Posted by: Jeff | February 15, 2011

Pop Doesn’t Have to Be Derivative

The comparison between the new Gaga and Madonna’s “Express Yourself” has been making the rounds, and there’s a lot of credence to it:

It’s also unavoidable how similar the spoken-word cadence during the breakdown is to Madonna’s “Vogue” – to say nothing of TLC’s “Waterfalls” and any other number of iconic pop melodies.  Strangely enough, this video seems particularly damning:

This isn’t the first odd knock-off.  Take “Alejandro” and the uncanny resemblance to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” with a bassline taken from Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around”:

This isn’t to say that Gaga isn’t a talent.  Somehow posts perceived as anti-Gaga are some of the most visited on this site, and I don’t mean to knock the talent: the girl’s got talent and “Poker Face” remains an amazing single.  And obviously the music is catchy – otherwise Madonna wouldn’t have scored number one hits with much of it.

What’s unfortunate is that Gaga has branded herself as unique and original, and has created an image to back up that brand.  But the music isn’t anything new – she merely subverts old material with an extra layer of innuendo and re-packages it with an “it’s ok to be different” message for her fans.  Isn’t it strange, then, that nobody seems to mind that the music itself isn’t very different from the pop our parents listened to?

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