A brilliant new voice has descended on the U.S. music/poetry/political scenes, and she goes by the name of Lady Gaga. Words cannot properly capture her essence, but Lady Gaga can probably best be described as a combination of Bob Dylan, Maya Angelou and (a young) Madonna, but more ethereal. Not content with just the narcissistic rewards of material wealth and worldwide fame, the Lady also uses her music as a political platform for important and pressing social issues. A philanthropist and world traveler by nature, her concerns and passions are not bound by the geographical limits of her homeland – she has a truly global perspective. It is likely that, when the epitaph is finally written on her long and distinguished career, her ice-encrusted sunglass-wearing visage will be carved into the Mt. Rushmore of socially-conscious singer/songwriters (with Lennon, Dylan and Kris Kristofferson). Also, she generally eschews wearing pants.
As an example, consider her crusade against the genocide in Darfur. Political commentary will rarely be as haunting as that of “Just Dance.” Consider the lyrics below:
“I’ve had a little bit too much
All of the people start to rush
Start to rush by
A dizzy twister dance
Can’t find my drink or man.
Where are my keys, I lost my phone”
The protagonist in “Just Dance” is a poignant metaphor for a displaced Baggara nomad, continuously jostled and on the move to find water for his livestock. Her eloquence here neatly captures the oxymoronic claustrophibia (and looming violence) felt by the nomads who are essentially trapped in wide open arid spaces.
Lady Gaga, understanding the complex nature of the social topics she addresses, rarely lays out a full plan of action. Instead, she prefers to initially suggest a broad approach to a solution. To wit:
“Wish I could shut my playboy mouth.
How’d I turn my shirt inside out? Inside out, right
Control your poison babe
Roses have thorns they say
And we’re all gettin’ hosed tonight”
Here, she almost literally suggests that the Sudanese military, the Janjaweed and the rebel fighters take a moment to silently reflect on the situation from their enemies perspective, with strong consideration given to the significant collateral damage to be suffered by all sides. Ultimately, Gaga uses thinly veiled sarcasm to suggest that, barring compromise from the warring parties, a continued lack of strong intervention by the UN will result in perpetual revolution of the carousel of war.
“Just dance. Gonna be okay
Just dance. Spin that record babe
Just dance. Gonna be okay
Dance. Dance. Dance. Just dance.”
Lady Gaga’s song “Poker Face,” hit #1 in 20 countries – largely due to its powerful stance on global warming. Not since “Fergalicious” have I been so moved. In an inspired bit of songwriting, Gaga initially sings from the perspective of our planet itself:
“Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh,
I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got”
She brilliantly employs foreshadowing to suggest the sad outcome of our worldwide collective disinterest in excess anthropogenic greenhouse gas production.
“I won’t tell you that I love you
Kiss or hug you
Cause I’m bluffin’ with my muffin
I’m not lying I’m just stunnin’ with my love-glue-gunning
Just like a chick in the casino
Take your bank before I pay you out
I promise this, promise this
Check this hand cause I’m marvelous”
Here, Gaga ingeniously embraces simile, shifting to the perspective of the Kyoto Protocol and strongly implying that the long-term economic benefits of adoption will vastly outweigh the up-front costs of implementation. The immense popularity of this song, and its robust political commentary, has led the Obama administration to strongly reconsider both Kyoto Protocol adoption and the U.S. approach to the December 2009 Copenhagen summit.
Lady Gaga, we at Wasted Potentialz salute your dedication and hope your Anti-Pants Protocol also becomes a worldwide standard.
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