Judas, when it was released yesterday, I knew that my longstanding love for the once-inspiring music icon was officially dead. The Gaga I knew and loved, the ever-evolving, artistic pop star, is gone, and I'm afraid she's not coming back.
Flash back to 2008: Gaga's first debut, Just Dance, captivates the nation. From her unique sound (not autotuned - imagine that) to her crazy style, over-the-top performances and shameless dance moves, we fell in love with a girl who prided herself on being different. We grew tired of the classic, belly-baring pop stars and Gaga was exactly what we were looking for.
Then came Poker Face, and my personal favorite, Paparazzi. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I sang, listened to and played (guitar, piano) this song every day for three months straight. My friends hated me for it, but I couldn't stop - I was obsessed. Who wouldn't be after her monumental MTV Video Music Awards performance in 2009?
During that VMA performance, Gaga stole my heart. She sounded amazing, kept the audience on their toes the entire time and provided us with actual artistic content (the blood at the end symbolizing how love wore her down). I still get the the chills when I watch this performance today.
Next came Alejandro, Telephone and Bad Romance, and then my other favorites that never made it to the top of the charts: Paper Gangster, Dance in the Dark, So Happy I Could Die, Teeth, etc. Between the controversy she caused with the Alejandro video, her amazing collaboration with Beyoncé and unique sound in Bad Romance, she continued to impress us with her out-of-the-box artistry and unique sound. In a world of over-tanned Hollywood "icons"and pointless reality television, Gaga made us think. She never failed to surprise us and continuously reinvent her musical vision.
So let's compare. Aside from the fact that her recently released Born this Way single failed slightly to live up to her unique musical standards, her 2011 Grammy's performance simply cannot compare to the above Paparazzi performance. At all.
And now Judas comes to light. Sure, it's catchy. But HELLO? It's the American version of Alejandro - laced with religious references, girl falls in love with sinful guy, knows she shouldn't love him but does anyway, etc. Nothing new, nothing out there, nothing to make us think.
Lady Gaga has become a victim of her own making - as she's becoming a pop icon in the eyes of the world, she's losing her originality and spunk as an artist. Of course, she'll still be different than any other artist, but she's not reinventing herself anymore - she's recreating what she's already done.
Don't get me wrong, I think Gaga is one of the most talented artists out there. It's refreshing as someone with a strong musical background to see an artist that can truly sing, play piano and dance - someone who's talent is deserving of the spotlight. But as an artist, she's set the bar too high to go back now. She'll either have to turn this around, or just consider herself another Hollywood pop star.
What do you think?
j.cole (disappointed Gaga fanatic)