Let’s be clear. Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Anglina Germanotta) grates on me.
Her lifetime achievement of ten songs are not only a derivative, but uninspired. More on music later.
She’s been everywhere: award shows, gay-rights rallies, magazine covers, stadiums, YouTube, Letterman, SNL, Grammy’s, etc. She consistently makes headlines for wearing outrageous outfits – a meat dress here, a spiky scepter there – and for spouting sound bites such as, “I can mentally give myself an orgasm” or “I smoke a lot of pot when I write songs” … it’s gag-a, gag-a all the time.
She is clearly a celebrity overexposed and should just go away. But, her “little monsters” are goo goo over gaga and won’t let that happen so, what to do?
Call Mark-Hans Richer to suggest he create and capitalize on a “Sputnik Moment” as President Obama evangelized. So here it is… drum roll please…the headline would read: Harley-Davidson signs Lady Gaga to an endorsement deal! I can’t think of anyone else other than Lady Gaga who cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is an erotic taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product who claims to be singing for freaks, the rebellious and the dispossessed. If there ever was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador she would be it!
So, I put the question out to the Northwest Harley Blog think tank (a.k.a. my pet cat Smurf!) and the name H-D: Lady Gaga Edition rose to the top. A close second was Lady Gaga: Dare To Be Different clothing line. Honestly I think Lady Gaga’s fashion style is weird and qualifies her for worst dressed, but what do I know? My fashion wardrobe is mostly black t-shirts. However, the youth crowd demographic — which H-D desperately seeks – see’s her as agent provocateur.
Now I could wax on about some ideas of a limited edition, “Bites of Enlightenment” Sportster model with Beef Jerky strips as the paint theme or “The Fame Monster” FatBoy model complete with a “Glam” accessory kit like a hair bow, hat, sunglasses, gloves and even a couture neck brace! But you’d likely think I’m just grousing and I wanted to get back to music.
Speaking of, there’s no cheating music. Let’s be clear, you can imitate, you can rip off what’s been done before, but there is no short cut. There’s a schism between “performers” and true artistry. The artist stories are all the same. They bought records and practiced in their basements until they were good enough to get a gig. Then they gigged long enough until someone noticed. Then they got a chance and some broke through.
So for all you Gaga haters out there the clip begins with “Train Leaves Here This Morning.” What’s stunning is the band is sitting on stools singing all the music. ALL the music. Incredible harmonies. There’s no one in the background, nothing electronic-fied or on tape. The 4-part harmonies are almost perfect. And when something is almost perfect you get “chicken skin.” Hell, Bernie Leadon is wearing a UCLA t-shirt which was likely the first thing in his suitcase. It was about the music not the look. Randy Meisner smiles when singing “A Certain Kind of Fool” and when Don Henley sings “Witchy Woman” it takes you back to the first time you ever heard it, when you had no idea who he was. This is a band. Remember bands?
This is not Glee. It’s not a look-a-like tribute to Madonna. It’s like stumbling onto the Dead Sea Scrolls. You can be broke and still sing “Take It Easy” with the wind in your face on the open road and you’re right where you want to be. It’s reminiscent of a time where radio was about music, not commercials. This is the way it use to be. Something that exists in the mind of the artist/players not some stylist standing in front of the mirror perfecting your ‘do.
Photo courtesy of Lady Gaga, The Eagles, BBC and various publishers.