Growing up in the late 80s/early 90s, my female music icons consisted of… well, essentially? A muddled mix of Paula Abdul, Madonna, and Tori Amos… okay, plus a dose of Kim Gordon and PJ Harvey [okay, fine, and a dash of Mariah Carey].

The other night… I had a moment. Standing, awe-stricken, at the Lady Gaga Monster Ball show in DC, I thought to myself, “This little woman is a mélange of everything I ever wanted to see, hear… BE as a young girl (slash now).” Gaga belts out songs like Christina Aguilera (note: Ga sings the whole show live—no lip synching–flawlessly) and boasts ballads whilst flailing around on a flaming piano to the point where I got the Little Earthquakes quivers. I was in heaven. If I had been 15 years younger, I probably would’ve broken out bawling. It was just that good…

To me, Lady Gaga is a masterful mash-up. I think of her as equal parts Madonna, fembot, soulful songstress, and bad-ass bitch. Her dancers, not cookie-cutter Lachey look-alikes, but scruffy, tatted biker-looking dudes. Oh yeah. Gaga pontificates about things like gay rights, she breaks it DOWN donning dry blood, mmkay? Gaga says the f-word. Loud. And profusely. Heck, she’s got it strung up in lights on stage! I, for one, was impressed…

Of course, I could go on virtually all day about the insanely elaborate sets, the gasp-inducing costumes… but clearly, the photos can speak for themselves. Always a crowd-pleaser, Gaga begs of her monsters to “throw up their paws” and gives them exactly what they crave: all the hits (which is essentially the whole album) off her (deluxe-ly modified) pop opus, The Fame Monster.

On top of it all, and despite her hard-edge stage personae, she even manages to break up a front-row cat fight mid-song. “Do not fight at this show,” the leather-clad siren scolds. Hey, she may be tough, but she does not condone monster on monster violence [it’s ball, not brawl!]…

Dear Lady Gaga:

Thank you for a night I will never forget. Truly.

You are a confusing post-modern answer to a question we’ve all been trying to form since the mid 90s. Somehow, you manage to inspire me in the same way you inspire 13-year-old boys trapped in the closet. Somehow, you manage to provide us all with a glorious feast for the eyes, ears… and ego.

You are a star.

Thank you.

Oh, and please, for the love of Britney…

Keep it comin’.




  1. So, I like the GaGa songs, and the GaGa videos; they’re fun. But, there are a lot of fun pop songs and videos, that wear off after a short while, and then you move on. GaGa seems to me like that;I have to confess I don’t get why she’s so huge. The GaGa persona is lacking depth; I think Camille Paglia gets it just about right (I think she’s got a pretty high batting average to tell the truth), if a bit harsh.

  2. Thank you for your comment! While I certainly see where you’re coming from (and I know not everyone follows Ga’s goings-on, interviews, etc. as closely as I), I personally see many things different about her as a *pop* artist, among them, that she takes sides on political issues and, unlike the Britney variety (which, I admit, I don’t mind either), she has zero apologies regarding her off-stage and on-stage (!) behavior (none of this, “I’m a virgin! I’m a role model!” nonsense with a lack of any actions to back it up). I’m attracted to artists who not only push the envelope, (ie the fashion envelope… Madonna’s fashions were shocking, but never as extravagant and performance-art-influenced as Ga’s) but who have no apologies or hesitation in doing so. The recent crop of female pop stars (within the past 10 years, I’d say) hasn’t seem to know where to fit in on the “sexy-girls-want-to-be-me-and-guys-want-to-be-with-me” vs. “wholesome-American-pop-star-icon” scale. What I like about Gaga is that she seems completely in tune with who she is and what her message is. I can respect that. Because of this, her music, to me, has a different feel… it seems more confident, and thus more powerful (deep, I know)…

    While I admire other pop icons similar to Lady Gaga, I don’t understand their message. Perhaps there IS no message aside from “get down in the club” or whatever. That’s fine too. But Gaga’s passion in what she says (which is sometimes just pure shock value, I will admit) coupled with music of mass appeal, I find intriguing. Now, the music itself, I admit, is not ground-breaking. But it’s a hell of a precisely-produced pop record. And I happen to LOVE pop music. And here, again, I think I just like this mix of pop music + very rock star (and woman rock star, at that…) behavior. She’s a provocateur (euse?)… and has the goods to back it up. For that, I applaud her.

    I also have to add on that Gaga has this whole “misfit” monster theme that pervades her music and her performance art, and judging from the hoards of teenage misfit goths wearing platform heels (I’m talking about the guys) at her show… I’d say her message is getting out. It’s this idea of global pop phenomenon who identifies with and seeks to reach out specifically to… those that don’t fit in. “The monsters,” that is. I think we’d all agree that Britney wasn’t losing any sleep over the fear of going stag to prom…

    I did read this Paglia article when it came out and I guess I can’t really say that agree with her on… anything, haha, but I do agree with this rebuttal, via the Awl. 🙂 Take a peek if you get a chance… I’d be interested to hear what you think…

    Thanks again for your comment, and for clicking, Tony! 🙂

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