Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Friday, October 8, 2010

Katy Perry v. Lady Gaga v. Kanye West v. Me v. Self-seriousness

I submit 3 SNL performances:

Of the three: One I loved - One I was able to tolerate -One made me want to rip my eyes out and shove them in my ear holes. It is all a matter of self-seriousness.

Katy Perry: Popmatters put it perfectly in their review of Ms. Perry’s most recent release Teenage Dream, On the album’s final song, a ho-hum ballad called ‘Not Like the Movies’, Katy asks, ‘Am I a stupid girl?’ The answer: No. But she’s plays one on the radio.” She might be putting out the dumbest songs imaginable but she never loses a knowing grin. With this record she decided to veer away from her own sometimes* very good songwriting and wholeheartedly embrace fun for the sake of fun. One can argue she simply wanted to be more famous, which she now is, but I think she just has a populist streak. There are a lot of folks, especially teenagers, who like to listen to vapid music where a 26-year old woman sings about “going all the way.” Katy Perry does not speak with an air about her music - she shoots whipped cream out of her boobs.

Lady Gaga: Joanna Newsom in a Guardian interview addressed the whole Lady Gaga thing, “…there's not much in her music to distinguish it from other glossy, formulaic pop… she's Arty Spice! And, meanwhile, she seems to take herself so oddly seriously, the way she talks about her music in the third person…” This perfectly sums up why watching Lady Gaga exist just gives me creeps; she will sing, “Don't think too much, just bust that stick/I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" (yep, rhymes “stick” with “stick”), like she is talking about modern day debt slavery in Southeast Asia. Maybe it would be fine if the media had not decided to wholeheartedly support here faux-iconoclastic brand identity. From Pitchfork’s 7.8 to the LATimes Warholian comparison, journalists apparently are just along for the ride as if they were Ms. GaGa and fabricated artiness was the aforementioned disco stick. This self-perpetuating cycle of self-seriousness has created a “fame monster” that thinks a 20 minute speech built completely around a meat metaphor is reasonable way to end Don't Ask Don't Tell. Lady Gaga speaks with an air about her everything – she is pictured with machine gun boobs.

Kanye West: Still, Gaga does not take herself as serious as Kanye West seemingly does. There is a difference however, Kanye West is making actually serious music. All of these three can broadly be called musicians but West is the only artist. I view him as a Picasso like figure – a supremely talented creator SLASH giant asshole. He tries so obscenely hard for the approval of the public that his behavior borders between that of an 8 year-old and a sociopath.

Take his relationship with award shows; Kanye exhibits no signs of understanding that Grammy’s are valueless**, let alone he might be the only grown-up left who cares about the validity of the MTV Music Awards. Sure, it was a dick move to interrupt Swift, but it was more psychotic to think that award mattered in the first place. He seems to treat popular culture like it is a life or death matter, which is why he has developed into one of its greatest curators (

“Power” samples King Crimson and features an amazing video*** by artist Marco Brambilla - "Lost in the World" samples both a Bon Iver EP and a Gil Scott-Heron song - his blog primarily features Scandinavian chairs and esoteric Parisian mirrors - he made this really weird short film with Spike Jonze for no reason:

He approaches all of these things so austerely that it is easy to lose sight of how compelling they are. On one hand he will release a Justin Bieber remix and on the other he will release 808’s and the Heartbreak, which might be the most intensely personal record released by a famous person since Blood on the Tracks. Now, the title, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy might scream, “Look how serious I am,” however when an artist has such a track record of releasing serious/progressive/awesome/acclaimed content there really is nothing to say.

Katy Perry is taking it however she can get it - Lady Gaga is acting like she is a mix of Björk, Peaches, and Duchamp while making music that sounds like what her fans listened to in elementary school - Kanye West is pushing the boundaries of what we expect from our pop stars at this point.

* I will argue with anyone that the below is a really good song, especially with this arrangement.


Fast-forward to 14:45. Yes, it’s in Spanish but, come on, we have all seen this episode 40 times.


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