Saturday, March 13, 2010


"Telephone" by Lady Ga Ga & Beyonce: for mature audiences only. Language warning.

Since her meteroic rise to dominate pop hyper-kinetic reality, recording artist and provocateur Lady Ga Ga (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986) has fueled mad rumors and a love/hate relationship with contemporary music fans. "She's an hermaphrodite," said some, in spite of the fact that many of her skimpy outfits leave little doubt that she's genetically female, while others howled that she was just an attention whore, a media manipulator and self-promoter that would make Madonna look like a shy shut-in. Whatever the case is, she has taken the pop world by storm with her glossy, glammy excess and obsessively choreographed dance moves, her over-the-top production values and her mind-numbingly hooky music. Parents hate her, but the kids love her. She's shocking, sexy, and energetic--qualities that have worked since the days of Jurassic Pop.

Thursday night, March 11th, Lady Ga Ga released her most extravagant creation yet, a team effort with superstar Beyonce Knowles entitled "Telephone." Don't let the simple title fool you, this is anything but simple. An exhilarating joyride through a billion pop references, in one fell swoop the supergirls manage to reference the women in prison movie "Caged Heat," the 1960's television series Batman, Michael Jackson, "Thelma and Louise,"Diet Coke, Bettie Page, "Natural Born Killers," "Pulp Fiction," Wonder Woman and of course Madonna. And plenty more, I'm sure.

Terrible and tacky, crazy and slick, but kind of fun. Sure, she goes too far. That's what they said about the Beatles, Elvis and probably even Frank Sinatra when they were fresh out of the chute. Things change. Get used to it. Back in the 5th Century BC, Heraclitus of Ephesus told us we'd never step into the same river twice, but we never listened. Like Gatsby, we believe in the green light of the past, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eludes us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . .we will beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Okay, boaters. Here's the orgiastic future wrapped in a bow. Old folks might be forewarned: take a couple Dramamine with your usual meds before pushing the "play" buttom. This is a pop roller-coaster, and you might feel giddy or scared or even slightly nauseous as you climb that rickety first hill over this seedy amusement park...but then you're suddenly over the top.

Gaudy? Tacky? Fun?

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