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Lady GaGa Chic Unique! (Part TWO of THREE)






By Ann Powers

____July 12th, 2009

_Los Angeles Times


Green Day,
formerly your basic
snotty punk band,
has gained renewed respect
and commercial success
by writing rock operas;
now the band’s Billie Joe
Armstrong and
“Spring Awakening” director
Michael Mayer are turning
one into a musical.

And Slipknot-style masks and
pseudonyms have returned
to the hard rock underground
via the band
Hollywood Undead.

Theater veteran Adam Lambert
turned “American Idol” on its
head by wearing glitter and
metal wings and performing
with KISS;
he reportedly is working
with Gaga’s producer,
Red One on his
upcoming album.

Lambert’s friend Katy Perry
became the most talked-about
female artist of last year
by resurrecting classic styles
of feminine masquerade,
including burlesque and
Lucille Ball-style screwball
and releasing songs like
“UR So Gay” and
“I Kissed A Girl,”
which make provocative
hay from the hot topic of
fluid sexual identity.

Even college rock,
once a bastion of frumpy
has been taken over by
the drama club kids —
from the kitchen-sink epics
staged by bands like the
Decemberists and Of Montreal
to the fairy tales spun by
alter-egoed fantasists
Bat for Lashes and
St. Vincent
(real names are not
cool these days,
unless your mama called
you Panda Bear).

Country music too has

gained a synthetic sheen:
The hot new single by
crossover band Gloriana
kicks off with what sounds
suspiciously like a
drum machine,
while industry standard-
bearer Brad Paisley celebrates
video chatting and smart
phone Super Pac-Man on
“Welcome to the Future.”

This giddy embrace of the
world as a stage seems to
go beyond where glam rock
and disco took pop
in the past,
partly because it’s
assisted by more
sophisticated technology.

the software program
that alters vocal pitch,
has become ubiquitous both
as a corrective and a kind
of carnival mask,
used by artists like T-Pain
to upend listeners’
expectations about
what a love song —
or a party song —
should sound like.

Auto-Tune is so overused
that it’s engendered
a backlash.

The first single from
Jay Z’s upcoming album,
“The Blueprint 3,”
is called “Death of Autotune,”
and similar polemics have
been issued by his fellow
hip-hop veterans Wyclef
Jean and KRS-One.

But these efforts are akin
to the apocryphal story of
Pete Seeger trying to cut
the power lines with an
ax when Bob Dylan went
electric at the Newport
Folk Festival.

The real story is the

gradual emergence of the
computer as pop’s main
musical instrument,
not only in dance music
and hip-hop —
forms based around
synthesized sound —
but across the spectrum.

Using Pro Tools or other
digital audio workstations
that provide huge libraries
of sampled sounds,
songwriters can create
whole soundscapes without
strumming a guitar or
hitting a drum.

Those who favor more
“natural” methods of
composition can tweak
them in any way they want
during the recording process,
and they do.

Even raggedy-looking
neo-hippies like Bon Iver
couldn’t enact their “rustic”
experiments without






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