The scene: Six guys in a Seattle hotel room, cracked-open windows unable to fully get rid of the profound stench that’s the result of a three-day festival of booze, baseball and greasy foods. If you walked in and remarked that it smelled like something died, you wouldn’t be wrong, but the festering corpse in this case was our dignity. And yet, it’s here where I fell in love. With Lady Gaga. We had somehow got stuck watching the premiere of her concert “The Monster Ball Tour” on HBO (the general excuse how it happened: we were too hung over to change the channel) and that was all it took. As soon as I got home, I spent days watching old videos, listening to songs, and realizing that, hey, I kind of like her. How did this happen? Why am I, a nearly 30-year-old straight single male, suddenly into Lady Gaga? Let’s explore, shall we! Former Ignorance is Bliss Somehow, I was able to duck under Gaga’s cultural tsunami. Before Seattle, I knew the following facts about her: (a) she sang a song called “Poker Face”; (b) she wore crazy dresses;
(c) sometimes those dresses consisted of meat. And that was it. This is important. You know how when you first get involved in a new relationship every little quirk is charming instead of annoying or, worse yet, boring? That’s what happened with Gaga. She was raised Roman Catholic? So was I! We have so much in common! She’s left-handed? She’s completely unique and her OWN WOMAN! And beyond just Gaga, the entire musical category of dance-pop is brand new to me. So, when people accuse Gaga of ripping off Madonna, or that “Alejandro” sounds like an Ace of Base song, I kind of don’t care. I have no basis for comparison. The original songs mean nothing to me. Indie Burnout When I told a friend about my newfound obsession, she mentioned how she just got into Ke$ha. Her theory about why we’re both suddenly into this previously-thought-shitty music? Indie band burnout.You can only see so many $5 shows at dive bars populated by bearded, greasy dudes wearing plaid shirts and thick glasses – I’m looking into a mirror as I write this, mind you – before you need the palate cleanser of an actually well-produced album of ear candy.
For me, Gaga is the musical equivalent of watching Fast Five after a week at the Holocaust Documentary Film Festival. It’s Kind of Punk I’ve let my hair grow long, have a face full of hair, and work as a freelancer in Southern California. But I’ve never felt more punk than by coming to terms with and admitting my love for Lady Gaga. In my groups of friends, that takes some balls. You know how members of the Hell’s Angels used to kiss each other just to freak everyone else out? It’s kind of like that. But not nearly as badass. Just about as gay, though. The Endless Quest for Answers “Why is she wearing a monster’s glove on only one hand? Why is she strumming an instrument that looks like a prop from a David Cronenberg movie? Why the fuck are her sunglasses made of burning cigarettes? There has to be some reason, right!” When I was a closet Goth in high school, I spent way too many nights constructing a plotline of what went on in Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar.”
As any great popular art does, it left you will just enough connective strands for people to (a) think it meant something, while (b) not having enough to know exactly what it meant. Just like most of “Lost.” And while I know the various artistic flourishes by Lady Gaga aren’t going to add up to much in regards to an all-encompassing plot (again, like “Lost”) I’ve already been suckered into thinking they could. And that’s enough for me. She’s Hot Seriously, guys. When did she get this reputation for being unattractive? Go to 3:18 in the video for Telephone. Try, just try, to claim she has a penis.
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