Bleh with Barry

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Super Bowl Halftime and Lady Gaga’s Subtle but Powerful Protest

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By now, you’ve probably seen Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show (if not, it’s above). It was pretty epic. However, many people were expecting her to be more political. And I think that she was in her own subtle yet powerful way.

 

I think that rhetorically, Lady Gaga’s halftime performance is interesting. A lot of people went in expecting her to be overtly political and to use her platform to address Trump’s politics and policies. However, I think that she does that here and in a way that puts the ideas of oneness, American for all, and acceptance into the minds of those watching. This is interesting because it makes me wonder how many more her subtle message connected with.

Starting with “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land,” and a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, she set up that this was a performance that was about America. Then, she moved into a line “I’m on the edge” from “Edge of Glory.” This makes me wonder if this was a move to set up her precarious position as an entertainer and the line that she’s walking here with her politics, which helps make sense of “Poker Face” coming next. As she puts on a show that people didn’t expect, she has to keep up a face that you “can’t read.”

The next song is the most overt as she sings “Born this Way.” The song proclaims:

“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are”
She said, “‘Cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say.”

And she moves into the bridge which is the most overtly political and biting of Trump’s administration (with Pence in the audience no less):

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
’cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life,
I’m on the right track baby,
I was born to survive.
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made,
I’m on the right track baby,
I was born to be brave.

This speaks to the spirit of those who are fighting the injustice that is present all around us. Fighting the bans, fighting the infringing of rights.

Her next two songs are party anthems “Telephone” and “Just Dance”, which might feel oddly placed; however, they work perfectly to amp up the crowd and subtly to pull away from the overt politicism of the last song. Yet it could also be said these songs are to remind that even in the midst of these hard times one needs to “just dance” not to be consumed as “It’ll be okay.” Moreover, with these being dance music, again, we have the spirit of LGBTQ being brought forward as dance music and congregation takes place in LGBTQ bars all over the nation.

Finally, Gaga segues into her final songs: “Million Reasons” and “Bad Romance.” Even before she begins the song, Gaga says, “How are you doing Texas? America? World? How you doing tonight? We’re here to make you feel good. You wanna feel good with us?” This statement and the first line of the song “Million Reasons” brings us back to our theme of America (and arguable the world):

You’re giving me a million reasons to let you go
You’re giving me a million reasons to quit the show
You’re givin’ me a million reasons
Give me a million reasons
Givin’ me a million reasons
About a million reasons

Here, we are faced with the idea that even in the midst of the turmoil and the “million reasons to let. . .go” that we “just need one good one to stay” whatever that may be. As the beat picks up and we go into “Bad Romance,” we are ultimately reminded of (hopefully) the temporal nature of our current affairs as we are “caught in a bad romance” and will ultimately find ourselves out of it.

If you team this with the visual rhetoric (of which there is so much Gaga’s ultra-fashion pants suit, the diversity of the dancers moving freely around the stage, the reminiscence of the lights the crowd carries to those of protests and mourning ceremonies), I think that Lady Gaga does protest in her own way. She brings attention to certain issues and shows us the indefatigable nature of the human spirit even in the face of uncertainty. And although she yells “Super Bowl 51” at the end, she literally drops the mic before diving into the crowd.

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Song in My Head: “The Only Conclusion” by Jamie Lawson

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So after seeing Jamie Lawson at the Ryman last night, I have had this song in my head. Now, I will tell you that I had heard of Lawson before hearing him last night. A friend had mentioned him, and I thought “Cool, I’ll have to check him out.” And like an asshole, I did not check him out… Fast-forward to last night, he wowed me with his performance at the Ryman, and needless to say, I had to download his album (self-titled Jamie Lawson… just in case you wanted to know because you should go download it or something).

From his performance, one song stuck in my mind: “The Only Conclusion.” Lawson told the crowd an anecdote about this song. He said that he wrote it after watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Long story short, the song is inspired by Sheldon Cooper’s analytical side when it comes to love. This song speaks to me, and I can’t really explain why. However, the line “I think I may have figured out why / Finally found the very reason / For all this confusion the only conclusion is love” really speaks to me. So enjoy the song.

The fact that Jamie Lawson seems a little nerdy and has a lot of fun with the song helps too.

Written by barryr22

March 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

The Song in My Head: “Young Love” by Eli Lieb

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So this song has been in my head for a while now. I can’t even explain why, but it’s so damn catchy. And the idea that “this love is getting dangerous” is one that I can understand quite well. So enjoy.

Written by barryr22

March 8, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Fun, music, Musical

Playlist of the Week

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While only a few songs, these are these particular ones are on repeat on a playlist right now.

“Secret”–Huntington

“La La La”–Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith

“Collide”–Howie Day

“Some Nights”–Fun

“Hard Out Here”–Lily Allen

Written by barryr22

March 8, 2016 at 12:18 am

Posted in music, Musical, Playlists

The Song in My Head: “Fuck You” by Lily Allen

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This song is brilliant on so many levels. And because of a rough day, I think that it might be my anthem for tonight. So enjoy. Also, have I mentioned that Lily Allen is my spirit animal?

Written by barryr22

March 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Fun, music, Musical, Songs

The Song in My Head: “First Time He Kissed a Boy”

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I found this song today. It popped up in my YouTube feed, and I clicked into it. It’s from Danish band Kadie Elder. And its message is comes from the turmoil that is teenage years in the lives of young men and women. They move from the “first time he kissed a boy” to lead us into what comes next. The idea behind the song is simple, but for me, it sends a positive message.

Growing up in the rural South where being gay / trans / bi is oftentimes looked down on and even seen as a black mark on persons, I think we need a little more of the understanding and positive message inherent here to push the hate and bigotry out of the way. Enjoy the song and the video.

 

Written by barryr22

March 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Song in my Head: Place of Paradise by Eli Lieb

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This song has been in my head lately. It’s by a relative unknown artist (I know he’s known but not on a grand scale). I found him from his cover of “Wrecking Ball” which is fantastic, but this is an interesting song too. Enjoy.

 

Written by barryr22

February 9, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Posted in music