Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 20, 2011

When it comes to GaGa's Edge of Glory,less can be more

Last week,another new Lady Gaga video made it's debut and it drew attention not for it's outrageous content but for it's lack of shock value instead.

The Edge of Glory was written as a celebration of life as death approaches and according to Gaga,inspired by the decease of her grandfather. That alone tells me that taking a different tact to visualizing this song was inevitable for her.

Critics have said that the video is very retro 1980s in style,with GaGa dancing around the deserted streets of a NYC locale and at times on a fire escape with legendary sax man Clarence Clemons(rest in peace,good sir)being the only other person present.

Personally, I think the song is strong enough to be showcased in a more stripped down setting and that it's subtly subversive to see GaGa strutting around a brownstone in an outfit that's fit for riding with the Dothraki warriors from Game of Thrones:

Of course,Lady GaGa is not the first flamboyant performer to release a simple music video that doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles attached to it. Her unofficial muse Madonna did that quite a few times,especially in the early days of her video career.

One of the more memorably mild Madonna videos was 1983's Burning Up,which did sprinkle a few little literal gimmicks such as a hard to open door and a group shot of eyes. However,it's best known for watching the future Material Girl emote her heart out in a driveway:

When it came to strange videos,The Eurythmics were certainly no slouches in that department. Even in her solo outings,lead singer Annie Lennox was the queen of bizarre imagery for music videos such as Walking on Broken Glass and Love Song for a Vampire.

Here Comes the Rain Again,a truly haunting tune from 1984,may seem to be elaborate due to it's setting and costumes. Yet when you break it down,all you have is Annie wandering around an island while her band mate David Stewart follows her from a distance with a camera. It kind of looks like a Gothic reality show,if you think about it:

Sinead O'Connor debut single,Nothing Compares to U,was very effective in focusing on the singer's beautiful vocals rather than her shaved skull appearance. In the video for the song,her shaven head takes on an angelic stance as the lack of hair draws attention to the delicate features of her face.

It was awhile before folks realized the fiery spirit that laid beneath the surface of Sinead's seemingly calm composure. She won Best Female Video at the MTV awards in 1990 for this graceful composition of grace notes:

Don't get me wrong,folks-I like a good over the top Lady GaGa video and I'm in no doubt that we'll see plenty of them when all is said and done. What made me a fan of hers,however,was her voice and the emotional resonance that it can bring forth on command and is it so bad to have a video that lets her show her greatest strength there?

I come from a time where imaging the visuals for a song was standard(for me,at least)due to catching it on the radio and I can still do that today. While there are some amazing videos out there,many of us would agree that what's playing in our heads as the song rolls on can be way better that what is actually onscreen.

So, don't lament the low key antics for the official Edge of Glory video. After all, you can check out the live performances(such as the American Idol one)online and debate which one you would've expanded upon for the actual video. Better yet,you can just enjoy the song,period,in all of it's lyrical splendor:

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