Gaga is not Badbad

May 25, 2011 at 8:45 am (Random Thoughts)

Okay, first of all–the new update here on WordPress? Totally not a fan. (Really. Might kick me back onto Tumblr pretty soon.) Anyhoozles…

Now, onto more important things–Lady Gaga. On Monday her album/Disc/compilation of current digital downloads released, and on the Saturday before that, she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Now, up until this point, I’ve enjoyed some Gaga, but it wasn’t until I saw her perform (both musically and in sketch comedy) and heard about how she was totally anti-diva that I decided I had become a Little Monster and was now a fan.

So all of this leads me to some of the kerfuffle about Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ and how some are saying it’s ripping off Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ and cry Foul, foul! and the greatest, most heated debate since New Coke stirs up again. Seriously–I’ve counted 2 such kerfuffles since that song released, and I’m expecting more with the album release this week.

Here’s what I think: Yes, there are some similarties between the two songs, but people, let’s keep this in mind–odds are that Gaga listened to a lot of Madonna when she was growing up (and, to be fair, not all of Madonna’s songs are sterling examples of individuality, as excellent as she is) and that kind of stuff sinks into your head, your soul, your molecular bits. And I believe, just as in any creative endeavor, that the statistics are simply too overwhelming to allow every creative person not to step on toes of every other creative person. There are only so many combinations of words, notes, colors and images–some overlap is bound to occur. I myself had a two or three line scene for one of my books that was so unique, so special, that I felt like I had discovered a new element. Then one day a year or so ago, I read an excerpt from an author who I’d only read once before and she had that same image in her book.

Yes, my head exploded.

But that makes my point for me. Call it your subconscious, call it your influences, call it sheer luck of the numbers, and you’re going to get this. We all are. I say Gaga did nothing wrong, and from what I understand, Madge’s camp is saying the same thing. If she’s not pissed, why should anybody else be? It’s a wonderful song with a gorgeous message and let’s just worship at the dancing feet of Mother Monster for just a few moments. 

Consider my paws up.



  1. coffeegirl88 said,

    Lady Gaga’s music is warming up on me but it’s taken a while. The first time I saw her I thought she was a Madonna clone. Not much has changed for me on that one, and yes I’ll be the first to admit Madonna was constantly pulling inspiration from others. I’m not sure but does she admit that Madonna is an influence? That’s what irks me is when someone is obviously pulling inspiration but refuses to admit it.

    I wish I could find the comparison someone did between Born this Way and Express Yourself by speeding Express Yourself up to the beats per second of Born This Way, the similarity in the music is more clear.

    • Pamela Cayne said,

      Coffee–I’ve heard the remixes, even heard one where one track was laid on top of the other, and I do admit to the similarities. It’s hard for me to pass judgement without knowing the *whole* story behind this mix, and who was involved. I’ve seen too many artists who have studied under or with other artists to the point it becomes like an incestous family, and those kinds of pseudo-familial trees have far-reaching influences. For all I know Gaga’s producer studied under Madonna’s producer’s assistant and they like a similar style–who knows? After my experience with my image/2 or 3 line mini-scene, I’m willing to take a lot more as coincidence and leave the rest to the universe.

  2. montana (curtbooks) said,

    I’m totally Gaga Geeked!

  3. Marilyn Brant said,

    Lady Gaga is growing on me… I’m still not in the realm of any kind of official fandom yet (and there’s really no chance she’ll usurp Jon B. and the gang from their musical pedestal in my mind 😉 ), but I’m liking her music more and more. Are her fans called Little Monsters?!

    Wishing you and Montana a fun and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!!

  4. Caryn said,

    First of all, I updated WordPress the other day, but I haven’t done anything at all beyond that, so now I’m nervous. Hope it’s not too difficult to adapt.

    Second of all, no matter what creative endeavor is released (by singers, painters, writers, etc.) there will always be people who are mad either because the artist is ‘derivative’ or went too far from the norm – and sometimes both.

  5. Robin said,

    I like a lot of Lady Gaga’s songs – ‘Born This Way’ one of them. I like ‘Express Yourself’ too and never thought the two similar. I’m thinking it was a slow media day so why not stir up a little controversy. I love any song that makes me wanna move. 🙂

    I’ve seen Lady Gaga in a couple of interviews and she seems very down to earth and humble. Very different from her public persona.

    I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend!

  6. Pamela Cayne said,

    Marilyn–yeah, my fandom isn’t near Jon either, but I’ve got to give the girl props for doing it her way. I’ll be so curious to listen to her new tunes–hope they’re all as good as Born This Way! 🙂

    Caryn–yup, you can’t win either way and sometimes the fight is worth it and other times it isn’t. So crazy, isn’t it? Hope you’re doing well! 😀

    Robin–you may be right. Why report on important things when you can guarantee a kerfuffle by pitting Lady Gaga against Madonna? And wow do I hear you on making you want to move–whee! 🙂

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