I have countless friends who describe themselves as 'cynical,' and they're all wrong. True cynics would never classify themselves as such, because it would mean that they know their view of the world is unjustly negative; despite their best efforts at being grumpy, a self-described cynic is secretly optimistic about normal human nature.This and "every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less" are two of my favorite quotes in the book - the "power struggle" being one of my favorite ever - not only because they're 100% correct, but that they're honest - and essentially so is Chuck Klosterman.
Anyways, the first one is relevant here because, change it around and it works for music snobs (some of my least favorite people on the planet):
I have countless friends who describe themselves as 'music snobs,' and they're all wrong. True music snobs would never classify themselves as such, because it would mean that they know their view of music is unjustly pretentious; despite their best efforts at being grumpy, a self-described music snob is secretly optimistic about the world of music, pop music in particular.I am not a music snob. I like a lot of music, and I hate a lot of music. Many have not heard of some of my favorite bands, but they're not obscure, post-modern-uber-metal-pre-ironic 1970s German quartets or something - in other words, many have heard of those same bands as well. As a music lover, I seek out music beyond the mainstream because I simply don't think a lot of mainstream music is good, and while I may roll my eyes at others' musical tastes, it's because top 40 alt-country music, for example, truly does suck - and I think people who listen to it are either just not that into music (which is fine), stupid (ignorance is bliss) or too lazy to search out good stuff (inexcusable). And for the record, I said "top 40 alt-country" - not just country - for a reason. Country music can be fantastic.
I feel about popular music the same way Anthony Bourdain feels about mass produced foodstuff. I think it is, basically, evil. Not because of the whole "giant corporations are evil and are taking over our lives" thing, though that surely doesn't help. But simply because it doesn't taste that good and you feel like shit after you eat it. If fresher, better quality ingredients tasted the same as stale, shitty ingredients than so be it, fuck all that free range, organic, local, no hormone, crap. The reality though, of course, is that free range, organic, local, no hormone food just tastes better. And, to me, a Neko Case song tastes better than one by Fergie.
I do, however, like a lot of pop music and music so-called "music snobs" would turn their nose at (Pearl Jam remains one of my favorite bands of all time). If a song is good, it's good - whether by Brittany Spears or My Bloody Valentine. The big problem I have with most pop music is that the performers did not actually write the music or the lyrics, and as a music lover and part-time (aka hobbyist) musician, it just kind of a) offends me and b) depresses me that these people are famous.
So, knowing that this is how I feel, and fresh off of spending a ridiculous $240 for a Lady Gaga ticket, Stephanie, a co-worker of mine, thought it would be funny if I personally reviewed each track of Gaga's Fame Monster album, for the delight of her and my other co-worker Atticus, who will be attending the show with her. Everyone but Stephanie and Atticus can stop reading now (seriously), as I am aware that no one, and I mean no one, cares how I feel about Lady Gaga. I just happened to have nothing else to do today and am feeling "creative."
And before I start, let me say, I think there is no doubt that Lady Gaga will hold a spot in zeitgeist immortality as this generation's Madonna. Like Madonna, Gaga is an entertainer, and she is a very good one. She is not however, a musician. Britney Spears was never going to be a new Madonna, partly because her songs suck, partly because those songs will not and have not stood well against time (minus Toxic and I'm a Slave 4 U), and partly because she is a product of the late 90's/the boy band era of pop music, one of the worst in history.
Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster:
1. Bad Romance. Anyone who claims not to like this song is one of the idiotic, "music snobs" mentioned above who are still trying to make up for not being cool in high school. This is a good pop song. Possibly great. Every now and then Atticus catches me on my walk to work in the morning - a time otherwise devoted to silence and peace before a day of hell - and gives me a lift. Inevitably, he is blaring - at 730am, on a weekend day - music I'd rather hang myself than give 30 seconds of my life to. However, "Bad Romance" may be the only song on any album in Atticus' car I feel otherwise about
so early in the morning.
2. Alejandro. Whenever I hear this song for the rest of my life I will think of how truly unattractive Gaga looks in its video, which will remind me of an unflattering picture of her I once glimpsed over in Star magazine, which will remind me that Lady Gaga, minus her stunning body and beneath all that make up, is surprisingly very average looking. I like that about lady Gaga. (Also, I can't believe artists are still doing the talking thing on tracks, I thought that died with Boyz II Men - at least it should have. Add to it a fake accent and, ouch. Song is still better than any Brittney song, though).
3. Monster. (First Listen) Again with the talking. Chorus sounds very club-ready. What's up with the guy in the background - "wanna talk to her she's hot as hell" - ? I think she just said "get your balls off of me." That's kind of awesome. Nope, just checked. It was "get your paws..." However, I somehow missed "We might've fucked not really sure" according to metrolyrics.com. I like that one. Don't like this song, however.
4. Speechless. (First Listen (I Think)) Wow. I like this one. I wouldn't listen to it with the windows down in the car or anything, but still. I think putting this next to a Britney ballad like "Not Yet A Woman" gives a fantastic example of why Britney songs are awful and shouldn't be taken seriously.
5. Dance in the Dark. (First Listen) She sounds almost too much like Madonna in the intro, that must be on purpose. I'm skipping this song. I can't sit through close to five minutes of this. Oh, I skipped to the end - definitely intentionally copying the Madonna thing. Cool? Next.
6. Telephone. Is this or "Bad Romance" her bigger hit? I don't know. I actually watched this video as soon as it came out so I could catch a glimpse of her blurred out Gaga, if you will. I don't know why people ever thought she was a guy, she's just a talented, mildly unattractive woman, duh. God, I hate Beyonce so fucking much. Remove her from this song and its listenable.
7. So Happy I Could Die. (First Listen) Boring. It's strange how she goes from such great pop songs to such mediocre club background music. Atticus and Stephanie, this has got to be your least favorite song, right? I do have to say, even her crappier songs are semi-saved by lyrics like "I touch myself and it's alright."
8. Teeth. I take it all back. If there was ever a suitable spoken word opening line to a song it's "Don't worry I've done this before. Show me your teeth." The beat is okay, song gets old early.
(I'm aware that the deluxe edition has another batch of songs that I will not be listening to. However, it's worth noting that due to my girlfriend I've unfortunately heard "Summerboy" one hundred times. I say Gwen Stefani beat her to that song already.)
Favorite Songs: "Bad Romance" "Speechless" "Alejandro"
Least Favorite: Every other song.
I was going to say the lyrics saved the album for me, but I can't find any conclusive evidence that she alone wrote any of it. Her website claims she did, but everywhere else says up to three other people helped on some songs. Weak.
Overall, it's exactly what I expected. Not my thing, but I like her music much more than some of the other crap out there - say Nickleback or Ke$sha (though I secretly follow Ke$ha on Twitter, it's fucking hysterical - to laugh at not with of course). And her big hits are big hits for a reason. There's worse music out there than Lady Gaga, that's for sure. And for those of us not into the music, at least it's entertaining to watch someone march around in a meat dress.