Performer, artist, not sure what to call it, Lady Ga Ga failed to be original when she opened the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles last night. Looks like Ga Ga is running out of ways to shock people. Her obnoxious alter ego looked a lot like The Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox when she wore fake beard stubble, dyed black hair and a black suit back in 1984. And if the “Fame Monster” cares to contribute to the world of music, she should consider showcasing her voice and piano skills to cement her legacy as a significant pop cultural force, worthy of respect.
If you didn’t know, the pop star’s stage name, “Ga Ga,” is an homage to the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga” from their 1984 album “The Works.” For this year’s VMA’s Ga Ga chose to open with her song “You and I” that also shares its name with a 1976 Queen album track written by bassist John Deacon. She even borrowed personally from Rock royalty by having Queen’s innovative but underrated guitarist Brian May play along. On a side note (and maybe unintentionally) the VMA’s and Ga Ga added another poignant moment to video awards’ history when Brian May become the only Queen member to open an MTV awards show: twenty years since singer Freddy Mercury passed.
Besides being stuck in 1984, she can play piano, write and has a great voice. She’s also now in a very privileged position of having the attention of millions of people, most importantly, the young and influential. So why does a self-proclaimed “artist” like Ga Ga let her need for showmanship overshadow pure musical talent? She may have a knack for outrageous fashion, but is she posing as a musician or a fashion designer?
And I understand and respect her need to spread the message of equality for all genders, whether hetero, homo, transsexual, whatever. (Where this list ends is a topic for another article.) But to spend the past year or so of her career pounding that message home and letting it infiltrate her entire persona has become tiresome and boring.
Music Television or MTV was once a revolutionary media outlet that showcased new musical talent by airing their videos. “The VMA’s” as they are commonly known, stand for Video Music Awards, not “music video awards.” By putting the “V” before the “M” in its awards show title, MTV boldly shows us how music has clearly become second to video.
And this has led us to withstand the agony of someone like Ga Ga, who exhausts her visual lime-light with more eye candy and flair than her music requires. This world is desperately in need of more talented, inspiring and positive role models who can use their popularity to add some positive energy to our very confusing times. I’d thought Ga Ga was already on that path by working hard at making beautiful art, not dressing as an unattractive guy who can’t form an intelligent sentence. (We already have The Jersey Shore for that.) The last I checked, that art was called “music.”
Come on, Germanotta: we know you have it in you…