Born this way?…

Was she “Born this Way” or did they made her “this way”?

The video prologue is like science fiction Star Wars and ends up like a pop star hallucination video. “Born this way” is the new Gaga’s single that made me think all about music industry: was she born this way, self tailored for success or is she a industry-made artist? Fans love her erotic role model and critics see her as an iconic reproduction of most famous pop stars…

Inspiration in other artists like Madonna is there, but also David Bowie, Kylie Minogue, Bjork, Britney Spears, Sinead O’Connor, Kiss, but also, Cher, Jane Fonda or Pink and probably many others that I can’t recall now, is easy to find in Gaga’s lyrics, melodies and visual impact. On the other hand, weren’t these also inspired by other artists, genres and music styles? Music is, after all, reinvention, appropriation, remix, mashup, imitation, improvement and, after all, making something new of all that is available and with a specific social and historical moment.

Nevertheless, much has been said about Lady Gaga and she actually sells records all over the world (lots of them, by the way). It’s a musical, social and, why not, economical phenomenon, to be approached through different lenses. Mainly, about business models and branding.

Although I don’t know the real meaning or intention (was there any?…) of these lyrics, my interpretation is that “Born this way, following for instance, Perry’s “Fireworks”, is a song about self-esteem with inspirational lyrics. If Perry’s video has scenes of shy teenagers becoming confident in themselves, Gaga’s corny lyrics of “Born this Way” are all about self empowerment, with a different perspective: it doesn’t matter who or what you are, you can do whatever you want, despite what others might think or say, being a sort of freedom song, as Gaga said. Both have simple, powerful, inspirational words, aren’t brilliant prose but proudly try to excite the glow within every person. And if Perry usually bring together some childhood fantasy references, Gaga’s bizarre music videos are becoming usual. In this case, critics denoted influence of different cultural and artistic movements, as well as copy-cat of former imagery in other pop stars, like Madonna or Michael Jackson.

In fact, Lady Gaga as created a brand, using dramatic cultural and social icons, using all sorts of rituals to feature her supposed beliefs. But she also created the persona, attracting emotional commitment from her fans. And to this, she adds the music. Catchy… Very catchy… The growth of online video streaming helped Gaga’s success and she provides great content to be viewed, as she positions herself as a pop star with an unusual artists artistic profile, mixing references until now, unmixed. She has a great ability to connect with her fan base, her little monsters, who take part in the branding process, making them the purpose of all she does. Mainly these people think they’re different from anyone else. She uses this sense to keep on producing self-empowerment and the need to feel different, since anyone is, today, in relation to million of others just like them. Buzz on her incongruous persona uses social media and mainstream press, talking about her videos and theatrical appearances that are always an item of weirdness. She’s strange, or well, different, but fits the mainstream, using iconic symbols of performing arts and pop culture, making her a sort of androgynous puppet or barbarian android that everyone is today, aware of… But surely, no one was born this way…

  1. Bé Delaunay said:

    Excelente reflexão professora! Made my day!
    Só tenho reservas com o papel de “erotic role model” para os fãs de que fala no primeiro parágrafo: ao contrário de outras artistas a GaGa não vende sensualidade (não poderia com aquele nariz… convenhamos xD), vende um ideal de expressão individual na qual a sua base de apoio se revê. Alias ela já chegou a dizer que os verdadeiros little monsters são cegos aos seus ‘costumes’ já que estes, apesar de toda a atenção mediática que conseguem são somente a materialização deste ideal.

    Reflectindo bem sobre o assunto (como se eu tivesse alguma legitimidade para o fazer) a Lady GaGa não é somente uma performer notável como é um fenómeno que emerge da própria conjuntura actual, uma sociedade individualizada, onde os interesses se estabelecem em rede e onde a musica pop vive um período de revivalismo em relação à sua época de ouro.

    Em suma, mesmo que a sua originalidade ou comercialidade possa ser questionavel, Lady Gaga gives the people what they want e é por isso que não só continua a fazer dinheiro como continua a arrastar multidões.

    Os melhores cumprimentos,
    Bé Delaunay*
    (aka GaGa da Ajuda)

    (P.S. Gostei mesmo deste post, não imagina como é difícil encontrar uma critica valida sobre Lady GaGa com tanta volatilidade elitista que habita na rede)

  2. Paula Cordeiro said:

    Bé!!! Fantástico. Obrigada.
    Uma fã a gostar do meu posto é bom sinal 😉

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