Thursday, 18 February 2010
The Fame Monster
So it’s official – Lady Gaga joins my list of great artists. We’ve been sharing a car whilst I drive out to the wilds of Berkshire every day doing some contract work and I can’t even contemplate sharing with anyone else. It may be that ‘The Fame Monster’, a strange 8 track sort-of album, is just damn good car music but I can’t seem to get enough of it on those long motorway hauls.
After her fabulous debut, ‘The Fame’ I was waiting for the burn out on the second album, but if anything, ‘The Fame Monster’ is better, more assured and more hook laden than a fisherman’s rucksack. I’m not really one for dance music but somehow I seem to be addicted to Lady Gaga and here’s why: She’s not what she seems. Behind the kooky, cutting edge fashion conscious image is an old fashioned musician. Here’s why.
She sings. This might sound obvious as she has a half decent voice and makes the most of it but consider this: her most recent single, ‘Telephone’ features her along side mega-property Beyoncé and it is very revealing. Put side by side in the same song, it becomes clear that Ms Knowles is very firmly based in the tough modern R&B mould where vocal lines are part sung part rapped but Lady G doesn’t follow. She sings her lines and in doing so sounds like a throwback to a different age – she just can’t help it.
She sings The Blues. More than anything she is an old fashioned blues singer and has more in common with Janis Joplin than Madonna or Britney Spears. Have a listen to her heart-felt ballad ‘Speechless’ written about her father or ‘Again Again’ or even her acoustic variations of her own songs. Her songs are often blues-tinged but she wraps them up in the modern dance idiom to appeal to today’s audience. However, you can’t help feeling that she would make one helluva blues singer.
She writes structured songs. In these days of studio creation, traditional song writing skills are taking a bit of a battering but Lady G is a song-crafter. She writes with an appreciation of the rules of song structure and then breaks them to great effect. Again ‘Telephone’ is a great example of how to stretch a bridge passage to breaking point.
So when it comes to Lady Gaga – don’t believe the hype. She’s just and old fashioned girl with an old fashioned mind…and an old fashioned millionaire (allegedly).