Inevitably there comes a moment when an artist I’ve followed since the release of his or her first record comes out with a single that is disappointing. While I ranked Lady Gaga as one of the top female artists of 2011, I don’t think she will earn that title again this year.
Her newest single is “Applause,” and its accompanying music video is full of the traditional outrageous Gaga costumes and excessive make-up. However, the lyrics to the song feel like they could have been written by any spotlight-loving superstar: “I live for the applause…live for the way that you cheer and scream for me.” They are self-serving, rather than telling a story or adding commentary to a social issue. The beat and rhythm are made of the stuff you find in dance clubs and revert back to her first album The Fame.
With Lady Gaga the unexpected is expected. She has gone so far over the top showing her quirky personality in her music that I anticipate her meaningful lyrics and ground breaking music to create a buzz. Clearly her fans feel the same way because “Applause” has only reached the #4 spot on the Billboard Top 100, and has already dropped to the #7 spot after only a week.
I was also disappointed to see that she “sold out” to Kia when I saw her song in a TV ad the same week her single was released.
I’ll be interested to see if her album follows the path the single has set. We can hope she played it safe with a classically poppy single to headline the album and took some greater risks with the record itself.