My Mental Exercise: If I should be a pop star

Photo: RCA Records

When I heard the news of  Miley Cyrus’ performance in VMA Awards, I was not shocked.  I haven’t followed her as Hanna Montana. I only know her as the girl who sang Party in the USA and The Climb. Lady Gaga had her first single when she was 22  years old but she was already Lady Gaga, the way we know her now. What Miley Cyrus is doing now  is not too different from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Nicki Minaj. People just could not get over the thought that Disney star is now twerking. I did listen to her two latest songs, We can’t stop and Wrecking Ball. In terms of sound and content, the songs are fine and have last song syndrome effect. They are ‘safe’ for kids to listen. It has no sex and swear words in the lyrics. But her music videos are very disturbing. Why does she have to lick a sledgehammer?

It’s interesting to study pop culture. For my own mental exercise, I ponder on the idea what can I do to be a pop star? You compete with a large population of people who can sing and dance.  American Idol shows a lot of young people who are willing to do whatever it takes just to have the limelight.  And it’s heartbreaking to see your favorite contestants leave the competition. You come to a conclusion, you really have to have “something more than talent”. And the idea of “something more than talent” requires creativity and marketing skills.

In 60 minutes of CBS News,  Anderson Cooper opened the show with the question, “Is Lady Gaga an artist or a marketing expert?  Lady Gaga said in that interview: “One of my greatest artworks is the art of fame. I’m a master of the art of fame. “ She inspires a lot of fans  with her message of self-empowerment. The controversies, outfits, music videos, are all part of  her scheme of getting attention and sustaining fame.  You see her dead in her music videos and live performance.

“That’s what everyone wants to know, right? ‘What’s she gonna look like when she dies? What’s she gonna look like when she’s overdosed?’ on whatever they think I’m overdosing on? Everybody wants to see the decay of the superstar,” Lady Gaga said.

“Do you think people wanna see your decay?” Cooper asked.

“What? Of course they do! They wanna see me fail, they wanna see me fall on stage, they wanna see me vomiting out of a nightclub. I mean, isn’t that the age that we live in? That we wanna see people who have it all lose it all? I mean, it’s dramatic,” she replied.

Take another example: Katy Perry. She was a gospel singer when she started her singing career. Because she did not get much success like Amy Grant, she  ventured to mainstream music. It’s somehow fun to sing a Katy Perry song, right? But music like movies should have some parental guidance. For instance, the song Teenage Dream can lead to teenage pregnancy.

Speaking of parental guidance, Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass was once a big hit. Kids sing it and dance with it. But will you be horrified if your daughter tells you: ” He just gotta give me that look, when he give me that look / Then the panties comin’ off, off, uh”?

I do love all types of music, most especially pop music. In fact, I enjoy listening and singing some of the songs of these artists. I believe Lady Gaga is an excellent performing artist. I believe Katy Perry can write meaningful songs. I like the raindrop sound effects and the beat of Super Bass. As I have observed, the more eccentric you are, you increase your chances of surviving in this industry. But I am hoping that artists are recognized for their talent and not their packaging. I wish they didn’t have to be provocative to be appealing. I wish they could cross a message of self-empowerment without nudity. I wish they did not need to make a controversy to earn fame.  And I am hoping that we get to have more songs that have well-thought lyrics with less number of bad words.  I am hoping that when we like pop stars, we like them as artists and musicians not as celebrities. There is a fine line between an artist and a celebrity.

Lady Gaga does not need to strip to impress..

Wish Katy Perry wrote more songs like this

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jackieB
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 04:20:29

    i absolutely agree to everything you’ve said. also, i am not suggesting a controlled music industry. i also don’t think it’s the responsibility of music/ film/ television and all forms of media to instill values. We have families, schools, institutions, serve for this purpose. True, music should be a free expression. But my bigger point is that music alone should be greater than commerce, and marketing. that singers are given attention because of their craftsmanship and that they do not need to have gimmicks. If I am going to be overly conservative, I may not like the music of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. But because I can sense creativity, artistry, passion, and entertainment value of these singers, I learn to appreciate them, to the extent, I have their songs in my playlist. Sometimes, It’s either we hate or love singers for their packaging or branding but not necessarily related to their talent. 🙂

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  2. June
    Sep 15, 2013 @ 22:13:52

    I listen to pop songs, even appreciate them but I don’t have high regard to them compared to other genres. Pop songs after all are usually geared towards appealing to the bandwagon with the main intention of generating revenues.

    If I am to choose, I want them songs to stay as they are and just go through an evolution as they could. If pop songs are food, I want them to be served in a buffet where they both appeal to the vegetarian and the meat eaters. I don’t want this buffet table to be serving to a limited groups or classes of diners. I want to serve everything whether healthy or not. I want the diners to follow their own choices and pick their own food as to what would appeal to their palate.

    Moreover, it’s not the music industry’s responsibility to instill values to many yet it’s their responsibility to label their music according to a certain taste. Values Education should be the responsibility of parents or guardians. Responsible parenthood begets responsible offspring no matter how harsh the other influences may be. If I’m a parent, I want my children to pick their own choice of music but I would try my best to always communicate with them and discuss their choices. That way, they grow up with free spirits and not just some controlled individuals adding to the world’s monotony.

    I don’t want just purely clean pop songs, I want variety. I want songs to be expressions of everything good and bad about life. After all, I don’t want a perfect world, I want an imperfect one where individuals with diverse personalities get along and accept each other.

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