Thursday, 24 March 2011

Born This Way...To Be An Attention Seeker?

Before I get a possible high number of "Monsters" getting angry with me, let me start off this blog by saying that I do actually quite like Lady GaGa. She's got some catchy tunes, has a killer voice and is actually pretty talented. I got on the GaGa bandwagon a bit late admittedly, but as her career progresses and as the video for "Born This Way" hit the internet, I couldn't help but think "Hmm..."

I understand that bullying and prejudice is a huge issue. As I am someone who suffered from it from my child years to my teen years along with my best friend, I can say that I truly and honestly relate to a few other people's bullying stories. And I understand. I have nothing against the song; the tune is a bit familiar but it's great to see an artist as big as GaGa take a stand. When you're feeling low - whether that be because of bullying or depression or whatever else - everyone needs a "pick me up" song that helps give them confidence and we all need someone to look up to at some point in our lives. As GaGa has dubbed herself as "Mother Monster", I guess she wants to be that kind of figure for her fanbase. Although obviously every artist/celebrity wants to be a good role model.

So anyway, I have nothing against GaGa or the song. It's the damn video.

Seriously, what is it with her making weird little mini series? These edits don't make it on music channels. Sure if people wanna watch the full thing they can just YouTube it, but it doesn't make it on TV nor is that weird spoken story bit on the radio either. I know it fits in with the storyline of the song and all (well, Telephone didn't exactly fit...) but is it really necessary? Maybe everyone loves them and I'm a minority, but it gets on my nerves a bit. GaGa, just do a music video please? I don't need the weird stuff, and the giving birth bit is not epic or inspirational, it's minging.

Secondly, she sings about gays, bisexuals, transgenders, people who are bullied, those who are black, white, oriental, and everything else. Erm, where are they in the video, GaGa? All I see is a dingy, dark, black background with attractive dancers in barely anything and you in skimpy underwear parading around with all cameras on you. We all know you love attention GaGa, but surely this is the one song where the video should have been focused on those to who it matters to most and not on you, for a change? How amazing would it have been to see all the people she sings about in one video looking happy and accepted? I mean, that's the core of this song, that's what it's all about! "No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track baby, I was born to survive. No matter black, white or beige, chola or Orient made, I'm on the right track baby, I was born to be brave." So tell me, how is GaGa dancing around in tiny underwear relevent to this song at all? This song matters to a lot of people, it's quite clear by the amount of comments on YouTube. Wouldn't it have been more meaningful, more uplifting, more inspirational for people if it had included people like them? Clearly not a lot of people have a problem with the video so maybe I should just shut up, but it bothers me that even though it's a song for others GaGa still takes centre stage.

Take a look at these videos that contain a very similar if not identical message to GaGa's song. The first one is called "Ugly" by the Sugababes. Not the best song in the world in my opinion, but the video is filled with people who have unique skills (and probably bullied and considered freaks because of them) showcasing and celebrating their skills, with the artists themselves joining in with them and having everyone hold up blackboards with the lyrics to the song written on them.

The second one is that famous video by Christina Aguilera, which features several people who are clearly uncomfortable with themselves and how they look, and the torture and shame they go through because they're considered different by society, but pulling through and accepting themselves for who they are, not caring about anyone else. It's a very simple video but works very well and really gets the message across, even if some bits are uncomfortable to watch depending on the individual. I was about 14 when it came out and it was the first time I ever saw a gay kiss!

Even Katy Perry managed to do it better than GaGa with her video for the song "Firework". In this video she showcases parents arguing in front of children, a girl unhappy with her body, a cancer patient, a gay man, someone getting mugged etc. It's an uplifting song with an uplifting video to help people realise that you're worth more than you realise and that you matter.

This also came out when I was at school, round about the same time as Christina's "Beautiful". It's a very emotional and powerful video of the actions of victims who couldn't take more of life or those who were victims to random shootings. It's not exactly in the same boat as the videos above as they're more uplifting and inspirational whereas this one is designed to make you think about your actions and how you treat others, but it's still about the vulnerability of others.

And then you get GaGa dancing around in her underwear.

Just sayin'.


Michael East said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head.

The video for Born This Way is strange, other than the title it doesn't seem have any relevance to the song, It's almost if the story for the video was created without any access to the lyrics.

I'm not sure what Gaga (or her label) set out to do with this video, parts of it are just unpleasant, the whole birth scene just doesn't work. I can see the idea, but overall just has too much of an 'eww' factor. Not to mention the scenes where she is in the middle with disembodied heads to each side of her.

The moral message of this song is too strong for the video just to be an excuse for Gaga to dance around in her underwear. I know that she's has pretty much stripped down to her underwear (or even less) in most of her videos, but it just doesn't seem appropriate for this song.

Maybe they just wanted the video to be sexy, but it just isn't. Between the birth scenes, disembodied heads and skeletal featured 'evil' people. It loses any possibility of the video feeling sexy, even with Gaga in her underwear.

Yes, we all know Lady Gaga has a nice body, but it doesn't mean that she has to show it off in every video, and having all the attractive dancers around Gaga just detracts from the message of the song.

Paloma Faith made a good point a while back that female artists were doing women a disservice by stripping off and being suggestive rather than doing something interesting. She highlighted Rihianna's video for S&M as an example.

I think Gaga's video for Born This Way has fallen well short of the mark, Gaga could used it to tell an uplifting and empowering story, but instead it just feels a bit pointless.

The message that I took away from this video is that good people wear less clothes than evil people. I suspect that was not the intended message.

It's a shame, I do really like Gaga and think she's one of the most interesting mainstream artists out there, but this video is not good enough for her. It's not a video I'd choose to watch.

CazStacey said...

Exactly what was going through my head - the song and video are just two very different things and with such an important message in the song it was selfish of her to make it all about her.

ariana said...

when it comes to songs, we're really moody but videos always have a way of fixing it =p

AndyFerrari said...

And don't forget F*king Perfect from Pink...on that matter, I think is one of the best vid-song relation I've seen. And yes, when I first saw the Born this way vid, I was completely was