Video killed the video stars

Standard

gaga.jpg Embouteillages sur la timeline : Ă  force de vouloir crĂ©er l’Ă©vĂ©nement toutes les semaines, Lady Gaga commence Ă  se prendre les pieds dans le tapis de l’immanence.
Promue comme une artiste complète, Ă  mi-chemin entre la sueur musicienne (ce qui est largement exagĂ©rĂ© : mĂŞme si ses aptitudes sont indĂ©niables, la multiplicitĂ© de ses collaborateurs laisse planer le doute sur son vĂ©ritable apport en termes de crĂ©ation musicale) et la performeuse dĂ©multipliĂ©e-dĂ©corporĂ©e, l’intense exposition Ă  laquelle on la livre pour crĂ©er le buzz Ă  quelques jours de la sortie de son album prend le risque de l’incohĂ©rence plurimĂ©dia. Cela va au-delĂ  mĂŞme d’une stratĂ©gie pas si ancienne, le blitzkrieg mĂ©diatique. Alors qu’avant, les majors bombardaient chaque titre, et l’attirail visuel associĂ©, par cycles et jusqu’Ă  plus soif, les singles se succèdent aujourd’hui Ă  vitesse grand V, sans doute pour contrer les menaces de leak permanentes, suivis de loin par des clips de plus en plus ambitieux, boursouflĂ©s, dĂ©connectĂ©s de tout enjeu musical. La vidĂ©o de Judas est Ă  peine sortie sur Youtube qu’on balance Ă  la radio The Edge of Glory, single non-officiel, avant d’annoncer le streaming promotionnel de Hair… Sans parler du (attention, concept Ă  tiroirs) « jeu social capsule » GagaVille, qui maintient les internautes en haleine avant la sortie officielle de Born This Way le 23 mai.
Pareil pour BeyoncĂ©, qui rĂ©vèle dans le chaos la sortie de son 4e album, alors que la mise en ligne du single Run The World (Girls), Ă  l’origine intitulĂ© Girls (Who Run The World) et curieusement rebaptisĂ© Ă  la hâte, a Ă©tĂ© avancĂ©e pour mieux faire un four, et que le clip est repoussĂ© de jour en jour pour exorciser le flop, pendant qu’elle mène campagne aux cĂ´tĂ©s de Michelle Obama contre l’obĂ©sitĂ© dans les Ă©coles amĂ©ricaines, au son d’un tube revisitĂ©, Move Your Body, d’après Get Me Bodied (2007). Et j’imagine qu’on s’est rĂ©joui dans le camp B, il y a 2 mois, que la toile s’enflamme pour le mash-up Radiohead / Single Ladies, collision ultime entre le lancement surprise d’un album qui ne s’est finalement classĂ© n°1 nulle part (non plus) et un autre succès post-fĂ©ministe de l’enfant de la destinĂ©e devenu manifeste polysexuel et hĂ©doniste de la gĂ©nĂ©ration Glee.
Le rĂ©fĂ©rencement pour une vedette de la chanson, c’est comme l’e-reputation pour un CV 2.0 : l’abondance est une preuve de vie. Pour cacher les pages vous montrant en mauvaise posture, noyez-les dans des profils de compte Ă  moitiĂ© vides ; pour Ă©viter que les liens mediafire ne remontent en première page de Google, faites en sorte que les blogs et sites d’entertainment publient des billets sur vous toutes les heures. Lorsque des teasers prĂ©programmĂ©s de Gaga ont Ă©tĂ© tweetĂ©s au mĂŞme moment que l’annonce de la mort de Ben Laden, on a senti comme un flottement, un malaise mĂŞme chez les fans les moins regardants.
On ne sait donc plus si on aime les popstars pour leur contribution crĂ©ative ou pour leur capacitĂ© Ă  rester en tĂŞte des Trending Topics, ni si on mesure leur bankabilitude en cumul de ventes ou en nombre de clics. Le partage de liens, d’onglets Facebook et de sites Ă©vĂ©nementiels occupe plus d’espace que la lecture critique… On se dit toujours qu’on reviendra sur le fond plus tard, mais, en attendant, retweetons sur le champ et sans distinction un hommage chorĂ©graphique inspirĂ©, une galerie LOLtoshop de l’artwork, les larmes du fanclub, et autres reprises mignonnes et/ou minables pour ne pas ĂŞtre Ă  la traĂ®ne.
Faites du bruit, elle est née pour ça.

Overwhelming and unavoidable, Lady Gaga has brought something new on the pop scene and the music business since her big breakout.
Musically, I’m still not sure of her real input: she has too many collaborators, drowns her songwriting in multi-layered references and claims her inspirations too often to be honest. David Bowie can certainly be considered as an influent musician, but what about Madonna and Whitney Houston? Show business flair has never been an aesthetic proposition, nevertheless it can be considered as a marketing hook: « Follow me, I’ll bring memories back to you », she means when she turns Express Yourself into Born This Way or when The Edge Of Glory quotes the corniest reminiscence of the Eighties, i. e. Clarence Clemons’s saxophone. I’m pretty sure no kid born after 1995 has ever heard of this guy, but he has been a viral star from the day Lady Gaga posted a picture of him in the studio. Or was it the other way round? Have Bruce Springsteen’s fans suddenly swapped musical tastes and do they see Gaga as a new rock icon?
What bothers me about this chick is that she goes way over the edge, or at least pretends to do so, and still no one, so far, has formally charged her for being what she is: a parody. Yet, here she is, muppet-showed, meat-dressed, egg-borne, motorcycled, lace-masked, halo-wigged, pointy cheeked and nailed, deformed, even glammed up, never looking real, never looking great, always looking like a special effect. Madonna reinvented herself in
various feminine figures, Whitney Houston sung all kinds of african-american-infused music, Britney Spears gave birth to her grown up self in front of all the cameras of the world, but Lady Gaga has nothing to tell about her, she just is the disposable and commutable living piece of art. Traditional pop stars from the MTV generation worked in eras and cycles, Lady Gaga outpasses this vision by cross-dressing, crossing releases and adressing her imperious status. This makes her probably her greatest threat: she will be out of the game the day a younger version of herself comes out and starts being a better, updated version of Gaga. What will she become when she’s not allowed to spend $10M on a video? What happens the day she realizes she doesn’t want to be Michael Jackson’s zombie reincarnation?
In the meantime, other pop stars try and mark their spot in the 21st century. Regular pop singer Adele keeps on breaking sales and charting records, yet she almost wears the same dress on every tv show and has released one hit single from her album. Rihanna goes the easy way, between obviously produced hits and a few cameos in commercials. She almost had a video incident with the David LaChapelle plagiarism accusation, but created diversion with her frenemy Britney Spears, candidly resourceful.
Beth Ditto is another one. Huge talent, plump girl with a real physique, probably too young for her fame too.
Life-smart and funny, where Gaga is mass-manipulative and sardonic, this Gossip girl hasn’t showed the best of her yet. She still has to make THE crossover to become as big as she deserves to be. The main difference between her and Gaga is that she doesn’t play odd, she IS always kind of incongruous, but with such modesty, aplomb and joie de vivre, unlike the deranging deranged game of Gaga.
The hommage she pays to Madonna in the I Wrote The Book video, made with taste, wit and a regular budget, shows that good popstars are those who have a good balance between flashbacks and flashforwards. Unpretentious, infectious and above all well done. Just like this version of Dusty Springfield’s Born This Way, produced in 1990 by PWL, a then-fashionable British dance duo. Yes, dance music doesn’t always have to be about getting on the floor, shaking booties and making out in the toilets. But what Gaga doesn’t seem to be aware of is that we were born before her, and that we ain’t waiting for songstresses to teach us the meaning of life and stardom anymore. Long ago, Sly & the Family Stone already promised us that Everybody Is A Star, and it happened through reality TV. Yuck. So I’ll stick to Dusty’s unapologetic and atheist vision of the « complexities of life ».
‘Cause had God made no mistakes, he’d had found a way to shut Mother Monster up.

Dusty Springfield – Born This Way (extended 12″ remix)

 

Pas gaga de Gaga,
et toi ?