Friday, June 19th, 2009

Lady Gaga – Paparazzi

So she knows Swedish now, then? ARTY…


Martin Kavka: The more I listen to Lady GaGa, the more I become convinced that she really is as canny and clever as she says she is. This song appears at first glance to be a stalker anthem. But wait, there’s a twist! The ’80s-power-ballad production makes it far sweeter and apparently innocuous, as if the lyric were “Dear Rockstar who doesn’t know my name, please take my breath away.” That’s not extra creepy, because unlike most stalker anthems, the narrator here knows that the rockstar doesn’t love her. But wait, there’s a second twist! Here, the groupie tells the rockstar that she can make him famous. She really doesn’t need him for anything. In fact, she doesn’t seem to love him at all. But wait, there’s a third twist! The middle eight completely leaves the story behind; it’s set in GaGa’s studio, and ends with “We’re plastic but we still have fun!” What does this have to do with anything? Who knows, but it sure saps the song of anything frightening. Whether that makes her music, in the end, nihilist is something I still haven’t decided. But I can’t help but respect — and perhaps love — someone who so decisively asserts that we all live in her world.

Dave Moore: The video/music split here exemplifies why Lady Gaga pisses so many people off, I think. The video’s got it all — pseudo art cinema intro, “edgy” dance routine on crutches, brief shots of anonymous dead supermodels, photo flash jump cuts (is it a camera…OR A GUN???!!!). Thing is, this song is not actually about anything particularly interesting. And to that end, it’s quite good — a resolutely silly early-Madonna melody in the verses and a low-flying liquid chorus. So for once I’m going to ignore every impulse to punish her for contextual pretensions and just give this stupid thing the “7” it deserves.

Alex Ostroff: I’m not even sure how to process GaGa anymore. Love the ambition, hate the result. She’s most palatable when she’s flaunting the total pop kitsch of her first two singles and playing to the cheap seats in gay clubs — there’s plenty more trashy electro on The Fame that she could have released. Instead, a ballad that equates unrequited love with the celebrity-paparazzo relationship, and turns GaGa into a creepy stalker. If purposeful, it’s a nice touch, but intent, idiocy and happy accidents are muddled where GaGa is concerned.

Keane Tzong: Tinny vocal samples in the chorus and a squelchy, almost-interesting beat provide a nice aura of super-budget glamour- the most successful Lady Gaga’s ever been in evoking any sense of time or place, I’d venture to say. Then around 2:30 she stops singing and starts yelling and it all goes to shit again. Shame.

Chuck Eddy: Long ago, and oh so far away, she fell in love with you before the second show. But if you want to know how she really feels, get the cameras rolling, just get the action going… Sad, pretty melody; ominous thump below; no less emotion in the singing than, say, Neil Tennant has usually managed. Not that smart people still blindsided by her backstory will ever notice.

Michaelangelo Matos: This is literally the first time I’ve heard her, and it’s revelatory for a couple reasons. 1) This is what she sounds like? Failed synth-pop? (The chorus is precisely where it fails, even if you want to grant it the hidden-in-plain-view daddy kink of “Papa Paparazzi.”) Wow. All that furor over another whiny chick who can’t hit the notes? 2) This helps explain the sudden electroclash revival. 3) This is like a bad Media Studies term paper on irony.

Alfred Soto: Other critics will adduce her groupie fantasies as proof of the Lady’s post-feminism; the arrangements and melodies come out of the Katy and Linda Perry school of passive-aggression, though, and the middle eight is Gwen Stefani 2004. Like “Waking Up In Vegas,” maybe the use of unexpected metaphors makes the women that much more cartoonish.

Rodney J. Greene: Lady GaGa finally finds some synth patches that pop and roll more than they assault, and commits to not doing anything embarrassing beyond your usual egotist pop diva standards. She saddles this song with yet another hook that doesn’t quite work, but any step in the right direction is gladly accepted.

Hillary Brown: That chorus has quite a nice hook, but it takes a while to get there, and the bits that aren’t the chorus are slower and, you know, not the chorus.

Ian Mathers: I haven’t liked any of her singles before, but the chorus here is brilliant – great melody, and strangely moving. The narrative is terribly confused, especially if you watch the video, but I’m beginning to think that’s part of her genius; for better or worse, “Paparazzi” with its interwoven threads of love, fame, media and obsession feels very zeitgeist-y.

Martin Skidmore: She seems not to realise that the word paparazzi has a meaning, one that doesn’t fit with the stalker-fan depicted here. The delivery is the usual, mannered and thin and thoroughly irritating. The production is pretty good, much the best thing on offer, the electro bass giving this some life and bounce that the rest doesn’t much deserve.

John M. Cunningham: I’m sort of amazed, since I’d never heard it in her previous singles, at how much this reminds me another blonde pop star of this decade: it’s Gwen Stefani, from the mid-tempo beat and lush synths to the odd vocal inflections and awkward cheerleader breakdown. It’s a good thing I like that sound, and the comfortable melodies it allows for, because the notion of Lady Gaga as a pining celeb-obsessed fan is faintly ridiculous and not nearly as emotionally charged as the song’s closest cousin, “Superstar.”

Anthony Miccio: The problem with Lady Gaga is that she didn’t replace Paris Hilton. She wears more interesting clothes, says more interesting things and “writes her own music,” but Paris continues to appear in public, speak into microphones and threaten to release another album. Paris Hilton is co-existing with a music pro pretending to be her, and the benefits of a better Paris Hilton don’t outweigh the psychic pain of having two. Especially when she’s singing mid-tempo Gwen Stefani filler like this.

Additional Scores

Matt Cibula: [4]
Anthony Easton: [7]
Talia Kraines: [8]
Alex Macpherson: [2]
Jordan Sargent: [6]

14 Responses to “Lady Gaga – Paparazzi”

  1. This song is basically identical in content to Miley Cyrus’s “Fly on the Wall,” which is just as dumb but is a 9 easy.

    Also, when has anyone heard a peep from Paris Hilton recently? (Her album was great and she didn’t go around pretending it was High Art, neither.)

  2. r u kidding….every body who calls them self a music critic here…get another job…you first of all dont know how to express yourself in words and you all have no clue whats goin on in the music world….buy yourself a beatles album…this girl is brilliant and the song is out of here…as for the guy who above says he llikes miley cyrus…you should find yourself a disney 7 yr old site….PLEASE!!

  3. Matos, this song really does fail to capture the full horrors of Laady Gaga.

  4. But does it capture the full horror of Junie Nigel?

  5. who? (google isn’t throwing anything up)

  6. oh hahahaha never mind

  7. Lovely Paris has been extending the My BFF franchise to film My Dubai BFF, and explaining what refugees are on Twitter. In the light of those amazing events, Gaga just can’t compete. She can aggressively poke her inner thighs at us all she wants, but she can never, ever attain such heights of obliviously beatific tastelessness.

  8. Oh yeah, forgot about the BFF thing. Good theme song…

  9. I’m sorry I ever doubted this comment’s authenticity:

    “No, she BETTER than Andy Warhol! He so unoriginal he just took off on the end of his name and he make paintings. He no make great music that will last 1000s of years! Do not insult this most beautiful of all lady singers. That make me mad! She is Lady Gaga, I think you should realize how much greater she is than Andy whatever. She give herself a totally new name, she name herself so beautiful, just like everything she touches. All the great hits off of her genius work, Fame, is so wonderful because it is all about the type of life she come from. Did you have a piano at four? No! You just jealous! Did you have a record company totally giving you tons of money and saying you are great? No because Walmart decided to go with the most greatest woman of the 21st century, Lady Gaga.

    Don’t insult Haus of Gaga. She greater than Andy Pandy Whatever. They call the shots for her! She wear no pants. She is the new ideal for all women. You just have to wear no pants, then you see how much of an artiste you are. Until then, you just a hater. She is so brilliant she conned you all into make her so super famous mothers will be naming their babies Gaga. Gaga for Emperor of the Universe!”

  10. Those could easily be leaked lyrics to a new track from the re-release of her album.

  11. Some awful gay man probably left those remarks, Dave.

  12. hey alfred soto u homophob y u gotta diss GAGA when its GAGA who makin u feel so unfcomfrtable? she pushes boundaries and when she is not pushing boundaries she is still pushing bounderies! that is more then u peoploe ever can do! i dont even no why i argue with such philsteins its so painful obvioius what is rong with ALL of u is that u dont understand ART which is wot GAGA is all about which is why u cant come in her HAUS until u learn to apreciate REAL ART.

  13. I slept with Phil Stein once. He wasn’t bad.

  14. Ok ‘Gagahaus’. Just to say, i do like Lady Gaga, i like her music and i think she is very interesting. BUT you have to write and spell properly if you want anyone to take your argument seriously.
    I agree with what Ian Mathers said. I think the whole song and the meaning is very confused. When you hear it, it sounds like she’s a stalker and using the idea of a the paparazzi chasing a celebrity as a metaphor for someone chasing someone they fancy. But then i think i heard Gaga say it was about someone using someone to become famous and the video is about someone killing someone to regain their celebrity status. Its all very confusing.
    However, i do like the song a lot. Its one of my favourites. Its very emotional and the live performance at the VMA’s was extremely powerful.