Thursday, May 13, 2010

Urge overkill

James Parker on Lady Gaga (in The Atlantic):

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, in New York City, she was baptized Gaga by her former songwriting partner Rob Fusari. “We were working one day in the studio,” he told an interviewer, “and Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’ came on, and I was like, ‘You are so Radio Ga Ga.’ So Gaga became her nickname.” “Radio Ga Ga,” released in 1984 (two years before Germanotta’s birth), was a reactionary lament at the dawn of the video age: “We watch the shows, we watch the stars / On videos for hours and hours / We hardly need to use our ears / How music changes through the years.” Oh dear! Pop being Pop, though, the only thing anyone remembers is the futuristically inane chorus: “All we hear is Radio ga ga / Radio goo goo / Radio ga ga / All we hear is Radio ga ga / Radio blah blah …” Lady Blah Blah would have been pretty good, but ga ga, gaga, gaga: a monstrous orality, a tyranny of infantile desire, with the added suggestion of surfeit, overkill, something being gagged on. Perfect.

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