May. 22nd, 2011

rockinhamburger: (Gorgeous Gaga)
Lady Gaga's a polarizing performer. People either love her or hate her, and then there are the people who are fairly indifferent, but for the most part she creates very strong feelings in a general audience. I find it fascinating, and a little disheartening.

I was all ready to despise Gaga. I heard Pokerface one day in a restaurant and literally went, "Who the hell is this?" I judged her then and there because, hey, it was pop music, and if there's anything I'm quick and happy to judge, it's pop music.

But then someone showed me a clip of Gaga performing a stripped-down version where it was just her and her piano, and I was left saying, "Well, she's got pipes, but you wouldn't know it from the music she's got playing on the radio right now."

Within a few months, I began to slowly warm up to her. I heard Paparazzi and fell in grudging love with it, and then I saw her a stripped-down performance of the song and loved it even more. Before long, I had to admit to myself that I was starting to become a fan.

Her Bad Romance video was the tipping point. At the end of that, I just sat there going, "Is this really it? Is someone actually doing this? Tiptoeing on to the music scene with the tried and true pop star mold only to turn around and put out songs and music videos of actual substance with valuable ideas and messages, instead of the tired love-and-sex model for hit songs?"

And it's pretty clear by now that's exactly what she did. She studied the industry to find out exactly how to be successful so that she could then put out the messages she's actually interested in sharing with the world.

A message of acceptance and inclusion; a message about the birth of a new generation of people who refuse to persecute others based on how we differ, but rather to celebrate those differences and come together as a supportive, loving community of diversity.

Whatever you think about Gaga, you cannot deny that that is a fucking beautiful message. And in a time and place where a lot of pop music is about superficiality, it is a breath of fresh air to see someone who is genuinely authentic about humanitarian issues.

You don't have to like her music, but the fact that I like it is not a fucking crime. I am allowed to love Lady Gaga, and her music, and her performances, just as you are allowed to dislike them. Just say that, though: "I don't like Lady Gaga's music." Don't say, "Her music is shit. She's stupid and unoriginal and gimmicky." The message you're sending there is that I like shitty music, that I am foolish for liking someone who is, apparently, stupid, unoriginal and gimmicky in how she presents her music. And that's just rude. Dislike her performance style and music, but leave the cattiness at home, okay?

Music is personal. There are people out there who love the music you hate, and they're allowed to. There are people out there who hate the music you love, and they're allowed to as well.

But music is wonderful because it can unite people. It can lift us up and give us courage and conviction. It can be a refuge, our very best friend when we feel like we can't go on. And because music is all that and more, I think it's worth at least trying to be respectful of others' tastes, no matter how they differ from our own.

Essentially, we shouldn't have to feel ashamed of the music we love.

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