Write to the Point!

A Neighborhood Studios Program at the Mark Twain House

Archive for the tag “music”

Lady Gaga: A Forgotten Genius

By June Tran

Writing apprentice

Mark Twain Studios

The bubble dress-wearing mega pop star Lady Gaga, topped the Forbes list of “Top Earning Celebrities under 30” over the summer.

This might come of a surprise since her latest release before the single “Applause” last month was the 2011 release Born This Way.

It seemed as if Lady Gaga had dropped off the face of the earth, as if America and the world had grown tired of her crazy shenanigans.

Although as a singer Lady Gaga does not have a wide vocal range or capability, as an artist she is unique in crafting her work.

Craftsmanship does not necessarily relate only to her musical work. Though her lyrics are often sparse of meaning or symbolism, it is her music videos and celebrity personality that really captures the audience.

Portrayed as a freak by the media, Lady Gaga would often be caught donned in a strange or unusual outfit.

Most notable of these ensembles were the meat dress worn during the 2010 MTV Music Award and the 2011 Grammys egg.

It is important to realize that there are two elements to Lady Gaga’s celebrity personality. The first is the symbolic significance of her creations and gestures.

Her outfits and music videos spark conversation about abstract topics such as acceptance, the entertainment industry and political movements.

In her “Born this Way” video, Lady Gaga featured an upside down pink triangle, a symbol for gay rights originally used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify homosexual men.

There is also a symbolic gesture towards the end of her performance at the 2011 Grammys.

It’s a magnificent and powerful scene where Lady Gaga and her dancers gathered around a warm light and slowly each of them reached and stretched their whole body towards the light.

Aside from these various moments within her music videos and performances, some of Lady Gaga’s actions are just random and made for the shock factor.

It is hard to reason that Lady Gaga truly believes in the conventionality of her outrageous creations.

Rather, she is poking fun of what society views as typical standards of a celebrity. She has innate understanding of fame and its marked consequences.

Through her antics, Lady Gaga makes fun of the entertainment industry for its hypocrisy and treatment of celebrities.

Her genius does not lie in the fact that she was the first person to act out of standards, but she is the first person to make a point of it.

She is not trying to make the viewer take more notice of her, but rather for them to not pay attention at all.

The central focus should not be on the author but rather the work itself. This translates to all types of art, whether literary or musical.

In a way, Lady Gaga is doing her audience a favor. The viewer or reader should have the ultimate power in the interpretation of the work.

Lady Gaga’s fame points out the damage of this shift of focus away from the art and onto its creator.

We, as consumers, are so fixated on the commercial aspect of music that we drive out diversity within the industry.

Such an inbred industry is prone to volatile changes and leaves us vulnerable to record companies eager to make money off of the consumer.

One Direction’s ‘Best Song Ever’ Lives Up to All the Hype

By Cecilia Gigliotti

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

Prepare yourselves for the “Best Song Ever.”

It’s here! Yesterday, dubbed “1D Monday,” was the day 18,911,507 Facebook fans and countless offline Directioners had long awaited.

Six teaser trailers, many image excerpts, and probably 50 anticipation-filled Facebook posts later, One Direction’s new single, “Best Song Ever,” premiered, complete with an “oh oh oh, yeah yeah yeah” chorus and a hilarious, high-energy music video.

The hysteria-inducing British-Irish quintet and their headquarters (1DHQ) have, in my opinion, milked the whole release for more than it’s worth. For example, they reposted the video today at 12:18 p.m., provided viewing and downloading links, and teased their American fans, “USA! 45 mins to go until we hit 24 hours on the ‘Best Song Ever’ video premiere.”

Forty-five minutes until the video has been around for one day. Really?

But all the hype works. Crushing waves of “Directioners” flock to their concerts, their every Facebook post gets tens of thousands of likes in mere minutes, and they’ve wormed their way into teenage small talk and casual conversation.

We apprentices at Twain Studio have found ourselves comparing the 1D boys and discussing the quality of their music over lunch. And although I would not call myself a die-hard Directioner, I find their songs catchy and sing-along-able and I think they’ve got some great ideas, many of which are exemplified in the “Best Song Ever” video.

First off, I love the concept of the opening two-minute skit: two fast-paced Hollywood producers, supported by a wacky production team, bent on making money and winning lots of awards with a movie starring our favorite guys. This satire is helped along by the members of 1D playing all the roles: Louis and Niall as the producers; Zayn as “The Sexy Secretary” in wig, skirt, and heels; Harry as “Marcel,” the nerdy marketing manager; and Liam as “Leroy,” the peppy and flamboyant choreographer.

It’s hilarious, and it shows that they can poke fun at their own industry, that they’re aware of the ridiculousness surrounding them as pop stars, that they know their own minds. The whole scene is a wonderful hook. And it made me like the song more.

Then they all shed their disguises and rock out – although the alter-egos do make funny reappearances throughout.  And Harry gets rather, erm, close to the “secretary” at times. The rest of the video, once the song actually starts, consists of footage of the boys hanging, running, jumping, and dancing around in their trademark fashion.

It might be rather less compelling, but the energy of the opening scene and the song carried me through and kept me singing along.

All this is merely a glimpse of what’s coming in the band’s first big movie, One Direction: This is Us, set to come out later this year. I do believe this is one I – and all you readers – will have to see.

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