From what I’ve seen and heard, Lady Gaga’s videos, persona, and weird fashion sense are somewhat more interesting than her actual music. In a sense, that’s rather a lot like early- to mid-1980s’ Madonna, but Madonna then gradually became a better musician and by the late 1980s was quite involved in her songwriting and, especially, the business side of her career. The main difference is that Lady Gaga is a more accomplished musician from the get-go. So, it will be interesting to see if she can make artistic changes and updates from where she is now and continue to do interesting things for a substantial fan base in five, fifteen, or twenty-five years—like Madonna did.
Lady Gaga’s androgyny and frantic, digitally-manipulated presentations also seem to me to be influenced by such late-1990s’ artists as Marilyn Manson (although she’s named after the 1984 Queen song, “Radio Ga Ga”), and Manson was, of course, one of the most intelligent interviewees in Michael Moore’s 2002 film Bowling for Columbine. All of these musicians are really quite smart (Madonna apparently has the same IQ as I do!), and if the music/academic establishment didn’t remain so biased against popular music, other smart people would realize that such artists are at least as interesting to think about (even musically) as contemporary, experimental, so-called “art” music and earlier “classical” music. However, musicology will never get to the point of considering “21st century music” to include Lady Gaga, because it still doesn’t even consider “20th century music” to have included the Beatles! (I’ve just written a blog posting about some of the problems in musicology, and this subject played right into that.)