Lady Gaga. Yes, that Lady Gaga. I’m a fan. A fact that I am as surprised about as anyone. Now, I do like a little bit of everything. I’m as likely to have the Wu-Tang Clan or Johnny Cash playing as Metallica or Neil Diamond. But typically, pop music isn’t something that I enjoy.
Then I saw Lady Gaga on Saturday Night Live. Her voice was a revelation, and her piano playing was accentuated by having to do it in a ridiculous metal contraption. She’s not a manufactured pop princess, or at least not as manufactured as Britney or that whole generation of ex-Mickey Mouse Clubbers. So, when I saw Gaga: Five Foot Two on Netflix, I checked it out.
Throughout, its strength comes from watching Gaga make her music, be it recording sessions with Mark Ronson for Joanne or the omnipresent piano that she plays to kill time or relax. In particular, her performance of Bad Romance for Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday is fantastic. The big tear-jerker is when she plays Joanne for her grandmother.
The candid moments of her dealing with her chronic hip pain, talking smack about Madonna, and sitting topless discussing her fashion choices are sure to delight her Little Monsters. The revelation that the outrageous persona and apparel was to cover her youthful insecurities fell flat for me. Hopefully, it will instill the confidence that a freshly 30 Gaga seems to want to instill in her fans.
The most compelling storytelling came from a ten-minute stretch of the film that starts with her leaving the Electric Lady Studio in New York. It begins a montage of her leaving buildings for cars surrounded by flashing cameras and people screaming her name. By far the best piece of direction/editing, when it ends with the silence of her closing a car door. My palms were sweating. The high price of fame, indeed.
But this leads to the beginning of her press tour in support of the new album and culminates in a teary surprise meeting with a fan. As much of a put-on as it may be, it feels like she truly cares about these people, her fans, the Little Monsters. And maybe she cries at Kodak commercials too, but her tears convinced this cynical old man that she understands the price she’s paying and thinks it’s a fair trade.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to be bumping Poker Face when I drop my kids off in the morning (more likely the new J. Roddy Walston and the Business album, or probably the Gary Vaynerchuk podcast). But, I would recommend that you take a few minutes and check out Million Reasons. It’s sad and beautiful, just like Gaga.
****Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect those of IPW, LLC or Innovation & Tech Today.