Real Pop Talk

Open letters from a girly pop culture junkie

Archive for the tag “lady gaga”

An open letter to Nicki Minaj – re: Stupid Hoe video

Dear Nicki Minaj,

We’re in a fight.

I’ve defended you before (Alter Egotistical, 9/23/11) because I honestly do think you’re great. I’m glad there’s a strong female figure in the rap game once again; I’m really not a hater. Which is why we’re in a fight.

Nicki — “You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe” does not a chorus make.

Nicki — Yes, your alter egos are cool but you gotta stop being in our face about it. “My name is Roman, last name Zolanski, but no relation to Roman Polanski” isn’t even a good line. Also, ending the entire song with an abrupt “I am the female Weezy”? I don’t get it.

Nicki — The crazy big eye thing has been done, by Gaga in Bad Romance, and I hate being the one to do this, but Gaga honestly did it better. Hers were a symbol of her innocence before getting involved in a “bad romance.” Yours are…weird. And, if you’re using them to call Lady Gaga a stupid hoe, you’d best stop. I love you, but I worship Gaga. (However, if you’re making fun of Shakira with the leopard in the cage and/or Katy Perry with the candy, I won’t stop you.)

Nicki — If you want the rumors about your fake-ass fake ass to stop, then you have to stop flaunting it in ways that make it look more fake-ass than ever.

I’d go on, but the 84,799 dislikes on your video probably speak for themselves.

Don’t talk to me until you’ve figured yourself out, please.

Your once friend, now frenemy,



An open letter to Lady Gaga – re: “Marry the Night” Video

To my dearest Mother Monster,

You’ve done it again. I’m still thinking about the Marry the Night video – 4 days after its release.

Of course, I love every video you’ve put out, but for different reasons. I love “Judas” because it’s blasphemous yet makes perfect sense. I love “Yoü and I” because you show off your alter egos (especially Jo Calderone. I really like Jo Calderone.) I love “Alejandro” because it’s so fucking weird, you still haven’t explained it, and I don’t think you plan on doing so.

I love “Marry the Night” because I find the opening monologue legitimately interesting.

“When I look back on my life, it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And, truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it. Clinical psychology tells us arguably that trauma is the ultimate killer. Memories are not recycled like atoms and particles in quantum physics — they can be lost forever. It’s sort of like my past is an unfinished painting, and as the artist of that painting, I must fill in all the ugly holes and make it beautiful again. It’s not that I’ve been dishonest; it’s just that I loathe reality.”

Coming back from a semester abroad in Spain, where the reconstruction of historic memory was thoroughly discussed in all of my classes, I find this absolutely fascinating. If memories can be lost forever, and we allow them to be lost forever, what is there to stop us from rebuilding them? Specifically, what is there to stop us from rebuilding them as creatively as want to? By that point, we might as well take ownership of those memories and reconstruct them in a way that we find pleasing, whether emotionally or aesthetically. And once we do, the natural instinct is to demonstrate what we have built, to show off our art to others in the hopes that it will touch them – essentially being honest in our dishonesty.

It’s not that I’ve been dishonest; it’s just that I think Lady Gaga is a genius.

I hope I understood the message, Gaga! Can we hang out sometime?



When the Radio Lies To You

***EDIT: As of 9:00pm, Thursday 10/20, this post is no longer relevant. Due to previous complaints about inadequate spoiler warnings, I will say no more, but please be advised that this post is indeed dated. Thank you.

This morning, I heard something absurd on the radio.

I was driving along, listening to 105.3 Hot FM in Grand Rapids–and yes, I openly listen to Top 40 music. I’ve accepted the fact that my 16-year-old sister who loves Blitzen Trapper is more indie than I’ll ever be–when the DJ started playing Lady Gaga’s Yoü and I.

Normally, this would be cause for celebration. Yoü and I is one of my “in-the-car-alone-belt-your-own-heart” jams, along with Beyonce’s Irreplaceable and Christina Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man. But this was the version where they’ve replaced the word “Nebraska” (and just a quick background note here for those of you who aren’t Little Monsters, the song is about one of Gaga’s ex-boyfriends, Lüc Carl, who was from Nebraska) with the word “Michigan.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Gaga has Michigan pride. I do. But “Michigan” and “Nebraska” are not interchangeable song lyrics. They both have three syllables, sure, but they don’t rhyme and the emphasis is on different syllables. In short, it cramps my style.

Anyway, after the song was over, the DJ said, “How fitting to play Lady Gaga since Halloween is coming up and Lady Gaga’s current boyfriend is on the Vampire Diaries. Maybe Gaga will dress up as a vampire this year!”

Psh. Absurd.

This statement might have passed if I hadn’t been listening at that very moment. But since the DJ was talking about two things that I love (Lady Gaga and the Vampire Diaries) and thus know a lot about, I knew her statement was incorrect on many fronts.

Firstly, the connection between playing Lady Gaga on the radio, Halloween coming up, and Lady Gaga’s boyfriend being on TVD is weak, isn’t it?

Secondly, Lady Gaga’s (rumored) current boyfriend, Taylor Kinney, isn’t even on TVD anymore! He was–SPOILER ALERT!–killed off by Ian Somerhalder’s character, Damon, last season. (A clip of which can be found HERE, for those of you who aren’t faint of heart.)

Here’s a picture of Mr. Kinney, by the way, for your viewing pleasure. Girl ain’t playing.

Lastly, why would Lady Gaga dress up as a vampire on Halloween if her boyfriend used to play a WEREWOLF on the show? Actually, why would Lady Gaga need a costume for Halloween at all? She could just pick an outfit out of her closet like any other day of the year.

The point is, to all you radio DJs out there, do your research before you make these kinds of statements. You never know when someone as neurotic and obsessive as me might be listening.

Before (Gaga) & After (Gaga)

Lady Gaga in her infamous meat dress, 2010

Am I the only one who’s noticed a growing trend of weirdness among singers lately? Honestly, I think it might be because everyone’s trying to jump on Lady Gaga’s crazy train (which is worth millions, so, you know, I get it.) Let’s explore this.

First, let’s remind ourselves when the weirdness began. This is 2008’s video for Poker Face.

By Gaga’s standards today, this video is relatively tame (I’m still trying to puzzle through Born This Way.) At the same time, it’s still pretty strange. Why is she coming out of a swimming pool wearing that? Why are there dogs by the pool? Why are there light up mannequins? No one could answer these questions, but no one could get enough. This single sold like hotcakes, and it’s actually one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Naturally, people realized that weird was in. And it was time to bend over backwards trying to outweird Lady Gaga.

Example 1: Christina Aguilera

When Gaga first hit the scene, many compared her to Xtina because they looked somewhat alike. Christina claimed not to even know who Gaga was. Right.


2006’s Ain’t No Other Man. Sexy? Yes. Raunchy? Yes. Weird? Eh. Not really.


2010’s Not Myself Tonight. Sexy? Maybe excessively. Raunchy? To the point of being inappropriate. Weird? YES.

Looks like it didn’t take long for Xtina to discover Gaga after all.

Example 2: Miley Cyrus

She was known to the world as Hannah Montana, a squeaky clean Disney princess. How to break out of the innocent image stamped with that curious letter D?


2007’s Start All Over. Block parties, confetti, the-whole-thing-was-just-a-dream-or-was-it. Fun, but not particularly weird.


2010’s Can’t Be Tamed. Cages, feathers, giant nests. Weird.

So that’s how you become your own person.

Example 3: Katy Perry

Katy Perry did capture the world’s attention with her anthem to bicuriosity. But being suggestive and being weird are different things.


2008’s I Kissed A Girl. Might have been every man’s dream, but that does make it a pretty common dream, after all.

Katy Perry at the 2008 VMAs

She was definitely playing the flirty, sexy card, but I wouldn’t call that particularly weird.


2011’s E.T. I’m sorry…is that supposed to be attractive? I would say being half woman, half deer qualifies as weird.

Katy Perry at the 2011 VMAs

This doesn’t just look weird, it looks painful. The poor thing. I can almost hear her now: “Maybe if I wear a block of cheese on my head, I can outweird Lady Gaga’s outfit this year!”

Of course then, Lady Gaga showed up as…

Jo Calderone at the 2011 VMAs

…a man. Bless you, Lady Gaga. You will forever be on top of your game as Weirdest Of Them All.

Alter Egotistical

This week, Lady Gaga released the third video in her Haus of Ü series of “art films,” which is a 5-part video series set to her latest single, Yoü and I. Each of the videos will feature a different one of Gaga’s alter egos. Tuesday’s installment featured mermaid Gaga, also known as Yüyi:

(As an aside, I think this one is my favorite out of the three that have been released. Yüyi seems like a badass bitch.)

Obviously, Lady Gaga is not the only artist to have utilized the alter ego. Eminem has Slim Shady. Beyonce had Sasha Fierce, until she killed her off two years later, anyway. And Nicki Minaj is just swimming in alter egos (although none of her alter egos has yet to develop a fish tail. I guess that’s typical Lady Gaga though. Just outdoing everyone in the Weird department) including Roman Zolanski, who has been described as a very naughty boy, and Roman’s mother, Martha, who can be seen as Nicki’s fairy godmother in the Moment 4 Life video:

(Another aside: why don’t I have a fairy godmother to gift me with sparkly heels?!)

So why do artists have this passion for creating alternate identities? I think the reason might be two-fold.

First, it allows artists to commit to one dimension, if they feel like it. What’s more, the dimension they commit to doesn’t have to make sense. If Nicki Minaj wants to go around talking in a British accent for no apparent reason, that’s okay, because that’s just Martha. Her audiences accept it. If Lady Gaga wants to play mermaid, that’s great. The Little Monsters will eat it up.

At the same time, though it seems contradictory, alter egos also allow artists to be multi-dimensional. They get to express whatever part of them they want to. Once Nicki tires of Martha, she can switch to Roman and express her wilder side (Roman is famously featured on Trey Songz’s track, “Bottoms Up.”) Or, if she’s feeling bubbly, she can switch to Barbie and get dolled up. But all of these personas still belong to the broad category of Nicki Minaj.

The same goes for Lady Gaga. She might be releasing five videos under five different alter egos, but because they are all technically different facets of Lady Gaga, it’s almost as if she’s putting her versatility on display.

Gaga as Nymph
Gaga as Bride
Gaga as Yüyi

What do you think of alter egos? Are they great, or are they stupid?

Clearly, my vote is great. Although that might be because I have a strange fascination with Lady Gaga’s male alter ego, Jo Calderone.

Gaga as Jo Calderone

Can’t wait for that video to come out.

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