In Defense of Lady GaGa and Justin Bieber…

Okay.  I want to make some mild amends for gloating about the losses of the GaGa and the Bieber at the Grammys last night.  (But not Zac Brown.  Seriously.  Screw that guy.  I don’t know what America he’s singing about, but it ain’t mine.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that last night’s Grammys went pretty much the way they should have…but I don’t really have anything against either artist, so it was wrong to gloat.

On Lady GaGa:

I kind of like Lady GaGa.  But I’m not sure it’s musical.  I like the spectacle she creates.  It’s about time music was visually entertaining again (and Arcade Fire does that, too…so there).  If she’s appearing on a talk show or award show that I’m watching, I watch her.  I don’t go get a Coke.  I don’t use that opportunity to go to the bathroom.  I don’t crap all over it.  I think, “What’s she going to do this time?  This should be fun!”  And that’s exactly what she’s going for…so it works.

Now…I’m probably never going to own a Lady GaGa record.  I didn’t *mind* “Poker Face,” but it got to be a bit much, and I don’t feel like I ever need to hear it again.  I very much enjoyed her Grammy duet with Elton John a couple of years ago…but that’s not on CD.  There’s not really any reason to pursue her farther than enjoying the occasional appearance, and enjoying the spectacle.  But hey…at least I’m basically enjoying the ride.

On Justin Bieber:

Okay.  I’m tired of hearing about the Bieber.  I admit it.  I could do without the 24-hour coverage.

But…  In every interview I’ve seen with the kid (including tonight’s “Conan”), he seems like a really nice, level-headed guy.  Music needs that as much as it needs the spectacle, and I appreciate it.  Plus, he’s wholesome and is telling the kids (and weirdo 40-year-old moms) who love him that it’s okay to be a nice guy and believe in God.  (That’s right—he’s more than once publicly stated his Christianity, and done so in a way that seems to indicate greater depth of belief than most of the rappers who just give God the name check, then go back to the gang-banging and drugs.)  I can’t have anything against that.

Now…I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a Justin Bieber song.  I know he played on the show last night, but I missed it.  If I’ve heard his stuff, I haven’t known it.  All I know is that apparently one of his songs includes the word “Baby.”  I’ve had roughly this same conversation 700 times recently:

Derek: “You know…I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of Bieber’s songs.”

Creepy Soccer Mom: “He does that baby, baby, baby song.”

Derek: “You mean, ‘Baby, baby, baby, where did our love go?’  Bullshit.  That was the Supremes.”

Lady who knows WAY too much about the age of consent in Ohio: “No…you know…that baby song!”

Derek: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Lady who cried during “The Notebook”: “Yes you do…you’re just trying to be cool!”

Derek: “Believe me, this is not what me looking cool looks like…me being cool is much more disappointing.”

Let’s face it, your aunt: “Come on!”

Derek: “I prefer to listen to Cheap Trick.”

Women I went to Bible college with: “Who?”

Annnnnd scene.

But seriously.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard it.  Closest I’ve ever come is hearing him briefly co-sing part of Tenacious D’s “Tribute” with Jack Black on the Graham Norton show (which was exactly as entertaining as it sounds).  So my opinion of the Beeb is completely unrelated to his music.  I will say that I think his marketing is genius…but that it’s a shame that the marketing has been so over-saturated that most of us rock-snobs don’t like him based on publicity alone.  As I said, he seems like a good kid, and I think music could use a few role models…so good for him.  But music DOESN’T need the glittery, glossy, cookie-cutter images anymore.  And that’s all I was getting at when I said I was pleased that he didn’t win.  Nothing against the guy.  Just don’t really need this year’s Spice Girls, y’know?  (And I liked the Spice Girls…so that’s not quite as big an insult as it probably appears.)


So anyway…Bieber and GaGa have their thing to offer, and I don’t fault them for offering it.  I’m just gloriously happy that for ONCE the industry recognized that what they’ve been doing for a VERY long time is pissing people off and they need to try something else.  And I’m excited that they’re starting to lean in a direction I actually LIKE.

I also slightly chided Lady Antebellum last night too.  I don’t feel that bad about that, because I genuinely find “I Need You Now” to be boring and silly…but I’ll take that over a lot of the drivel out there any day.  I’d rather be bored than irritated.  So minorly sorry to those guys, too.


In other news…  Just got my download link to the new Drive-By Truckers record!  I’m at about 20%, and I’m very excited!  Now…if we could just get a Grammy to these guys (and girl) next year, that’d be a dream come true.  But I’ll probably have to keep dreaming on that one!  🙂