Lady Gaga, the Youth Pastor

For her encore, Lady Gaga brought her youth group up on stage. (Photo by Courtney Perry)

Last night, I ended up at the Lady Gaga concert at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Friends of ours — friends in their 60’s, I might add — couldn’t use their tickets and gave them to Courtney and me. I didn’t go into the Gaga show as a “Little Monster,” or even as a particular fan. I, of course, had heard her music, because it is ubiquitous. And I don’t hate pop music.

What I did know about Gaga came from a brilliant essay by James Parker in The Atlantic, calling her “The Last Pop Star“:

In the current generation of Pop divas—Ke$ha, Rihanna, Shakira, Britney, Katy Perry, Beyoncé herself—there’s no match for the alienness of Gaga. Pop in 2010 is thoroughly pornographized and tattoo-demented; the mainstream, as you may have noticed, is not very mainstream anymore. But there perches Lady Gaga, in paradoxical elegance, her plumage bristling, with an uncanny feel for just how much of her freakery we are prepared to absorb. She has successfully managed the rumor that she is a hermaphrodite. (She’s not.) Sweetly and demurely, she has ridden the couch of Ellen DeGeneres: “Who doesn’t love Ellen?” she cooed to the audience. The culture will not victimize her. Rather the reverse: with songs like “Paparazzi” she is, as English soccer commentators are fond of observing in the wake of a particularly jarring early tackle, “getting her retaliation in first.” Watching her stalk onstage with her retinue, one has a particular sensation—of aberrant sensibilities on the march, rive gauche visions, a whole underworld of transgression breaking the surface.

That is very much the experience I had last night when she walked on stage. The concert was sensory overload: a huge set, a dozen scantily clad dancers, lights and fog and strobes, and Gaga getting rear-mounted on a motorcycle by another woman. She shouted repeatedly, “I don’t give a fuck!” and told us that she’d birthed us from her “monster pussy.”

But Gaga seemed to know that this concert wasn’t really about the music. I suspect she might even know that her music isn’t that good. In fact, she spent more time talking to the crowd than any performer I’ve ever seen.

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An Evangelical Interpretation of “Call Me Maybe”

Jonathan Harrison of the blog, On Pop Theology, has a clever post about the song that my daughter can’t stop singing:

On November 21, 1985, in the quiet town of Mission, the Norse demi-goddess known only to humanity as Carley Rae Jepson manifested herself on the bucolic plains of British Columbia.  Raised by a pack of she-wolves, and rumored to have emanated from the forehead of her sire Billy Rae (sic) Cyrus (Norse God of the Mullet), Jepson soon set out to diligently study the art of music, so that one day when humanity needed her the most, she would unleash upon the world her epic creation.

Summers came and went. Jepson was not sure if humanity would ever need her, and if she had not wasted her time learning the sacred art of putting the beat on 1 and 3 and how to rhyme words such as “maybe” and “crazy”. She became despondent, downtrodden, and, dare we say, disconsolate. Would it happen? Would humanity ever cry out for her aid?

Then came the summer of Gotye. And she knew, it was time.

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A Better Atonement: You’re a Pig in a Poke

Singer-songwriter Roger Flyer has submitted this take on the atonement (lyrics below the video):

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Nine Hours of Bach for 99 Cents

This week’s find on Amazon: A massive collection of Bach, lowered to $.99 in honor of his birthday last week. It includes some great Lenten listening, like the B Minor Mass.

Get it before they raise the price.