This will likely be the only post on the VMAs... and it's barely that. Yet the opening performance by Lady Gaga last night at MTV's annual fundraiser for the eradication of old people (anyone over, say, 28?) reminded me that I hadn't written about her "Applause" video yet and I wanted to.
But first a truth: As it turns out, a big white singing nun's outfit with giant square head is not a good look for anyone. Who knew?
This temporary outfit (a redundancy... all girl pop star ensembles have a shelf life of 1 song at most) was immediately ditched for quick change recreations of the music video looks but at first we were treated to Lady Gaga listening to her haters in layered voiceover "not her again" "i hate her" "watermelon cantaloupe". At some point in every pop star's career they stop talking to the world and started just having a conversation with their fans. Lady Gaga brilliantly skipped the the first step altogether and assumed the entire world was made of her "little monsters"... but she's moving too quickly. Now she's not even speaking to fans anymore.
OH I GET IT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO HATE "APPLAUSE."— Rich Juzwiak (@RichJuz) August 26, 2013
She rushed through that only talking to fans part of all careers (5 years is too soon for career retrospectives or self-parody) and now she's just talking to herself about herself for herself.
Her only outreach at this point seems to be in the realm of appropriation. It's always amused me that people get so upset about her cribbing from Madonna's playbook when Madonna herself was literally tagged "The Great Appropriator" and oft reviled for it.
Every current pop star is a half-assed Madonna phase.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) August 16, 2013
But Gaga has taken this to such mashup extremes that it's getting nearly impossible to enjoy it because there is just too much. It's gilding the lily on steroids. It's gilding the lily that you forget a flower existed and there's just a puddle of gold paint. She just never knows when to quit. Costume changes are supposed to be enjoyable -- they give your eyes something fresh to look at. But too many of them and it all becomes a giant blur... like that feeling of spotting a character actor in a movie "oh, wait I know that face that's... that's " and then they're gone. That effect but at sonic speeds.
My favorite look in the new video is the Candis Cayne (nude/big hair) followed by the Gina Gershon (on the mattress) but I don't like the Little Edie/Sprockets mashup or the Angels in America armature or the Kate Bush with the prosthetic leg or the or the or the or the or the...
If you have any thoughts on the VMAs now would be the time to share them. My only non-Gaga thought at this point is that Justin Timberlake is an awesome pop star so I wish he'd quit with the mediocre movie star business. You're just taking up valuable screen space. Back to the thing you're actually great at!