Skip to main content

Gaga Black Sheep?

The beginning of the end for GaGa?
By James Christopher Sheppard

For almost three years now, Lady GaGa has reigned supreme as the multi-million selling iconic pop star of the age. She has launched four of her first six singles to the top of the UK charts, sold over 12 million copies worldwide of her first album The Fame/The Fame Monster and is still on the epically successful and hugely long Monster Ball Tour. Love her or hate her, the success and buzz around everything GaGa does is something quite spectacular. Having produced credible, edgy dance tracks such as ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Paparazzi’ and establishing herself as a vocally gifted musician, as well as writer, the mind boggles when hearing the first two singles released from her new album, the hugely hyped, Born This Way.

In February you’d have been hard pushed not to have heard ‘Born This Way’- the first brand new single from GaGa since ‘Bad Romance’, which hit #1 in December 2009. The difference between these two tracks could not be bigger. ‘Bad Romance’ had edge and originality. It captured people when they heard it for the first time and appealed to a mass audience. ‘Born This Way’ is a very camp disco track, suitable for Eurovision in the 90s. It’s difficult not to start singing Madonna’s 1989 hit ‘Express Yourself’ when listening to ‘Born This Way’. Since shooting to fame, GaGa has recruited an army of very loyal followers, her monsters. These fans are passionately standing up for their icon on forums around the net claiming that everyone wants to see Lady GaGa fail, but that simply is not true. I personally was a fan of her work and found her to be an exceptional performer, until I heard ‘Born This Way’, when my respect began to wane. The video of the song is even worse than the song itself, featuring GaGa as ‘Mother Monster’. All that comes across from the video is a huge amount of deeply unpleasant yonic imagery, an uninventive dance routine and most of all - Lady GaGa’s new God complex. For a song as trashy and throw away as ‘Born This Way’, it is alarming to see the start taking herself so seriously and proclaiming herself to be this God-like figure.

Cut to April and ‘Judas’ hits the airwaves. Just when your respect for Lady GaGa was beginning to decline, it is suddenly whacked full force with a shovel and threatened to be buried forever. What is ‘Judas’ other than a rip off of ‘Bad Romance’, flat and incoherent verses and a chorus that is even more 90s and unremarkable than ‘Born This Way’? It’s as if the superstar is deliberately sabotaging her own success, which maybe she is? The positive message and equality she goes on about all the time, is no bad thing, but people will not listen to what she has to say if she continues to create music that is forgettable and laughable. ‘Born This Way’ did experience success in terms on sales, hitting #1 in the USA for six weeks and #3 in the UK. However, you would expect this from a single that has been hyped for six months and goes on sale before it is even played on the radio. I was at the gym and saw on Itunes on my Iphone that the track was available to buy and so blindly downloaded the single for 99p, having every faith that it would be brilliant. I listened and was quite literally dumbfounded. Fortunately I did not make this mistake with ‘Judas’, and waited to hear the track. It looks as though other people learned from their mistakes too, as ‘Judas’ limped to #9 in the UK chart and #10 in the USA and is currently sitting at #23 and #12 and is falling rapidly in both Itunes charts.

The album, Born This Way, should be a massive hit worldwide, and it no doubt will be the favourite album of the year to however many millions of monsters.  For the rest of us however, it does not look likely that Lady GaGa is on the road to creating another pop classic. I will be listening when it arrives, and I hope I will like it, but from the car crashes of the songs so far, the videos and Lady GaGa’s apparently ever-decreasing sanity, it does not look promising.

James Christopher Sheppard is a London based freelance writer. For more of his music journalism, poetry and blogging, visit his website Intellectual Intercourse.

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…