first wanted to be famous?" Lady Gaga replies:
I think I was in my mother's womb. But it's not about fame, you see. It's about "The Fame." It's about a life of glamour. I believe in a glamorous life.
Lady Gaga Will Rock the VMAs [Newsweek]