Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm excited. But also scared and afraid of disappointment.

GaGa: Verdict

Saturday, April 10, 2010

OK, so I didn't enjoy GaGa. This is either because my stadium pop tour expectations are high, as a function of my intelligence and evolved aesthetics, or because I am now old. Old things first: it was just too loud. So loud that a) my eyes were uncontrollably blinking to the rhythm, b) the sound horribly distorted into a deafening scream, and c) I was indeed somewhat deaf after the show, and well into the next morning. Does it make me old to want my hearing? Possibly, but not necessarily erroneously.

It wasn't just my extreme age dulling my enjoyment. Basically, it wasn't a great show. Or, rather, it wasn't a show great enough to match the truly great things GaGa is doing in every other sphere - her clips, visual imagery, appearances etc. Because the production was merely mediocre, everything seemed slightly duller than one would expect: her costumes weren't nearly as interesting or avant garde as her award show costumery, the imagery seemed timid compared to her clips and there was the distinct scent of mediocre American pop stadium tour hanging in the air - or maybe that had seeped into the walls after Britney let off her giant mediocre stink bomb a few months back.

It wasn't so much that GaGa was mediocre, but the production surrounding her was cheap and clunky. Rather than seamless costume changes, curtains were dropped between sets. The stage seemed straight out of Dracula's theatre restaurant. The dance troupe veered awfully close to Britney stumbling around the stage. There were pyrotechnics. And oh so many guitars. Annoyingly, what made this mediocrity even more obvious were the flashes of genius scattered throughout - mostly in the pre-recorded GaGa imagery - that teased you with how the show could have been. Stark (to use my favourite pop word), adventurous, and musically aligned to dance rather than Jacko's big-haired guitar drones (who seemed to have been cloned and released on stage, in a slightly dazed manner). Basically I wanted a show put together by Haus of GaGa but what I got was a show put together by (I assume) merely average touring veterans.

What I should keep in mind though is that even while the Monster Ball Tour was being put together, GaGa was evolving at a fast pace. I just don't think the scope of the show, as it was conceived at that point in time, could handle how awesome, and artistically adventurous, she's gone on to become. In future she needs to put Haus of GaGa in charge of everything, and conjure the anal perfectionism of Kylie's creative team. That would then create the perfect arena spectacular.
Monday, April 5, 2010

Gabriella Cilmi has blindsided me with this. I sort of liked Sweet Like Me until it was played to death, and until I got the vaguest sense that she was just a little bit annoying. But On a Mission has really grown on me. I think musically it's a backward step, but the very fact it sounds so regressive makes it fun.

The bizarre thing is that with the first album Cilmi had instantly captured the kind of international sound that most Australian artists strive for. But with this (not having heard the album), it sounds so Australian, in the S2S vein -- polished but banal. And so trashy. I think she deserves some credit for presenting just a little bit of Chapel Street to the world...