Gaga Over Gaga

Some good news! My aunt and I went to the hospital for a pre-surgery consultation, and he had some surprising news for us. As a formality, they re-analyzed the slide sample (I’m assuming it’s from a biopsy) they received from the last hospital, and although the sample is indeed cancerous, they didn’t see signs of clear cell carcinoma, which is the rarer and more dangerous form of endometrial cancer. So although he couldn’t make any guarantees, the assumption now seems to be that my aunt has the more common form. And if the surgery proves that to be true and also shows that the cancer is at a very early stage, then she won’t have to go through chemotherapy. Hurrah! So there is cause for renewed hope, thank God, thank God, thank God.

Now from good news to good music. While I’ve been staying at my aunt’s house, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bon Iver (“Blood Bank” is excellent), William Fitzsimmons (still don’t know what he looks like, but he’s very good), and old Bruce Springsteen (The Ghost of Tom Joad is utterly depressing and hopeless, but it’s also utterly beautiful). Oh, and there is one more artist: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

Never heard of her? Well, maybe you know her better by her stage moniker: Lady Gaga. Yes, it’s official. With her latest single and video, “Bad Romance,” she’s crossed the line from a confounding curiosity to a full-on phenomon blazing at the epicenter of American pop culture.

What sets Lady Gaga apart from divas such as Britney, Beyonce, Christina, and who-else-have-you, is not her looks (attractive but not overwhelmingly beautiful), voice (though surprisingly good live), dance moves (adequate at best), or even her songs (catchy but really disposable solely unto themselves). Rather, it is her flare for drama, her eye for creating indelible images, and her willingness to turn her focus outwards onto the listener. When Britney and Beyonce perform, it’s really all about them, how sexy and fabulous they are, and we are kept at a distance watching them with admiration. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, uses pop artifice not to decorate herself but to break down the barrier between performer and fan. She invites us into her surreal pop dreamscape, throwing handfuls of Gaga magic dust not only on her bewigged and bejeweled body but also out towards us, encouraging us to project her drama onto our own lives. Her message is really simple: none of us are mundane. And she’s right.

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

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