I’m ambivalent about Lady Gaga. I’m very much a fan of Weird Al. So Wednesday’s kerfuffle about Al’s parody of Gaga’s “Born This Way” has me kind of “meh” about the whole deal.
Lady Gaga — what can I add that hasn’t already been said? She’s glam rock melded with Madonna melded with John Waters melded with Timothy Leary melded with the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated as art directed by an amalgamation of Salvadore Dali and Andy Warhol. She’s all of this and she’s none of this. She’s dance music smartly marketed in a mainstream-accessible “shocking” package. (You want shocking? Go to Youtube and watch The Sex Pistols or The Crammps or find some GG Allin, if that’s to your taste.)
My favorite Lady Gaga cover: Molly Lewis performing “Poker Face.”
Weird Al. Can’t say I was a fan when he released “My Bologna” in 1979 and “Another One Rides the Bus” in 1981. I saw him as a pale imitation of Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer and Allan Sherman. 1983’s “Eat It” won me over, and I’ve loved his stuff ever since. But he’s had his hits and his misses (“I Want a New Duck”? Really?), and his latest, a parody of Gaga’s “Born This Way” is, unfortunately, not up to his usual standards.
The kerfuffle in a nutshell: Wednesday morning, Al ranted on his blog that Gaga refused to allow him to release his parody, entitled “Perform This Way.”
Other artists have turned him down before (Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, and especially Prince, multiple times). In 2006, when James Blunt’s label (Atlantic Records) refused to allow Al to release his parody of Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” titled “You’re Pitiful,” he decided to release it online for free. Yesterday, he decided to do the same with “Perform This Way.” Which was too bad, he said, because proceeds from the song would have gone to the Human Rights Campaign, a group working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights. All well and good, until Gaga turned him down.
But did she? Zoom ahead a few hours. Gaga claimed she never heard Al’s parody, that her manager issued the refusal on her behalf. According to Weird Al, Gaga says she loves the song, so now it’s going to be on his next album, which will be released in June of this year.
All this mishigas over a trifle of a song. Judge for yourself.
Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
Weird Al’s “Perform This Way.”
Am I right in thinking this is one of Al’s weaker efforts? Or have I been swayed into thinking his music is awesome due to his terrifically funny music videos? If this video had any production values at all, would I have called it crappy?
I’d like to think yes. Because there’s not much I find funny in his 1989 movie, UHF. I know saying so is blasphemy around Alficianados, but it’s the truth as I see it.
Today’s Prevarication: I wrote one awesome song parody in high school.