herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Warhol would have been proud of gaga

Lady Gaga Artpop (Interscope)

SHE'S vulgar, loud and brash. All the attributes considered essential for modern-day celebrity.

Not since Andy Warhol first donned his silver wig, once described as "a flattened jellyfish, a splayed broom, an apology", has someone hijacked the concept of good taste in such spectacular style.

But even in a society where tastelessness has become a valued commodity, Lady Gaga is guaranteed to upset.

Sure Madonna displayed her naked bottom and Prince ... well, less said the better. But Stefani Germonatta, an uptown girl who went downtown to find salvation, quickly cornered the market in the shock tactics of shameless self-publicity.

outstripped

In a world where aspirational self-styled performance artists are ten-a-penny, Ms Germonatta quickly outstripped, in some ways literally, the chasing pack.

Her self-prophesising debut album The Fame from five years ago has sold more than 15m copies. Born This Way has sold six million in two years.

On her third studio album Gaga is back asking: "Do you want to see me naked, lover?" Not particularly shocking. But the character who's asking also says: "Do you want to see the girl behind the burqa?" In some parts of the world people have been shot for less. The backing is standard banging electro fare with a warped banghra-style twist. While it's rather jolly, Lady Gaga insists she's being serious in presenting a set of songs that have a conceptual core. "I had to do that was almost impossible for me," she declares.

attraction

If that means sounding like Madonna then she hits it on Venus. However, the cheeky Sexxx Dreams, in which Gaga proposes a fling with a girlfriend while her boyfriend's away, has a cold, dead-eyed attraction few performers could achieve or even aim for.

Describing pop music as "junk food", Gaga says she's attempting to offer something with more substance. So R Kelly guests on the lubricious Do What You Want (with my body).

But overall the lady's 15 Artpop assemblages have a disposable factor similar to the output of Warhol's Factory.

If you like fun, that's something to celebrate.

HHHII

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