A close reading of Beyoncé’s Video phone illuminates the strategic interplay of subjectivities in a video that essentially disrupts and complicates heteronormative notions of viewing.
In this analysis, the workings of female power versus the male gaze lead to a theoretical conception of gender that contextualizes masculinity and hegemonic femininity. Ultimately, it is in the aestheticized landscape of Video phone that a counter-argument to mainstream heterosexual male imaginary emerges, one where the posthuman figure, in all its hyperreality, is musicalized in a way that defies all conventions.
This according to “Gender, sexuality and the politics of looking in Beyoncé’s Video phone (featuring Lady Gaga)” by Lori Burns and Marc Lafrance, an essay included in The Routledge research companion to popular music and gender (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017, pp. 102–16).
Today is Beyoncé’s 40th birthday! Above and below, the video in question.
Comments Off on Beyoncé and the politics of looking
Parody is often filled with internal contradictions at both the level of the critique of the original artwork and the level of the quality of the parodied performance. Of course, “Weird Al” Yankovic is not the only artist creating parodies of Lady Gaga, and she is not his only target.
Even Lady Gaga herself creates parody as she borrows from the pop stars of earlier eras and comments on their work. Critics suggest that her success is due, in part, to her quotations from other artists, but her work goes beyond simple imitation. On the level of performance, her self-conscious employment of parody is partly responsible for her success.
As a self-professed performance artist, Lady Gaga becomes a nexus of imitation in which she both showcases and expands the limits and the understanding of both parody and performance. Through his own parodies of Gaga’s parodic work, “Weird Al” highlights this reality.
This according to “Performing pop: Lady Gaga, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and parodied performance” by Matthew R. Turner, an article included in The performance identities of Lady Gaga: Critical essays (Jefferson: McFarland, 2012, pp. 188–202).
Performances by Lady Gaga, particularly her music video Bad romance, exemplify postmodern America’s preoccupation with spectacle. They expose how the gaze, as a public-driven or self-imposed zone of terror and destruction, inscribes potentialities of renewal, wherein the subject’s authenticity is reasserted through the very process of commodification, or a kind of singeing of the image.
Such crossings constitute what Baudrillard calls “a [postmodern] materialization of aesthetics where…art mime[s] its own disappearance”; they also expose the complex dystopias underpinning America’s bad romance with its own renewal.
This according to “Doing the Lady Gaga dance: Postmodern transaesthetics and the art of spectacle in Don DeLillo’s The body artist” by Pavlina Radia (Canadian review of American studies XLIV/2 [summer 2014] pp. 194–213).
Today is Lady Gaga’s 30th birthday! Below, the video in question.
Lady Gaga went from nowhere to everywhere in just 18 months due to many factors—not least, to her unprecedented and canny use of social networking.
Gaga used Internet tools to craft her personal mythology, and continues to use them to keep in constant contact with her fans. She has millions of Twitter followers, and is the first musician ever to garner one billion hits on YouTube, where she uploads her videos for free.
This according to Poker face: The rise and rise of Lady Gaga by Maureen Callahan (New York: Hyperion, 2010). Below, the 2008 video that inspired the book’s title.
For it [the Walkman] permits the possibility…of imposing your soundscape on the surrounding aural environment and thereby domesticating the external world: for a moment, it can all be brought under the STOP/START, FAST FOWARD, PAUSE and REWIND buttons. –Iain Chambers, “The … Continue reading →
In 1947 Ella Fitzgerald, already an acclaimed singer of jazz standards, toured with Dizzy Gillespie, immersing herself in the new style known as bebop. Like Dizzy, Ella responded to bebop’s complex harmonies with an infallible ear, and easily translated its … Continue reading →
Gertrude “Ma” Rainey’s Prove it on me blues affirms her independence from orthodox norms by boldly celebrating her lesbianism. Rainey’s sexual involvement with women was no secret with both colleagues and audiences. The advertisement for the song (above, click to … Continue reading →
The American traditional song Go tell Aunt Rhody originated as a gavotte composed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau for his opera Le devin du village (1752). An English version of the opera was produced in London in 1766; subsequently the melody attracted … Continue reading →