This week has been particularly heavy on Lady Gaga news and commentary, but Flavorwire has had its eye on the pop provocateur since she first broke out. We have pages upon pages about Lady Gaga stretching back to 2008, that thoroughly cover our reactions to the divisive star, ranging from excitement to confusion to fatigue, and more. So we thought it’d be interesting to dig through our archive of posts for our best commentary on the singer. Check them out and see why she’s held our attention for so long.
Lady Gaga has excited us for years, so it’s been disheartening to see that her attempts to be subversive just aren’t working like they used to. Editor-in-Chief Judy Berman laments Gaga’s possible descent into self-parody in her write-up of the new single “Applause”: “That ‘Applause’ plays like a robotic rehash of the fame-obsessed songs that made her famous doesn’t bode well for ARTPOP. As much as I hope it isn’t, it may well be the sound of one of the 21st century’s most promising pop stars running out of ideas.”
A bit before “Applause” leaked, Gaga received a lot of well-warranted criticism for her attempts to make a pop song about a burqa. But “Burqa / Aura” wasn’t her first try, and last year, the Internet may have found a weird, weird leak in the song “Cake Like Lady Gaga (Burqa Swag).” The result was pretty hard to figure out in the midst of nonsensical rapping — which could make for a cultural appropriation double whammy, but we won’t know for sure about that until ARTPOP comes out. Listen to the supposed prequel to “Burqa / Aura,” read our comments, and try to figure out where this misguided burqa fascination could possibly be headed.
Sometimes Lady Gaga gets her biggest reactions when she isn’t all that provocative, and critics were shocked to see a pretty simple video for “Edge of Glory.” Music Editor Tom Hawking’s reaction made us wonder: Are her famously explosive videos the real reason she intrigues us? If we took away all the layers of her extravagant facade, what’s left? Not much, he says.
“Born This Way,” however, was heavy on big, flamboyant imagery, and Judy Berman proceeded to break it all down shortly after the video’s release. She catches as many references as she can, including the Bible and the Illuminati (natch), Rocky Horror, Hieronymous Bosch, and, of course, “Express Yourself.”
Gaga gets a lot of flak for musical and visual copycatting, but you’ve got to give her credit for taking cues from some exciting sources. We dive into the star’s most unapologetic art world riffs in a post that could also work as a casual art fan’s intro to some really esoteric stuff.
But are supposed rip-offs worth anything if the content itself isn’t any good? In a follow-up to Judy Berman’s “Applause” piece, Tom Hawking poses that critiques of Gaga’s copycat tendencies are “answering the wrong question…[which] isn’t so much whether artists should be borrowing other artists’ ideas– it’s what do they do with those ideas.” The verdict: no. Hawking skillfully unpacks why that’s the real problem with both “Applause” and the once-exciting pop artist’s general trajectory in one of our best Gaga analyses yet.
Last but certainly not least, our very first Lady Gaga post: an interview! Our 2008 chat with the then-22-year-old is a weird blast from the past for any fan of Gaga. This interview may be short, but it’s an interesting look at the larger-than-life pop star’s fairly humble beginnings. Also, did Caroline Stanley predict “Bad Romance” by saying Gaga’s “back story… sounds like a bad high school romance”? Discuss.