Archive for the ‘pop’ tag
This is actually better than the versions from which it borrows:
This is not your grandfather’s Austin City Limits:
Get this now and contemplate the point at which modern rock/alternative jumped the tracks … ’cause these guys manned the wheel for three decades.
I’m not always one to trumpet child, or even teenage, actors or musicians and the like, since they usually flame out well before their voice breaks, but this kid, Greyson Chance, manages to take a rather run-of-the-mill glam pop, dance track and actually puts some power and emotion behind it. After his recent appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, and one can only imagine, more upcoming appearances, he’s most certainly going to catch the eye of some producer with his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” His vocal control and maturity at that age is absolutely remarkable. And the vocal thrust he puts toward the end was, to me, powerful and in a way, a little Thom Yorke-esque (If one listens to early performances of “Creep” from the early 90s), and far more musically intriguing than Lady Gaga’s version.
Here is the original video from a school talent show:
And here is the video from his recent appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, which I think may be even stronger than the prior performance. Do yourself a favor and skip the goofy dialogue at the beginning and forward to about the 5:30 minute mark.
Pop, real Pop, is a white-hot blank. It sizzles into materiality in the form of this body or that body, this voice or that voice; it drapes itself in allusions, symbols, trinkets, scraps of dazzlement. It can enter the world in triumph, with a bang, in a flash of beauty; or sordidly and crappily, filtering from the ceiling speakers of a Taco Bell or glimpsed on a screen through somebody’s lonely apartment window, a dismal flickering. It seeps into conversations, your everyday chitchat—“Did you hear …?” “Have you seen …?”—and you talk about it as if under a compulsion, like a sleepwalker, the syllables strange on your tongue. Plenty to say about Pop (although it repels intelligent commentary)—about its shapes and styles and so on. But always, always, at the core, an ecstatic and superheated Nothing.
The column, in itself, makes the case that Lady Gaga is at once, empowering and “eviscerating” the institution of pop (and herself?), that has, (my words here) grown ever more glamish, yet somehow disheveled, since the New Kids on the Block first belched those words, “Hangin’ Tough” in the 1980s. Like Gaga, Kurt Cobain, of course, was well aware of how the entertainment business had the potential, and his case, did, chew him up and spit him out. We get the foreshadowing in his “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which I would contend, single-handedly delivered the death of hard rock in its pre-alternative form:
And I forget just why I taste. Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile. I found it hard, it’s hard to find the will, whatever, nevermind.
Or, for Cobain, maybe it was the ever-gnawing stomach pains, or a combination of other ills, that precipitated his end.
But should the fame make you really-truly famous—well, then you’ve got problems. Glare and shutter-whizz, the fan’s gaze weaponized: hiss the word … paparazzi. “Amidst all of these flashing lights,” moaned Gaga operatically at last year’s Video Music Awards, sprawled upon the stage, “I pray the fame won’t take my liiiiiife.” It was a prelude to her song “Paparazzi,” and within a few minutes she was spurting fake blood from her chest and being hoisted aloft in a mock hanging. In 1992, Kurt Cobain, amid much speculation about his mental and physical health, had himself wheeled onstage for Nirvana’s set at the Reading Festival, a hunched, averted figure in a white lab coat and platinum wig. Very Gaga, in retrospect. She too, in performance, will take to her wheelchair, or stagger along with a crutch—she has appropriated the arsenal of debility, of meltdown, train wreck, and personal disaster, as part of her style.
Parker, near the conclusion of the article then references Madonna, who was, or is, nothing if she isn’t a pop star. Yet, Gaga has gone a step further:
Gaga is post-Madonna and therefore freer: bandaged in yellow police tape or pounding at the piano with one leg up on the keyboard, she fears no trespass on her dignity. There’s nothing in Madonna’s videography comparable to the John Waters–esque sequence at the end of Telephone, in which a mass poisoning is perpetrated and fried food falls in lumps from people’s mouths. What does it mean, the image of an aproned Gaga turning a diner into a vomitorium? It means gaga, it means gagging, it means nothing. Or rather, right now, somehow, it means Pop. And who will be post-Gaga? Nobody. She’s finishing it off, each of her productions gleefully laying waste to another area of possibility. So let’s just say it: she’s the last Pop star. Après Gaga, the void.
You know, MTV can’t make up for 12 months of non-music with three hours one night out of the year (i.e. the VMA’s). MTV is no longer qualified to make judgments on music.