I’ve been tied up with the latest Decades series for the past few weeks, so I never got a chance to chime in on the Oscars. Don’t worry, that ship has sailed, and I don’t plan to revisit this year’s Academy Awards at this point.
But I did want to take a minute to acknowledge one of my favorite moments from the ceremony: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s performance of ‘Shallow.’
In the year of A Star is Born and an inevitable Best Actress nomination for Lady Gaga, it’s a little wild to get served up this track from her 2011 album Born This Way.
Gaga has had one of the most interesting and surprising career trajectories ever. From techno pop and avant garde performance art to Tony Bennett duets, soft rock and award-season movie roles.
Writer/director/star Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born is one of the most buzzed-about movies of this year’s award season, and now it has a hefty box office take to match. The only thing keeping it from Oscar glory at this point is the risk of peaking too soon.
I liked the film quite a bit, though I didn’t share the rapturous reception of many critics and fans. I loved the languid first half, which depicts Cooper’s Jackson and Lady Gaga’s Ally falling in love. It’s all warm, syrupy hues and hushed conversations.
The reviews are in on the 87th Academy Awards telecast, and it ain’t pretty. Neil Patrick Harris is receiving the worst reviews of his rather charmed career and the show’s ratings dropped 6 million from the previous year, when Ellen DeGeneres snapped her famous selfie.
I don’t much like Lady Gaga as a person — or rather, I don’t much like the persona she has created. Her tiresome antics put her squarely in Madonna-wannabe territory, and I don’t much like Madonna either.
But again and again, I find myself really liking her music — from early hits ‘Just Dance,’ ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘Poker Face’ to ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Telephone’ on her second album and the strong ballad ‘You and I’ on her less celebrated third album.
Lady GaGa’s second full-length album, Born This Way, arrived with such fanfare and hype that it couldn’t help but disappoint. It sold well (in part because of a mega-discounted Web deal) but nobody got all that excited about it.
And I’m kind of happy about that. Not because I don’t like Lady GaGa — I do — but because bringing her down to earth might be the best way to shift her focus from the pageantry to the music. GaGa’s music, as it turns out, it actually damn good. And Born This Way shows more promise of a long career than the admittedly addictive pop flash of her Fame records.
Note: This is the second week of my series of summer singles.
I haven’t gotten around to reviewing the new Lady GaGa album, Born This Way, but that’s not because it isn’t a worthy effort. On the contrary, it takes her music in some interesting new directions.
Actually, I should say some interesting old directions because GaGa, after all the techno dance pop of her first two discs, has remodeled herself as a cross between Pat Benatar and Bruce Springsteen. ‘Born This Way’ (the song) was a straight-up rewrite of Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ but the rest of the album channels the 80s rock bombast of those other MTV heroes.