A lovely and talented young indie musician and a not-so-lovely TV curmudgeon team up to make me smile today, re: comments made about pop nuisance Lady Gaga.

Joanna Newsom, via an interview with The Guardian, via Pitchfork, via New Yorker, via Twitter:

"I'm mystified by the laziness of people looking at how she presents herself, and somehow assuming that implies there's a high level of intelligence in the songwriting. Her approach to image is really interesting, but you listen to the music, and you just hear glow sticks. Smart outlets for musical journalism give her all this credit, like she's the new Madonna …" She breaks off and laughs. "Although I'm coming from a perspective of also thinking Madonna is not great at all. I'm like, fair enough: she is the new Madonna, but Madonna's a dumb-ass!"

(Newsom added this later in an email.)

"I may have contradicted myself. My problem isn't actually with Lady Gaga. But there's not much in her music to distinguish it from other glossy, formulaic pop. She just happens to wear slightly weirder outfits than Britney Spears. But they're not that weird - they're mostly just skimpy. She's fully marketing her body/sexuality; she's just doing it while wearing, like, a 'fierce' telephone hair-hat. Her sexuality has no scuzziness, no frank raunchiness, in the way that, say, Peaches, or even Grace Jones, have — she's Arty Spice! And, meanwhile, she seems to take herself so oddly seriously, the way she talks about her music in the third person, like she's Brecht or something. She just makes me miss Cyndi Lauper...And I shouldn't have called Madonna a dumb-ass. Her music and she have just gotten so boring to me, this last decade. I think maybe she doesn't hold her money very gracefully, the way some people can't hold their drink. But one thing she is surely not is dumb."
BAHAHA! Yeah. Pitchfork doesn't seem to care for Newsom's opinion, alluding to Lady Gaga's higher purpose as a person who gets others to think about "art" and that she is "a provocateur." Nah, she just blows. If you are going to provoke, expect the spotlight to land back on YOU first. What is revealed is that there is nothing of substance or value in her work, other than the ability to sucker people out of their money and get them to dance drunkenly at clubs and pay attention to her. It was always the same with Madonna, who is essentially a mediocre dancer with a ladystache. There's always a demand for mindless pop music, and I don't have a problem with that too much. Call it art, and you get my raised eyebrow, and Newsom's as well. Joanna's brand of music may not be to everyone's tastes but it certainly is not mindless, and I bet in concert will not feature a phalanx of Chippendale's rejects in Spanx dancing around her harp.

Andy Rooney has been on CBS' "60 Minutes" program approximately forever, and is old. He's known for being ancient and cranky; people always like to have a "get off my lawn" guy to go to every so often because it's fun to see them get all worked up over nothing. Here, he rather totally-not-shockingly lets us know that he doesn't have any clue who popular musicians are these days:

Andy gets no passes from me on this, because it really doesn't take that much to be aware of current-day culture, at least on some small level. You don't have to like it, but don't whine that you never heard of these dad-gum kids. Where Rooney's point did resonate with me was at the very end of his piece, when he brings up the idea that the younger generations probably never heard of Ella Fitzgerald, and that makes it even with him not knowing who Lady Gaga is.

The chances that Lady Gaga's music will be as honored as Fitzgerald's for its depth, lasting appeal, and musical brilliance = 0.0000000000000000000%.


This also reminds me to mention that Lena Horne died yesterday, aged 92. Beautiful, multi-talented, a civil rights pioneer, devoted to her family and friends, and tough as nails.

This little indie crank's got to head back to the laundry now. See you later.