8:36 pm - 08/14/2013

LadyGaga, KatyPerry &The Perils of Impossible Hype (+V Cover 4, did Gaga force Detox into lyric vid)

"Applause" and "Roar" are strong pop singles. But with all the pre-release buildup, is that enough?

Is it possible for two sky-high-profile, sure-to-be-smash pop songs to both be undervalued? Lady Gaga's "Applause" and Katy Perry's "Roar," two of the most anticipated singles of the year, happened to arrive on roughly the same day earlier this week (various Internet leaks of "Applause" swayed Gaga to push the single to digital retailers six days before its announced Aug. 19 release date). Little Monsters and KatyCats have lavished praise on the new songs from their respective idols, but in conversations I've had with objective pop obsessives since their releases, the response to each song has been rather lukewarm. I've read "Applause" be called "forgettable" and "nondescript," while "Roar" has been described as "sadly lacking in minor chords." Part of the basis for such criticism is that Gaga and Perry have deep catalogs of singles to abide by and live up to -- no matter what singles were going to lead Gaga's "ARTPOP" album and Perry's "Prism" LP, those songs were going to be measured next to "California Gurls" and "Bad Romance," among many others.

To be sure, "Applause" and "Roar" are both very good singles with wildly dissimilar intentions. The biggest knock against them, however, is that they don't live up to the hype -- imposed partially by fans and the media, sure, but mostly by the artists themselves. As "event" singles, "Applause" and "Roar" were bestowed with gaudy expectations in the weeks prior to their respective releases; these songs weren't set up to be perfectly fine pop songs, but life-affirming, genre-shifting and artist-defining compositions. With superstars like Gaga and Perry, perception can sometimes deliver a blow to reality, even if reality contains a pretty fantastic hook.

While Gaga still issues physical albums, releases radio singles and films music videos like any "traditional" contemporary artist, she has repeatedly made a point of distinguishing herself from her pop star peers by unleashing boundary-pushing peripheral material to supplement her verses and choruses. It's the reason why the "Applause" single artwork shows Gaga literally becoming part of her canvas, why "ARTPOP" is being released alongside an app that Gaga has described as combining "music, art, fashion and technology," and why her completely nude appearance in performance artist Marina Abramovic's "long-duration" experiment last week was really not all that shocking. On Tuesday, Gaga released a short video with a link to buy her new single… and said video was called "Lady Gaga Is Over," with text that claimed the singer was "no longer relevant" and a "flop." Simply put, Gaga loathes straightforwardness, and that mindset spills over to the promotion of her music. "IF I HAD TO GO ANOTHER MONTH WITHOUT PLAYING THE NEW MUSIC I THINK ID CHEW MY ARM OFF," she posted on Twitter on Aug. 8, after a press release promised in mid-July that the "ARTPOP" album "musically mirrors Gaga's creative process as she passes through the medium of each artist she collaborates with, scoring a blueprint on her journey." The message seems to be that Gaga is going to bowl over anyone describing her as "no longer relevant" with a pop opus unlike any other.

Gaga's ambitious declarations could be read as overhype, but she's also proven herself capable of raising the bar within the pop music idiom. Was "Applause" the next game-changing work of a singer who had already blown our minds a few times? The short answer is no -- "Applause" is an awesomely upbeat puff of synth-pop with a daring lyrical premise that doesn't quite hold together. Whereas Gaga's "Born This Way" single successfully amplified its message of individuality from a personal standpoint to an all-encompassing decree in the span of four minutes and change, "Applause's" statements on fame, pop criticism and specialized interests like reading (?) don't effortlessly segue into the chorus' comparatively commonplace calls of "Turn the lights on!" and "Make it real loud!" "Applause" is more effective when appreciated solely as a great dance cut, with throbbing rhythms that never quit and a multi-layered hook that ranks among Gaga's best. It's just that Gaga makes it difficult to appreciate such a single at face value when there's so many other assets spinning alongside and within it.

Unlike Gaga, Perry does not project herself as an artist that views the advancement of pop music as a matter of life and death. The California girl is comfortable with being better than anyone at delivering what the masses want to hear on the radio: her last eight singles, all from her 2010 "Teenage Dream" album and its 2012 "Complete Confection" re-issue, have peaked no lower than No. 3 on the Hot 100 chart. When "Roar" leaked in full two days before its intended release, the singer did not take to Twitter to bemoan what had happened. Instead, the Twitter outcry came from music fans criticizing "Roar" for two primary reasons -- the song was either charged as a rip-off of Sara Bareilles' recent single "Brave," or it was deemed too similar to Perry's "Teenage Dream" output. The series of video teasers Perry posted in the week before "Roar's" release hinted at a darker musical direction for the bubblegum-leaning artist, who was shown torching her iconic blue wig or gazing upon a funeral service for her past self. Perry was making clear that her KatyCats were about to hear their favorite singer, er, roar.

As a lead single, "Roar" is fairly bulletproof. The team of Perry, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee and Henry "Cirkut" Walter has become the '90s Bulls of pop songwriting at this point, exploiting every hook for maximum impact and making sure the listener can sing every word of the refrain after a single listen. The comparisons to "Brave" are far-fetched -- "Roar" is cleaner, more precise, with a similar message of empowerment but with an arena-rock sensibility. However, listeners are absolutely correct in pointing out that Perry's latest anthem could very well have fit in on the "Teenage Dream" track list. The suggestion that "Roar" is the sonic equivalent of Perry setting a match to her best-selling image is essentially like Will Smith promising fans that "Men in Black" would be a total change-up from "Independence Day." All of Perry's usual production and songwriting collaborators have returned for "Roar," and the song carries the same sing-song style and sticky-sweet lyrics that have defined her career. Here's the thing: if Perry had preceded the song by calling it a close cousin to "Firework" that will appeal to her fans and beyond, would anyone have objected? Perry prepared fans for an evolution that doesn't come on "Roar," and no matter how great the song is, one gets the vague whiff of a bait-and-switch.

"Don't focus on ANY blogger criticism," Gaga wrote on Sunday, after snippets of "Applause" had reached the Web. "I have been a producer/songwriter/musician for over 10 years. Trust the artist bloggers are not critics." Indeed, thousands of pop fans are trusting the artist, and the scattered negativity toward "Applause" and "Roar" hasn't hampered sales. Both singles are angling for huge starts on Billboard's Digital Songs chart next week, and could become the first songs to debut with more than 400,000 downloads sold in the same week. These songs will likely become inescapable in the coming months, and I think that the naysayers will gradually let go of their immediate reactions. "Applause" and "Roar" may not match the amped-up reputations that Gaga and Perry put forth ahead of their releases, but that doesn't mean that they're not worthy additions to each artist's canon of hits. It also doesn't mean that "ARTPOP" couldn't become this year's most jaw-dropping pop project, or that "Prism" won't push Perry into thrilling new territory. These singles are just the appetizers for Gaga and Perry's next endeavors, and our perception of their tastes may very well change once given the full courses.

Source: Billboard

Final Cover for V Magazine

Source: V Magazine

Did Gaga force Detox to participate in her lyric video?

Source: Detox's Twitter

I bolded the most stan-relevant parts of the article, but I think the whole thing is accurate on both counts. Both good songs: but is good good enough for either KP or Gaga?

(The answer, for me, is yes lmao.)
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pixiegerms 15th-Aug-2013 12:44 am (UTC)
i hate these god damn stan bait posts

it's the same thing over and over and over
dangerbuffalo 15th-Aug-2013 12:46 am (UTC)
It's only been a few days I can't take any more of this. I wonder how long it will go on?
pixiegerms 15th-Aug-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
if i hear one more version of HA POWA and WHEN WILL UR FAVES i'll kick a puppy
icangoforthat 15th-Aug-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
and they will continue well into next year at the latest. new brit, new rihanna, possible beyonce.
h0tfuss 15th-Aug-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 12:55 am (UTC)
I just wish it wasn't just katy vs gaga. I don't mind katy, she's just basic,and it gets boring.

let throw in the beyhive and britney stans
__nocturna 15th-Aug-2013 01:01 am (UTC)

it must be so exhausting to be a stan
felixdharma 15th-Aug-2013 02:35 am (UTC)
yes! how many posts of these do we have to bear with? ugh
agentnever 15th-Aug-2013 12:45 am (UTC)
lol Oh please, Detox.
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 12:56 am (UTC)
mte, doing THE most
zuluuluz 15th-Aug-2013 03:03 am (UTC)
bert_macklin 15th-Aug-2013 12:45 am (UTC)
yeah_banana 15th-Aug-2013 12:46 am (UTC)
can we limit the gaga vs. katy posts to, say, 20 or 30 a day?
jinnycalderone 15th-Aug-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
derezzed 15th-Aug-2013 01:01 am (UTC)
school ha
zuluuluz 15th-Aug-2013 03:05 am (UTC)
i love that you are living for this yaassss
jinnycalderone 15th-Aug-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
i love the final cover the most.
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 12:58 am (UTC)
hey jinny! do you think you could take an icon request??
jinnycalderone 15th-Aug-2013 01:04 am (UTC)
prolly, whats the request?
charliethebird 15th-Aug-2013 01:31 am (UTC)
what video is this icon from?! you're making me feel like a bad stan :(
tankmachine 15th-Aug-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
The comparisons to "Brave" are far-fetched -- "Roar" is cleaner, more precise, with a similar message of empowerment but with an arena-rock sensibility.

thank uuuu

sarah barrells or w/e did not invent the plinky piano and that is all the two songs have in common
catch22jump 15th-Aug-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Applause is definitely more blatantly copied
blkjck 15th-Aug-2013 12:55 am (UTC)
copied what exactly?
mister_novem 15th-Aug-2013 12:56 am (UTC)
from what
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 12:58 am (UTC)
lol let's hear this one
emptyobsidian 15th-Aug-2013 12:59 am (UTC)
They match identically when you lay one over the other. Like, I seriously thought it was sampled.
agentnever 15th-Aug-2013 01:05 am (UTC)
Stop being delusional. I thought Roar was on the radio the other day until it got to the chorus and I realized it was Brave.
fagsindubai 15th-Aug-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
i knew detox had better taste than to willingly partake in this mess

agentnever 15th-Aug-2013 01:14 am (UTC)
Detox seems to talk shit about everything she's been a part of that has gotten her recognition.

Just like Willam.
alyssa_edwards 15th-Aug-2013 01:27 am (UTC)
Truth. Detox gets on my nerves now.
catch22jump 15th-Aug-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
In terms of pop, applause>roar, even though both are ripoffs
costantinini 15th-Aug-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
some text
realblast3 15th-Aug-2013 01:18 am (UTC)
OMG LMAO This is one of my favorite movies but I wish it had this scene like this!!!
personalburgers 15th-Aug-2013 02:22 am (UTC)
LOL wonderful gif, woulda made the movie so much better! lol. god, kiki was so young in that movie.
zuluuluz 15th-Aug-2013 03:07 am (UTC)
horrorparties 15th-Aug-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
sigh these posts

roar didn't live up to the hype at all imo, talk about underwhelming. applause isn't mind-blowing but the chorus is perfect and more than makes up for the shortcomings in the verses
untiitled 15th-Aug-2013 01:00 am (UTC)
also seeing the drag performance of applause when they clapped to the pre-chorus gave me chills (lol) and made me see the huge potential the song will have live

gaga pls deliver at the vmas!!
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 01:11 am (UTC)
if gaga is anything, she's a PERFORMER! she'll put on a good show
icangoforthat 15th-Aug-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
the third cover is my fav. the second one is close.
fancycarousel 15th-Aug-2013 12:49 am (UTC)
catch22jump 15th-Aug-2013 12:51 am (UTC)
hahahey 15th-Aug-2013 12:51 am (UTC)
seriously, what is this pose
brenden 15th-Aug-2013 12:54 am (UTC)
teaching women how to insert tampons? why do u have a problem with this? why are u so misogynistic?
zoom_z00m 15th-Aug-2013 01:00 am (UTC)
imabadkid 15th-Aug-2013 01:20 am (UTC)
the ~touch of my hand~ pose, britney taught her
jinnycalderone 15th-Aug-2013 12:53 am (UTC)
zkeletonguns 15th-Aug-2013 12:49 am (UTC)
brenden 15th-Aug-2013 12:49 am (UTC)
i swear if that last mag cover and detox stuff werent in the post it'd have been deleted already so ty op for at least trying to condense
vanishingbee 15th-Aug-2013 01:18 am (UTC)
my pleasure
alienclit 15th-Aug-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
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