Now that seems trendy to discredit Gaga when she releases something, here’s a very very very important thread:
Gaga’s got the hits, that’s for sure. But if we assume that her whole legacy reduces to only «top 10 songs» then we’re mistreating the concept of what a «legacy» means.
Now, none if this I invented. Sources:
Billboard, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, NME, The Guardian, i-D, MTV, What Culture, BBC, The Telegraph, Nylon, SPIN, The Hollywood Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Atlantic, Paper Magazine, Business Insider.
What made Lady Gaga’s rise to a superstardom status so quick?
According to the media, bringing back to the culture something that was missing...
Back in the day, the music industry was turning into something lame... Every sound, every record, every visual felt the same.
As the radio was predominantly R&B, a young Gaga was fighting in American radios to play her “too electro song” for the time.
But something that always has worked for Gaga, is being consistent.
her “too electro song” (Just Dance) was turning into a sleeper hit.
Slowly, the culture was showing that they’ve been missing dancing properly in the club.
And thus begin the rise of Lady Gaga and at the same time, the rise of a genre that’s been lost for awhile.
But if someone thought that Gaga was only a one-hit-wonder, suddenly «Poker Face» entered the chart...
If «Just Dance» was the sound that changed Gaga’s life, «Poker Face» was the sound that changed the music industry...
But Gaga’s impact was not only musically. Visually and aesthetically, Gaga left her fingerprint right in one of the best performances of all-time: «Paparazzi» live at the VMAs (2009)
The performance that “introduced the world to Lady Gaga”.
But if her worldwide smash hits «Just Dance» and «Poker Face» or her shocking «Paparazzi» performance weren’t enough, then her «Bad Romance» was waiting to be released to eat the whole world.
“Every once in a while, a song, and its accompanying music video, will come along and cause a bit of a stir in the pop culture universe. However, only once in a blue moon does a video become such a talking point that it almost eclipses the song itself”
“Few artists have mastered the story-telling prowess of Gaga in recent history (...) In many ways, Gaga’s work serves as a reintroduction of an artistry which the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and David Bowie founded but which has, recently, become lost in the haze”.
“It offered a glimpse into an entire cinematic world that thrilled and disturbed in equal measure, expanding the possibilities of what a music video could achieve — and challenging other stars TO STEP THEIR GAME UP AT THE SAME TIME”.
“Pause the video at any moment and you’ll probably find yourself starting at something worth dissecting; even the briefest scenes and cutaways could have sustained their own storylines as standalone videos”.
Not just the music, but fashion has also been an important resource... communicate something. «Bad Romance» was, is and will be forever an statement musically, visually and aesthetically.
“Bad Romance was a supernova reminder that there was still so much room to push the art form — and that no one was more game to lead the charge than the free bitch herself, baby”
“Gaga took the old standard for great music videos and set it aflame, then got to work building a new one”.
Gaga’s vision turnt the music videos into cinematic worlds for the new generations who couldn’t be witnesses of Michael Jackson’s and Madonna’s greatness.
Named as the best music video of 2009, 00’s decade and the 21st century, all well deserved.
But such an avant-garde song, must be part of an avant-garde album.
‘The Fame (Monster)’ corrected the course of modern pop music for generations to come.
The ‘yang’ face (The Fame) changed the course of Gaga’s career, but not just for the album itself, but for the air of celebrity she cultivated with her first album, as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘The Fame’ embodied what being famous felt like, even when Gaga herself...
...had not achieved fame until after the album’s release. She strutted into pop culture as a fully-realized star, exuding confidence and prima donna status before even earning public permission to do so. She forced people to turn their heads and wonder if they had missed...
...something: “Who is this person? What is she doing? Has she been here this whole time, or is everyone else just as confused as I am?”
The ‘yin’ face (The Fame Monster) consecrated Gaga’s stardom and took her impact into another dimension, here is where Gaga “raised the standards for ambition in pop”.
She wasn’t afraid to turn old-school Hollywood glamour into something more vampy and campy.
Reintroduced glam-rock theatrics and high-art presentation to the pop mainstream, placing importance on the performance and presentation of a persona as a holistic extension of the music.
Before Gaga came along, few pop musicians were presenting themselves as auteurs in control of a fully unified vision; the glammy and artful presentation of ‘The Fame Monster’ helped to kickstart this trend. Certainly, it didn’t influence on new artists only, but also in veterans.
Lady Gaga reshaped the music world, not only in her sound, but also in her image. The red carpets went from lame denim to a ‘gaga-esque’ style.
Going to an award show was very exhausting since everybody was afraid to be overshadow by Gaga.
Every single, music video, award show, red carpet and even public appearances became an event with Lady Gaga
According to the media, there were these new artists and veterans who made evident the Gaga impact in the scene. Some of them went outrageous, weirder (but sexier), bold or simply took control on their creative process. While others were considered childish and cheap attempts...
...of Lady Gaga, naming it “a bad case of ‘Gaga-itis’” (but we won’t be putting names ‘cause we don’t want to lose the focus of the thread). The thing is that Gaga has always articulated every single detail, everything was well thought-out, had a meaning & purpose (apart from...
...freaking everybody else) and that was the difference between Gaga and the rest.
This is another reasons to explain Gaga’s superstardom and undeniable legacy: She treated pop like art.
With only 1 and a half year of career, Lady Gaga was known by the 80% of the whole population worldwide according to Forbes.
During the past decade, only three women dominated Forbes’ most powerful women in music, with Gaga dominating the #1 spot from 2010-2012
*the other two queens were Beyoncé (2013-2018) and Rihanna (2019)*
In summary, part of Gaga’s legacy is all about bringing back synth-pop and dance music to the mainstream, opening the door to what soon would be the “boom” of the EDM for which Gaga, according to the media, is considered a trailblazer and someone who “walked miles and miles... that the upcoming electro-pop artists could run”.
Gaga brought back artistry and emotion into how a music video should look like and what a live performance should make you feel like, she mixed art, music and fashion from the red carpets to the arenas...
...letting people know that they’ve been sleeping into how music used to be like back in the day.
But a good legacy, it’s not good if you don’t have something to fight for... ‘Born This Way’ was all about synth-pop and controversy.
The single, the album and the tour hit the nerve of so many people, from the conservative occident to orient.
In Malaysia, the song was censored due to its “message of acceptance. It mustn’t be advertised a lifestyle that does not fit with the values of the country”...
...otherwise, people might be fined.
The album was also criticized in the place for its stance to sexuality and feminism.
In Lebanon, the album was temporarily banned by the General Secretary Department, affirming that they would cancel the album release at all cost.
Labeled as satanist, pornograpic and too gay, the Born This Way Ball wasn’t exempt of controversies.
In South Korea, the show was considered way too gay which could affect young people (seems ridiculous since three of the singles went number one in the country)
Religious protesters held a demonstration in front of the Seoul Olympic Stadium, where the concert was held.
Another demonstration took place in Philippines where a group of young christians gathered near the Mall of Asia Arena where Gaga presented her show...
...demanding the cancellation of the show and accusing Gaga of blasphemous.
In Jakarta, Indonesia; Gaga was blamed for “trying to destoy the moral of the nation”, demanding the cancellation of the show as well which ended up with the prohibition of Gaga’s entry in the place.
Another places where Gaga’s concert caused controversy were Russia, Puerto Rico and Thailand (to name a few)
The shows were held under demonstrations, boycotts, sabotages, threats of violence and bombs.
In occident, the song that caused controversy among the conservatives was «Judas» (just like «Alejandro» back in the day) which gained the public disapproval from the Catholic League. The song was also sabotaged by American radios due to be released in Holy Week...
...and its biblical references. It was also banned in Lebanon.
Even so, the album’s positive (yet rebellious) message changed and saved so many lives and made Gaga a queen of queerness, the kind of icon that was missing for this generation.
Diana Ross, Prince, Madonna, David Bowie and Cher, were some of the legends that brought queerness... the past, from radio to radio and stage to stage, Gaga brought back and embraced that queernes, gender roles, camp, dramatic and theatrical style.
According to The Guardian this episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race is a perfect way to understand...
...the impact of Gaga in being a camp queen, an icon to wear, how she embraced and helped to present a culture to a new generation who wasn’t so acquainted to and obviously how well it defines the message behind ‘Born This Way’.
In only three years into her career, Lady Gaga was considered by Rolling Stone and multiple medias “the new Queen of Pop” (which would eventually started a — now over — feud with Madonna)
Not only with the Queen of Pop, but also with Queen Elizabeth II...
And talking about European status, Lady Gaga made it into the Louvre as an exhibition of Robert Wilson’s work called ‘Living Rooms’.
Last year, TIME named Gaga as one of the most influential people in the world, not that she hasn’t been in that ranking before, but what’s something to remark is that this time Gaga was labeled under an “icon” status and not as “singer” like in past editions.
Currently, according to Forbes, Gaga is known by the 88% of the worldwide population, being the 4th most known artist of all-time with only 12 years into her career! She’s very well accompanied in the top 5 along Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyoncé and Britney Spears!
Also: It’s fair shouting out to the “Joanne effect” which according to the media it’s all about electro-pop artists going stripped down pop music with country, glam-rock and folk influences.
They name Kesha, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue as...
Although it hasn’t been in big scale, there’s still space in Gaga’s legacy for a little bit of versatility.
And this is another highlight and remarkable point on Gaga’s legacy: “She’s become a trailblazing genre chameleon”.
Now that we proved we can talk about a (real) legacy which goes beyond number ones and sales, we can look at some of her personal achievements.
The inaugural Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Contemporary Icon Award for attaining an iconic status in pop culture.
First ARTIST to be honored with the CFDA Fashion Icon Award, with only three years into her career.
National Arts Awards’ Young Artist Award, honored to those who’ve shown accomplishments and leadership early in their career.
Honored by the Grammy Museum with Jane Ortner Artist Award for promoting music education aming young people.
First woman ever to win the BAFTA for Best Music Film.
First person to win an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and a Critics Choice the same year.
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