Pop Talk: Top of the lady pops (Swift to Gaga)

Pop Talk: Top of the lady pops (Swift to Gaga)

By Emma Plant
Cat-eyed heroine Taylor Swift is labeled ‘Woman of the Year’ by the American Billboard Charts. That’s a whole lot of woman for such a young songstress. Swift started off as a petite 16-year-old with a voice that soared in popularity upon the release of “Love Story”. More than five years on, she is still petite and her voice is more powerful than ever. Swift has grown up, at least gone through those hard existential crisis years, under the merciless eye of the media. Snaps to Taylor, she has done a dignified job.

From one transformation to another (yes, that’s the segue), we are greeted by Lady Gaga. She literally ‘Ka-Boomed’ into the spotlight and has since suffered a series of very marketable transformations. The latest ‘nom de plume’ she is experimenting with? Bride of the Night. Gaga wants to ‘Marry the night’, at least metaphorically. If you have 13 minutes, Gaga’s new music video is a cinematic journey. Not a pleasant journey, mind you. As the name of the song suggests, "Marry the Night" showcases Gaga’s partiality for all things dark and broody… and Nudy. She doesn’t mind a good old disrobe.

The premise of the new video seems to be Gaga’s self-proclaimed Artisan nature. Clearyl she was born this way and needs to keep reiterating "she is an artiste". Poor world, she keeps turning it on its topsy-turvy head. While this might sound a little facetious, a bit ‘neg’, one can’t help but yawn when said artist keeps trying to be shocking. It actually ends up being a little sad.

The prelude film clip features Gaga as a commentating metal health patient. Post-operation, she whispers to the nurse; “Do you know why I am going to be a star? It is because I have nothing left to live for.”

The distressing thing is, Lady Gaga actually does have things to live for, the priceless things that make a human whole, like love, dignity, integrity and talent. Yet certainly you would feel crap if your dignity was suffering (cite the scene where Gaga is in a naked stupor in her bathtub, coating on copious amounts of hair bleach). Boobs galore, this clip might remind you of an Underbelly episode. Make-up galore, it shouts Fran Fine from the Nanny.

Song-wise, it lacks everything except the shock factor. This is what the Gaga appears to love, though. She is either one of two things (to grossly simplify). She either lacks self esteem and identity and is seeking it through the alias of her celebrity, or she has an abundant amount that allows her to lampoon all other pop stars through paradox. Hard to say. Gaga does say this, though: "It's not that I've been dishonest, it's just that I loathe reality."

At least Gaga has an awareness of her chameleon escapism. In "Marry the Night" she admits to having a heavy-handed role in the direction of the clip (alluding to the song as the story of her past). If this is the case, L.G chooses to portray herself as a messed up Muppet, loving all things dark justified by the claim she is an artist. It kinda seems like a mild mental health disorder in the guise of art. Is that what happens now? Ignore symptoms of pain and disturbance and call it an artistic process. Adding a pop song over the top of some serious visual connotations does not come across as satire, rather cheap attention.

Both Swift and Gagaga (sorry one too many ga’s) have an incredulous amount of influence on pop culture. The Branding of both these women is so successful that their names carry significant weight in the average Joe’s life. As a consequence of this influence, they can actually dictate trends in our everyday living. From popular language, fashion, fragrance to less tangible things likes our attitudes and beliefs. The power of pop is resting heavily on these two ladies’ heads. Perhaps we could use ours for some intelligent, filtering thought.

Emma @ Girl With a Satchel


Scarlett Harris @ The Early Bird Catches the Worm said...

Interesting article, but I have to disagree.
Ironically, Taylor Swift has been named Woman of the Year, when her songs uphold the patriarchy of waiting around for a prince to rescue you; that men "do" and women are just "there". Not to mention she's the ultimate "good girl" who decries bullying and bitches, but slut-shames to the nth degree.
Gaga, on the other hand, may not espouse attitudes that are everyone's cup of tea, but she's all about acceptance, creativity and letting your freak flag fly. You either love her or hate her, but out of the two ladies, I know which one I'd rather young women look up to.