How Lady Gaga Lost Me as a Fan: Way Too Much, Too Fast
I've always been fickle when it comes to my obsessions - I deleted the 'weekly obsessions' page of my blog because I grew bored of updating it - but I'm usually very consistent with my love for my musicians. I have always preferred Britney to Christina and Keane to Kings of Leon but when Gaga made her debut it seemed I'd found someone whose songs perfectly accompanied my life. No matter where I was heading or what I was doing she seemed to have the perfect song I could hum along to (or if I was alone or with fellow Gaga fans; dance and sing as well)
I fell hard for her catchy lyrics, her strong husky voice and unapologetic sense of individuality; she won me over wholeheartedly. I'll admit I became mildly obsessed with her style - trying to figure out what she could possibly do next, what stunt she would shock me with next. She started off small. I really don't think anyone really knew how to take her, she didn't seem to comfortably fit into any genre of music and when her videos started hitting the airwaves no one really knew how to react.
Mostly everyone focused on if she was hiding some man-bits under those latex costumes and above the leather thigh highs. I don't think I could've cared less whether or not if she had boy-bits and a third nipple - I was obsessed with her voice. I was a devoted fan and thought of us in our own musical relationship, you know one built from respect (for her artistry) and jealousy (of us being the same-age and her being wildly talented), and it couldn't really be anything more since Perez had already deemed her his 'wifee' - I'm not home wrecker.
I had become the equivalent of a drug pusher, but instead of drugs, I pushed Gaga and I pushed her hard on all of my friends. Whether I was at the reference library 'working' on my writing, talking to my co-workers, customers, passersby minding their business outside my store about her, or confusing my mother with assurances she was the 'new' Madonna and, by that fact alone, she should be listening to Gaga and then tell her friends.
It became increasingly obvious her 'brand' was popping up everywhere, suddenly imitated by the aging pop princesses of my, and your, wayward youth. Suddenly the world had become caught in the Gaga web and the internet was aflame whenever she went anywhere. There were unofficial biographies, posters, cover pages, key chains and a sex toys all about or inspired by Gaga - she was becoming a sensation and everyone wanted her.
I was perfectly content with simply listening to her 'Fame Monster' album on repeat and attempting to ignore all the hype around her (mainly because I felt like I'd contributed to it in part) focusing solely on her voice. The high point of our relationship were the many shower concerts held in front of my shampoo bottles and soap and the scary-voyeuristic-pigeon who sometimes resides on the outside sill of my bathroom; he was my biggest fan. But I think he died.
I should've expected the good times could have only lasted so long, and while I was awkwardly bobbing my head to 'bad romance' in public, trying to resist the urge to dance, there was a storm brewing. It wasn't long before I began seeing her everywhere; her advertisements for make-up and clothing popped up while I was walking through the mall, she was on television weighing on several political issues (um, where were the regular pundits and commentators who specialized in these areas - did they take the night off when they heard Gaga was in the 'house'?) and then it began to seem as if her costumes were no longer outrageous because she was weird but, as if, she was actually trying to outdo herself. Originality and newness is awesome but being different for the sake of being different bores me a bit.
This somewhat offset our relationship and we went through a dark spell until another one of her music videos hit and then I was sucked back into the Gaga fold. She seemed to be collecting the world under her wing and with each controversy seemed to only asend her star further.
It began to feel like I couldn't escape her, she was everywhere, and she had become a subject of conversation with my friends and family - I was suffocating in our relationship. I broached the idea of a break and took her album off my iPod but she was playing everywhere.
I began to see her in a different light. Why was she referring to herself as Mother Monster and why had she decided to shoulder the gay rights movement on her shoulders? I respect any artist or politician who has the balls to go against the moral majority and anyone who turns up on a Westboro sign-of-the-time has to be doing something right but I began to wonder if she had begun to think she was an actual gay man.
She was bisexual, so I guess that counts as being a member of the queer club. And I assumed she was doing some good work on that front, I don't know about anyone else but I can never really tell if anyone is really succeeding at any real change. But she seemed comfortable using the gays as her platform, her core foundation, for her career. Unlike Cher or Madonna (or any of the other gay icons) it seemed like she was targeting the community deliberately whereas the older divas were targeted and then mimicked by every drag queen on the circuit.
Our break lasted for months and then the countdown to her new single started and I won't lie I was intrigued. I had heard clips and it was somewhat different from her original stuff but I was excited to have another album to perform in the shower. On the day it came out I was at school and hadn't enough time to listen before I left and frankly it probably would've been rude to start playing it in the middle of class - no matter how many Gaga fans were in attendance.
Within an hour the internet had chosen sides over the song. I couldn't understand how a simple song could spark so much textual aggression and some commenters were harsh, lashing out with derogatory epithets for entire groups of people. One asserted, "all you fags lay off this song roxs" He, obviously, missed the memo on Gaga being our self-proclaimed 'Mother', the first thing a gay learns is to idolize his Mother and then, when she's out shopping, trying on her pumps.
I clicked into the song as soon as I got home, excitedly munching on a bag of chips I'd picked up while at the subway. I nearly choked on a ruffled chip when the song began playing, instead of something original and raw with emotion and individuality, what played sound reminiscent of a style of music past; worst of all it sounded recycled.
Horrified, and slightly air deprived, I needed answers as to why she would release, in my mind, a 'used' song betraying my initial love for her. But after reading her blog and tweets there was little explanation for the events leading up to our imminent break-up. I crumpled up the chip bag saddened by my decision to part ways with Gaga, I felt in a way she sold out.
She had become just another generic popstar in weird costumes. I still thought she was insanely talented and had a really interesting take on all her songs when it came to the music videos but I couldn't handle the Gaga-overload. And the song was just not something I had every expected her to turn out.
Even though I'll still watch her HBO special, we had to part ways.
I sought solace in the words of my men Joshua Radin, Tyrone Wells and Jeremy Messersmith but nothing will replace the, once, promise of Gaga. I was always cherish the beginning of our relationship, the soundtrack she laid on my life, some of the happy times in the middle but ...
... I don't think I can ever forgive her for the way she let me down.