Perhaps it’s all just part of the Fame, but we’re shaking our heads at the number — and diversity — of respected music stars who have taken aim at pop queen Lady Gaga lately. It’s been a long time since a mainstream star has triggered so much open, public debate over every aspect of their art. Some (Roisin Murphy, Kerli, etc.) charge that Gaga jacked their style or look. Others (Team Aguilera) accuse her of ripping off their music, while M.I.A. blasts her for adopting avant-garde style without the substance (see them face off in pics here). How long can Gaga remain on top when the rest of the pop world is creating such a toxic atmosphere around her?
Gaga vs. Christina Aguilera
This is one of the first, and maybe the most historically significant, fights in Gaga’s career. (It’s also one of the best, because unlike almost all the others, it centers on two artists who are both relevant, global stars on relatively equal ground.)
The most recent volley in the ongoing Gaga vs. X-Tina battle (which dates back to early 2009) came earlier this month, when producer Claude Kelly (who wrote four tracks for Christina’s upcoming Bionic) told VIBE, that comparisons to the “Dirrty” singer are “crap… Christina Aguilera has been around for over 10 years now. As far as pop goes, she is the defining voice of today’s music. She can do things with her voice that I haven’t heard anybody else do.”
Fair enough. But Akon, who gave Gaga a much-needed big break when he signed the then-unknown singer to his Kon Live Distribution label, shot back at Kelly’s claim, and spoke to VIBE himself. The singer/producer says he misses “the old Christina Aguilera” and there’s “not even any competition” as to who is the more successful pop act. “You are actually giving Christina too much credit. She always had her cool little look and way about how she went about things. But soon as Gaga came out everything switched up. Christina stepped out of her own shell to become something different.”
Yes, the producers and associates are doing the talking now — and that may change as Christina steps out and starts doing promotion for her album — but back in the beginning, Christina and Gaga weren’t afraid to face each other directly.
All the way back in early 2009, many were accusing Christina of ripping off a then-relatively unknown Gaga’s look — the two pop stars shared a curiously similar taste in hairstyles and stage wardrobes.. However, Christina denied that she even knew who Gaga was: “I’m not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman. I just wasn’t sure. I really don’t spend any time on the Internet, so I guess I live a little under a rock in that respect.”
Gaga was more than happy for the comparisons, since she was essentially still just a blip on the pop-culture radar before this “scandal” positioned her closer to the spotlight. “They saw a huge, Grammy-winning star who’s been around for years and they recognized Lady Gaga,” she reportedly said. “That to me is quite an accomplishment.”
Gaga vs. Madonna
It’s a little too obvious to compare Gaga to Madonna, but the similarities cannot be ignored: both are Italian-Americans, make pure pop music and share an aggressive, edgy sexuality as the focal point of their persona. (And hey, both get their own Glee episodes!) Gaga has compared herself to Madge.
But even if Madonna fans claim Lady Gaga ripped off Madonna’s whole schtick, she’s not mad—she tells MTV she’s “flattered” by the comparisons. In fact, the only time these two have really been at one another’s throats was on Saturday Night Live (and even that faux-fight was tepid and awkwardly staged at best).
Gaga vs. Roisin Murphy
The eccentric Irish singer allegedly started the feud herself, telling Irish Central, “Lady Gaga is just a poor imitation of me. She has copied my style.” Roisin backpedaled the next day, blogging that she had been forced into a “tabloid trap” and that that quote had been entirely fabricated. Still, even we couldn’t help but push the comparisons even further, posting many incriminating photos that scream fashion thievery on Gaga’s part (including crustacean habdashery).
Gaga vs. Kerli
Kerli, on the other hand, does not deny making disparaging comments towards Gaga—she couldn’t since Kerli posted a war of the words on her own MySpace blog. “It’s kinda f#@!ing funny that Lady Gaga ALSO has yellow hair now,” Kerli wrote. “I wish she would f*#@ing stop ripping off everything I do. F#@!ing bitch.”
She apologized the next day, stating she was just mad that “every time I do something different and I post a picture up on MySpace, she’s also looking the same way within two week’s time.” Not much of an apology, is it?
Gaga vs. M.I.A.
M.I.A. blasted Gaga in a recent NME interview. “None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is,” the singer complained. “She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know?” She also went on a tirade about all the product placement in the “Telephone” video. We’re chalking this one up to be just a bad attitude, as M.I.A. pretty much slams everything under the sun in the same interview. (On the other hand, Gaga and M.I.A. do rock some pretty similar poses — check out this highly incriminating Buzznet gallery for proof).
Gaga vs. Fox News
Fox commentator Sandy Rios called Gaga and her “Telephone” music video, “poison for the minds of our kids” and compared her to a child molester. Let’s not waste anymore time on this one.
Gaga vs. Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond is clearly not a fan of the “Telephone” video, either. “I’m a parent, and I’m upset about this,” Osmond said in a statement. “I wonder whether the music industry might need to rethink its marketing policies with regard to making an explicit music video containing profanity, sexual exploitation, nudity, and graphic violence available to anyone with Internet access.”
Gaga vs. Paris Hilton
We’re not sure how much we believe this one, but we might as well throw it on here. Apparently, according to “a blogger” (thanks, journalists over at OK!, for being so specific), The Fame is directed at how “anyone can feel famous” and points to Gaga’s high school classmate Paris Hilton as the driving source behind that statement. “Lady Gaga is clearly talking about the do-nothing heir-head she went to school with,” said the pun-loving anonymous blogger, who also claims Paris was fuming mad. We’re not exactly sure how angry Paris would be with Gaga, since she paid homage to her former classmate by rocking a hair bow. (Plus, we really, really don’t want to believe that Paris Hilton is the muse behind The Fame.)
Lady Gaga vs. Cascada
Okay, we’re responsible for starting this one. As we’ve stated before, the German pop band’s “Pyromania” is almost a direct lift of “Poker Face” (complete with a male background vocalist declaring “ma-ma” almost identical to the one in Gaga’s song). And “Evacuate The Dancefloor” is pretty much the poor man’s version of “Just Dance.”
Bottom line: does Gaga need to work to mend fences with any of these artists? Or should she simply continue to tend to her little monsters and let the chips fall where they may?