Tag Archive | "Lady GaGa"

Sex and Music Videos

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In the late 1950’s, the phrase “subliminal advertising” was coined and popularized by market researcher James Vicary.  Vicary claimed that by quickly flashing messages on a screen at a Fort Lee, New Jersey movie theater, he had influenced people to purchase more food and beverage items from its concession area.  His assertion, later recanted, was that during the presentation of the movie Picnic, he projected the words “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat popcorn” for 1/3000th of a second at five-second intervals and that as a result sales of Coca-Cola and popcorn in the theater increased by 18.1% and 57.8% respectively during the test period.

Since that time, many studies of subliminal messaging have been completed and a good deal of speculation has been aired regarding its viability and application in everything from beneficial self-improvement programs to nefarious government mind control agendas.  Yet, despite extensive research, the effectiveness of subliminal messages and advertisements in producing desired results consistently has been dubious.

Unlike its subliminal counterpart, overtly sexual advertising is a proven commodity, a fact that has not been lost on today’s entertainment moguls and celebrities.   Today’s entertainment industry is so highly sexually-charged that one wonders whether true talent – whether in acting or singing ability – is actually a requirement for stardom.

Undoubtedly, Lady Gaga is a talented singer.  Yet, absent her burlesque-like performance style and attire, I doubt that her notoriety would have grown as widely or quickly as it has.  Even performers formerly considered wholesome like Miley Cyrus have learned the lesson that to increase sales they must reduce clothing.

A casual perusal of music videos will demonstrate the degree to which open sexuality and sexual symbolism is employed to pique the interest of an increasingly voyeuristic public.  For that reason, I was amused when the publicist for UK pop star Eliza Doolittle emailed me the link to her latest video “Skinny Genes.”  The song is pleasant enough in a cutesy, juvenile way, but the video is a series of sexual innuendos suggestive of human anatomical features and sexual acts and fetishes.  I stopped counting the sexual symbols when I reached double figures.

Take a look at the video and, if you are so moved, leave a comment regarding the sexual symbolism you can identify in it. 


Too Lame for Prime Time

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Miley Cyrus and/or her management team are taking a page from Lady Gaga.  Undoubtedly impressed by the notoriety that the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta has gained (recently ranked #7 in the Forbes “Powerful Women” list), they’ve decided that the best way to increase the artist’s public profile is to reduce the amount of clothing she wears.


The sexually-charged music video of the celeb adored by young teen girls as Hannah Montana comes on the heels of her 2009 Teen Choice Awards pole-dancing performance that many thought was inappropriate. As was the case in ’09, her new video has been blasted by parent groups.


Yet, as an objective observer, I believe that today’s youth are exposed to much more highly-sexualized content in most prime time television programming than in either Cyrus performance.  In fact, I found the recent video of her song “Who Owns My Heart” to be almost laughable (can Miley dance?).  Find out for yourself in the video below. 


Aghast over GaGa!

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Lady GaGa is at it again!  The celeb who seems to cause controversy wherever she goes is embroiled in yet another hullabaloo:  this time with Beatles’ fans.


The picture above shows the entertainer whom some have labeled as “Hot Tits” for her use of an exploding brassiere during a recent performance (see image at right) seated at the piano of former Beatle and music legend John Lennon.


The photo, posted by John’s son Sean on Twitter, became an immediate cause célèbre among die-hard lovers of the Fab Four – inciting streams of negative and highly critical comments.  In the photo, Lady GaGa, wearing fishnet stockings and a skin-tight body suit, is playing the piano that John Lennon gave as a gift to his wife Yoko Ono.


Why the simple act of playing the icon’s piano should inspire such outrage among Lennon fans is a mystery to this writer.  Perhaps, they believe Lady GaGa unworthy of comparison to the late founder of what is arguably the most influential musical group in the history of the world.


Yet, Lennon like the Lady was hardly renowned for his musical or vocal brilliance.  Lennon was an incomparable song writer whose songs laid bare his soul, and Lady GaGa has achieved fame for, well, baring her body.  Other than that, they both are musical celebrities.


I will, however, let you be the judge.



Salvatore Goes Gaga!

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Renowned fashionista and modern-day glam rocker, Lady Gaga, has attracted the attention of audiences worldwide with her outrageous outfits and sexually-charged performances.  While most of her fans are teenagers and young adults, she has no bigger fan than 16-month old Salvatore whose favorite song is Bad Romance.  If 20th century American poet William Stafford is correct that kids “dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music,” then young Sal is a perfect example – as the video below demonstrates.

Going GaGa

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The performer known today as Lady GaGa began her life as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City.  Of Italian heritage, she was the first child welcomed by Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta.  At the age of 11, having demonstrated a talent for music, her parents considered enrolling her in the prestigious Julliard School of Music in the city of her birth.  Tradition won out and instead, Stefani entered the Convent of the Scared Heart, a private Roman Catholic school, which would prove to have little influence upon her.

Shortly after her thirteenth birthday, the singer with the stoic stage presence wrote her first piano ballad and unveiled it at local talent shows.  Four years later, New York University’s Tisch School of Arts accepted her into their music program, where she improved her songwriting skills.  At the age of 19, she opted out of the program to focus on her career rather than her studies.

Striking out on her own, she performed in clubs on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with Mackin Pulsifer and the SG Band. With a repertoire that highlighted burlesque and a lifestyle that embraced drug abuse, the girl scandalized her father and turned her nose up at her Catholic school education.

Nicknamed GaGa by music producer Rob Fusari in honor of the Queen song, Radio Ga Ga, Stef adopted Lady GaGa as her stage name.   In 2007, she teamed up with Lady Starlight for gigs in New York’s downtown clubs, where the duo was billed as Lady GaGa and the Starlight Revue. Promoting themselves as “The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rock Show,” the pair performed a tribute to variety acts of the 1970’s.  They went on to earn high accolades for their performance at the Lollapalooza music festival.

Finding her niche, Lady GaGa incorporated the music of David Bowie and Queen into her mix, thereby joining the scores of the uninventive claiming to “sample” other artists’ music when in truth, they rip it off.  She also claimed Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Brittany Spears as influences.  Discovered by producer-singer-songwriter and former car thief Akon at Interscope Records, she inked a joint deal with Jim Iovine and Akon’s label, Kon Live Distribution, where Akon dubbed her his franchised player.  Lady GaGa began using her own material to launch her debut album with producer RedOne.  Boys, Boys, Boys was the first song that they produced.

In 2008, she relocated to Los Angeles to finalize her debut album, The Fame.  Its urban tracks combined Def Leppard-like drums with metallic handclaps.  GaGa also collaborated with a collective, called the Haus of GaGa, which selected her clothing, or lack thereof, as well as stage sets and sounds (so much for musical artistry).  The Fame received positive reviews from Metacritic and was described by Times Online as “fantastic.” The CD achieved #1 status in Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland, netting worldwide sales of three million copies. 

Following her success in foreign markets, the Haus of GaGa’s image mavens focused on U.S. audiences.  They double billed GaGa on her first concert tour with her label mates, the newest incarnation of New Kids on the Block (who aren’t kids, by a long shot).  The tour that ran for approximately two months (from October 8th to late November, 2008) led to The Fame Ball Tour of North America.  This kicked off in March 2009 to critical acclaim.  In the immortal words of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, “There is no accounting for some people’s tastes.”

On her World Domination Tour, GaGa opened for the Pussycat Dolls in the U.K. and Australia, where she was well received. One reviewer claimed that she upstaged the headliners. As the Dolls’ chief claim to fame is not their vocalizing but their soft porn stage gyrations, this speaks volumes for GaGa’s performance.  In fact, GaGa’s MTV “Love Game” was banned from Australia’s Network 10 for its sexually explicit imagery.  It’s good to see that there are some morals and musical taste alive somewhere in the world.

GaGa also appeared semi-nude on the May 2009 cover of Rolling Stone’s Hot 100, thus joining the myriad near-bare bods, male and female, that have graced those covers since the early ’90’s.  In that issue, she stated that early in her career, she fell in love with a heavy metal drummer in a New York club, who served as her inspiration while writing music in her later years. She also stated that she was bi-sexual and is inspired by beautiful women.  This revelation makes her male friends uncomfortable and me somewhat doubtful, remembering when Elton John referred to himself as bisexual before stepping fully out of the closet.  In the same interview, GaGa insisted, “I am not using the gay community to look edgy. I’m a free sexual woman and I like what I like.”

After many tours, Lady GaGa received nine accolades at the MTV Video Music Awards.  These include Video of the Year, Best Female Artist, Best Pop Video for Poker Face, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, and Best Art Direction for Paparazzi.  Following her appearance at the Royal Variety Performance in London earlier this year, she had the honor of meeting Queen Elizabeth II.  I would have paid to have been a fly on that wall.

A far cry from her modest upbringing, the former Stefani Germanotta embodies an old Italian saying used to discuss one’s children.  “Almeno lei non fuma” translates as “At least she doesn’t smoke.” 

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