02 April 2010

It Isn't Your Face They Want to Poke, and Do You Really Want That?

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of  reading a great post on Dadcentric by the ever-cheeky Kevin at Always Home and Uncool*, a post on the curious phenomenon that is Lady Gaga. While I had heard of the Lady, I had never really been curious enough to check out the music. Or maybe it was that I was just too tired and busy. But after reading Always Home's (linked above) that led to the Gaga post, a gem unto itself, I had to satisfy my scientific curiosity** and check it out.

Sigh. Would that I am not so curious. "Poker Face"? Really? Oh good lord. I wouldn't say this was appalling but I had a hard time figuring out why gaga over Gaga. I'm sure she has a decent voice, and yeah there was some interesting theatrics (especially in the 'Polka Face' video)...but not much that I haven't seen before, and that maybe has been done better by others (see Tina Turner or even Madonna a la' Material Girl). I can only imagine who might be the Next Big Thang by the time my Wee Lass gets interested in tween music. In the meantime, I'll keep playing my Clash and Gogol Bordello, and getting her to sing along with me.

Ida know, maybe I'm jaded. Or tired of all the in-your-face approaches to "hotness". Maybe when I was in high school or even in college, that kind of blunt come-on was a lot more attractive. I suppose having the benefit of overcharged hormones and seemingly boundless energy would make a difference.

More likely, having no appreciation for subtlety, elegance or finesse makes the biggest difference. And when I was a younger Gumbo, those three words were rarely heard or seen in my vocabulary***. While I was watching the Poker Face (horrible title, by the way. Extends a red carpet to parody.) video, I realized that for all the bump and grind, and supposedly being "out there" or cutting edge or whatever...subtlety, elegance and finesse had fled the country. I was more bemused than attracted. Why?

"Bluffin' with my muffin" - seriously? You expect me to be attracted to that? I had the image of a big dish of honey sitting out on the porch, with no screen, and a big sign saying "GETYERHONEYNOWDAMMIT". Sorry, but doing that attracts too many flies...

The counterpoint to all this was what I have been listening to on the trusty iPod. I have a collection of the best of Billie Holiday, and no doubt she can sannng...but the real deal here, the song That Makes All The Difference, that tells you all you need to know about seduction, my friends...

"At Last" by the lovely Etta James. Oh, yes, dear readers, it's time to go to school...

 You see what I mean? Does she get all up in your grill? Use unoriginal euphemisms for the naughty bits? Of course not. She does a masterful job of interpreting the "Show, don't tell" axiom of good storytelling. Honestly, if I can said to swoon at anything, it is this song. Mmm, mmm...sing, Etta, sing...

...you other ladies****, lovely and talented as you may be, have some learning to do.

*Which I found through a link courtesy the radiant and lovely Everyday Goddess. Go, visit, pay homage. She will bless you. Or at least make you laugh.
**Plus I was suffering from post-work ennui. Ennui: a fancy-schmancy word for pathologically bored.
***Sometimes they still are, I am afraid. The difference is that I am much more aware of those qualities in others, even if I have trouble expressing them myself. I know what I was missing when I was young and dumb...and I'm not going back.
****In fairness, Beyonce does a credible turn with this song. Plus she looks damn fine in that gold dress. Sigh. Immune I am not.


  1. Holy cow! Etta James's song is just what my life is finally like! Thanks!!!

  2. I posted the song on Facebook and thanked you for posting it today. :)

  3. I admit, I don't mind Gaga, never seen a video of hers though. My daughter who's almost four loves the song Let's Dance. So in that respect it's pretty dang funny when she shakes her little tush to the music. She also has a scary affinity for Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get it Started. I accidentially turned on my running playlist in the car one day and...now everyday is "Peas Please" day. (Ya gott love a mini-van blasting out Black Eyed Peas on the way to preschool!)

    The Etta song is good, I'll give you that. But I saw the Gogol video you posted awhile back and meh. I don't get it.

    At first I thought I read it Mariah Carey (instead of Beyonce) and I did want to poke your ever Irish eyes out. Personally, I don't like either of them but the MC thing makes me gag.

  4. When I saw Gaga on SNL a few months back, she was mostly acoustic and I'll say -- the chick has some chops. Too bad she doesn't use them more often. Or hire better writers.

    Thanks for the shoutout, IG. And I've going drinking with the Goddess before. You don't mess with her after a few pinot noirs.

  5. I agree with Kevin - that gaga girl can sing really well - I saw that same performance and was surprised. I just don't understand club/dance music very well. All the production taken too seriously... ack.
    But then, my iPod is all old stuff.

  6. Hey Gaga beats the no-talent that is Britney....

    [said with my best brogue: I hadda follow a fellow Irishman--my grandfather was from Mayo]

  7. I'll stick with Motörhead. There's brash and then there's brash.

  8. That song is what dreams are made of....

  9. It's all been done before. Etta James... oh yeah!

  10. Etta had a lot of demons--alcohol and drugs being two. She didn't have an easy life but she could certainly sing. I have never listened to Gaga. I suspect that I won't.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...