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Grace Jones Begins Feud With Lady Gaga

Grace Jones Begins Feud With Lady Gaga

Grace Jones loves courting controversy and provoking all who come in her path—just check out her outrageous flirting in this recent interview published on the Quietus. Now, Jones has set her sights on Lady Gaga, whom she believes owes a sizable debt to her trailblazing ways.

 

"I've seen some things she's worn that I've worn, and that does kind of piss me off," Jones said in an interview with the Guardian. Gaga has apparently requested to work with Jones. "I just don't play with other acts as a rule," Jones responded. “I'd just prefer to work with someone who is more original and someone who is not copying me, actually."

 

Gigwise has offered this comprehensive summary of everyone who has dissed Gaga in recent times—although it’s difficult not to think that she must be doing something right if that much bile has been aimed in her direction. "I wouldn't go to see her,” said Jones, when asked if Gaga had any talent. Ouch.

 

[via The Guardian]

 

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Grace Jones
Lady GaGa

Sounds about right...

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brandon/216_browser_clut.gif brandon

Surely part of the vitriol directed at Gaga is sour grapes, but there's a lot of truth in what's being said about her. She doesn't sound nearly as interesting as she looks, and the outfits are sometimes interesting, sometimes catastrophic, but sometimes ripped straight out of the closets of other stars. Not a good batting average.
Nothing she does is as interesting, artistic, or original as she would have us believe, and her average fan usually isn't old enough or storied enough in the timeline of pop music to parse out the more obvious sources of her swaggerjacking. What irks me the most about her is her idea that whatever it is that she does for a living is art and not artifice, that she's not just a tool for promoting good capitalist consumption.
We could do better than Lady Gaga. She's basking in the spotlight while true innovators languish in relative obscurity by comparison, watching from the sidelines as she repackages their ideas into smaller, more palatable packages to regurgitate out to the masses. Gaga is the TV dinner of pop music, slightly familiar, marginally tasty, but totally empty.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Damn dude. You brought it there. Totally agree, too.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

True innovators almost always languish in obscurity though. That's how pop works. Gaga's just doing what Bowie and Madonna have done in the past - bringing marginal ideas to the masses by making them palatable.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/nick/461770063_f6a8d92e3a_s.jpg nick

Madonna and Bowie knew their way around a brilliant tune in their heyday. And they were nebulous, you never knew what guises they would assume next or where the music would take you. Gaga, however, is no match. I spent a lot of time with The Fame, and it's not that good. She brings that same brash musical theater yawp to every track. Her ear for melody is lackluster. Her ideas are pilfered. She's a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox. The picture loses a little resolution with every copy.

I could almost stand it if her fans didn't act like she was the second freaking coming when they spoke of her. The "Telephone" video was treated like a major musical event. The song sucks! The video's a ten minute infomercial! What's worse is that she gets all these glowing write ups in the press. Music critics should've been the first line of defense against this chick. I feel like the emperor has no clothes, and I can see it, but no one else can. Gaga makes me miss the Real McCoy and Ace of Base and their ilk. That's what level she's on musically. Nah, you know what? Real McCoy had better songs.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

/\ hahahahaha

So good.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Al/batmulletjpg.jpg Al

the only fault i can find in longestwinter's brilliant, spot-on critique is that he seems to accept the music on its face as music. gaga is nothing short of guy debord's spectacle personified, and her songs are basically window dressing. to take them seriously is to giver her too much credit, since "good capitalist consumption" is exactly what she's about. it's marketing, greased with slick shock-value, and it's the shocking aspect that grabs her the notoriety to overshadow other, less obviously horrible plastic pop. sadly, i think the idea that critics could have been a firewall against this is wishful thinking...when has the critical vanguard ever been able to turn back a fusillade of compelled consumption?

but let's look at it from a slightly different, perhaps unduly rose-tinted perspective. gaga's bag of tricks is limited; human society has outgrown most of its prudish mores and retains little capacity for "moral" shock, and each time gaga employs a new outrage she is further depleting her already nearly-spent arsenal of spectacle. at some point we'll be inured (or just plain numb) to the shock, and the likes of lady gaga will no longer monopolize the zeitgeist.

and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/friendofmodernmusic/austin2jpg.jpg jj!

If she was an animal, she'd be a fox. In France, she'd be called Le Renard, and all she'd have to protect her is her cunning.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

@jj!

What I meant about the press being the first line of defense was that usually we're more, well, critical of such blatant hero worship in new(er) artists. For some reason though, by and large, the press handles Gaga with kid gloves; she doesn't get taken to task. Either we're really glad people are buying records, regardless of whose face is on 'em, or our taste is more conventional on average than we'd like to think. Tell you what, though, this recent backlash wave has everything to do with Gaga's love affair with the music press.

Fascinating point about the songs being window dressing though. My music-centric worldview treats pop stars as musicians first. If Gaga's got another agenda where the music plays a smaller part, that makes her more understandable of a phenomenon, though no less grating. It frames the hack songwriting, anyhow.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Regarding the music, I think The Fame was about half good/half bad, with a fantastic set of singles. And I love 'Bad Romance' too. I don't care if that makes my taste 'conventional', I have a lot of time for music that could be considered that way. But I love plastic pop, xeroxes of xeroxes, theatrical yelps, fans acting like artists are the second coming, and lots and lots of window dressing. If you're wondering why the press is so enthusiastic about her, you only need to look back on the identikit Cowell-powered pop landscape that prevailed prior to her rise.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/nick/461770063_f6a8d92e3a_s.jpg nick

@longestwinter
i'd wager that gaga's transgressiveness was a kind of permission for the critical establishment to treat her with kid gloves...she sells lots of records and she upsets the squares, and thus the benefit of the doubt is given.
that would probably be sufficient explanation, but i'd also argue that the depoliticization of "undergound" culture in the aughts (and how that occurred concomitant with the mainstreaming of the so-called "underground") has had a significant role to play in the gaga phenomenon specifically and critical acceptance of her ilk generally. i really respect assessing music purely in terms of music as an ideal, but i also think that kind of "music-centric worldview" makes it difficult to come to terms with the reality of music as a commodity, especially with regards to pop stars.
@nick
thanks for raising the obvious elephant in the room. some people like plastic pop, and generally people like spectacle (that was the premise for much of debord's situationist criticism). i think you're dead on in pointing to the general blandness of idol-era pop in relation to lady gaga, and i also think this plays back into her shock value appeal. but let's set that aside...i'm curious to find out what someone who enjoys "xerox theatre" thinks about the commercial (in terms of product placement) elements of gaga's shtick.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/friendofmodernmusic/austin2jpg.jpg jj!

Are you talking specifically about the 'Telephone' video, or in general? I can't remember any other incidents of her using product placement, but I could be wrong about that. Generally speaking I don't think product placement works very well with Gaga, primarily because a big part of her schtick is sucking you into her world, and seeing Virgin Mobile products (or whatever) detracts from that. I'm actually not sure she does have much shock value appeal. Is anyone really 'shocked' by Gaga, outside of desperate tabloid headline writers?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/nick/461770063_f6a8d92e3a_s.jpg nick

you're right, i'd say fewer and fewer are genuinely shocked, but those things that generate the tabloid headlines have contributed to the total "world" she's created: the outfits she wears (and doesn't wear), ridiculous rumors like "lady gaga has a penis," etc. i was thinking of the 'telephone' video specifically, but that was in part the culmination of numerous endorsement deals gaga has signed, i don't think it's a stretch to argue that she's clearly commercialized herself...it strikes me that this would also be part of her overarching "world," but i think the fact that you find it disruptive is key. we're comfortable with our artists being spokespeople, but the 'telephone' video at least suggests there's still a line somewhere, and that it's not so much the artist crossing it as it is that we the audience don't like being forced to cross it.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/friendofmodernmusic/austin2jpg.jpg jj!

I enjoy the ephemera of pop, so someone who turns up to interviews in Kermit the Frog outfits, wears cigarettes as sunglasses, and generates acres of column inches about potentially having a dick is vastly appealing to me. Her endorsement deals don't bother me per se - I'd expect it from someone in her position - it's just how they are handled and integrated that could use a little more attention, at least if the 'Telephone' video is anything to go by.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/nick/461770063_f6a8d92e3a_s.jpg nick

Agreed. She makes a good think piece, and I rather enjoy some of the outfits. "Bad Romance" will go down as the guilty pleasure of 2010 for me. Btw, I wasn't saying you had conventional taste earlier. If anything that would be a knock against me as well, since Last fm dictates we have nearly the exact same musical tastes.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

I came to this thread late unfortunately, but I think a lot of the critics (in general, not just here) who have all of this ire for her aren't really sure how to listen to current, top 40 pop.
Mainstream pop isn't really about "artistic merit" whatever that means, it's about studying artifice. It's about watching someone manipulate an audience, and not the audience at the Whitney Biennial or the DIY shows Damon Dash has in his basement. It's about manipulating the girls in Ugg boots and sororities, the dudes in Croqs and sports bars. If you're not thinking about pop music in the context of manipulating the middle 50% of those who consume music, you're thinking about it wrong.
The argument that Lady Gaga is "bad" because she's derivative isn't really serious, is it? There's a thread on I Love Music called "At this point in time, is it possible to be a rock band Not derivatve?" (http://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=41&threadid=73429) and every single response is a joke because the obvious answer has got to be that if you make popular music in the 21st century, at least some elements of your work are going to be derivative and someone is always going to pick those out as a reason to dislike you.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mattycakes/Kate+Bush.jpg mattycakes

Of course, of course the majority of her fans think she's some genius pop artiste, but that's what they're supposed to think. I love Lady Gaga and i think her love of Andy Warhol is so obviously high-school-freshman it's laughable. Does she really read the same book by Rainer Maria Rilke everyday? Of course she doesn't, it's complete bull. But that doesn't mean she's just a "tool for promoting capitalist consumption," which is again, a seriously lame complaint. Pretty much every artist who's ever signed to a major label ever is a "tool for promoting capitalist consumption."

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mattycakes/Kate+Bush.jpg mattycakes

The weirdest element of the discussion on this thread, and a sure sign of triumph on the part of Lady Gaga's project, is that you all are discussing her as if she's comparable to Madonna and David Bowie, when in fact "Just Dance" didn't hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 until the beginning of 2009. Listen to "True Blue" or "Borderline." Are you really prepared to tell me that either of those songs has that much more merit than "Bad Romance" or "Paparazzi"? Lady Gaga is a recording artist still very very much in the beginning of her career, and it's safe to say that any assessments of her overall worth at this point are premature, like dismissing Madonna cause you didn't like "Holiday."
And the undeniable fact is that she's far, far more interesting than her contemporaries. Beyonce is completely without personality other than "attractive Christian lady who's married to Jay-Z and sings good," and Rihanna has been doing a far more paltry Grace Jones impression for the last year and a half.
Also, there's at least one instance of product placement in each of her videos except Beautiful Dirty Rich, and I'm pretty sure that at this point it's intentional.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mattycakes/Kate+Bush.jpg mattycakes

Lady Gaga makes pop music, she's not writing symphonies and collaborating with Andrea Bocelli. It's pop you know?

And for her category she sings, plays piano, song writes, and has some artistic background. Which is a lot more than people can say about other pop tarts. That along with the fact that today in most mainstream music people come and go without you even memorizing there faces and Lady Gaga has carved out her space in music and she's made it pretty clear she's not leaving.

Andre

lady gaga is not original and I'm glad people are calling her out, she's getting on everyone's nerves and people are getting sick of the media praising her to the skies and trying to put her on the level of Michael Jackson, she's doing nothing new!

Jim

I have to agree with mattycakes. The GaGa is at the beginning here and time will tell if she can survive the brutality of the business. Her greatest artistic accomplishment may be her ability to stay beautifully interested in her musical growth as the years go by.

WalterT3

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