Monday, September 14, 2009

Lady Gaga And The Fall of The Roman Empire

I stayed up past my bedtime and watched the VMA show. I'm one of THOSE people - I was around when MTV was cool. I remember when MTV played music. I've loved Janet Jackson since she was a cute little chubby thing who liked to dance.

Thanks to my kids, I'm not a total music boob; my son introduced me to Kanye West and my daughter likes Lady Gaga (henceforth to be known as Lady Ga-Gah. I can embarrass the hell out of my son by singing JayZ's "Encore" along with him, word for word. I think Pink rocks. So this was clearly a show I was going to watch if I could.

So first, what was Madonna doing? How was it a tribute to talk about how she chased down Michael Jackson so she could get chummy, win his trust, then dump him? She had an interesting perspective, but the word "I" showed up just a few too many times for my taste. I think I'd have rather heard from someone who truly was his friend.

Janet? Still love her. I felt for her, doing the routine she once did with her brother, then standing on stage as the crowd that had turned on him for years now poured out its adulation.

Lady Ga-Gah. Ugh. I've been really on the fence about this performer, as she has a good voice and she certainly puts on a show. But that blood-drenched finale finally turned me off for good. Her videos are about shock for shock's sake, and that ridiculous routine with the wheelchair, the crutch and the hanging, bloody eyed end of the song flipped my stomach. It had the feel of the last days of the Roman Empire, where excess is piled on excess. Check out the photo. Those are some dead eyes. I'm beginning to think she symbolizes everything that's wrong with the world.

Pink wins my vote for best circus act/singer. The woman did a trapeze act! If only for not falling, not screaming and for nailing her landing, she was terrific. Plus her strategically placed heart on her costume didn't shift and get her into all kind of trouble.

Beyonce is so darned likable that I think I'd like to invite her out for a coffee and maybe go shopping (and I hate shopping). She was having fun, she was enjoying the show. She doesn't seem envious of anyone else, she just appreciates other talented people. I don't like Single Ladies one bit but she put on a good performance as usual. And then she did her gracious grownup routine for Taylor Swift after Kanye West made a total ass of himself. Big props for the Beautiful B.

Taylor Swift. As a musician, you can have her. But her performance on the subway was really cute and you had to feel sorry for her when Kanye came out and ranted that Beyonce was robbed. When Beyonce gave her time to Taylor, I wished Taylor had been as gracious and included Ms. B in those thank you's. But, as KB pointed out to me when I grumbled, that's the difference between a kid and a grownup. And Taylor did thank her later.

Kanye. As the kids would say, WTF. Really. If he's going to get sloppy drunk at an awards show, don't you think somebody would have the good sense to keep him off the stage? Hopefully from here on in he'll either be off the guest lists or on a short leash.

And then there was JayZ and the ubiquitous Alicia Keyes. That left me completely cold, and I like JayZ. When yet another rapper who had no business on the stage showed up, it started to feel like the inmates were loose. If Kanye had been there he probably would have tossed her off the stage like an empty Hennessy bottle.

The big finale? A promotion for the new Michael Jackson film in the presence, it was reverently pointed out, of Joe Jackson. Oh, yeah, he's the guy we're all feeling sorry for. And the film is undoubtedly lining his pockets.

If Lady Ga-Gah had fallen off her hanging strap and landed on Joe's head, I probably would have enjoyed the show a lot more.

I miss The Boggles, Thomas Dolby and The Talking Heads. I guess this makes me officially old.

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