Wednesday, June 9, 2010

THE INAUGURAL SCOPISAT VIDE-OFF: Kylie 'All The Lovers' vs Gaga 'Alejandro'

Welcome to the very first ScopiSat VideOff, where two videos face off in an EPIC BATTLE TO THE DEATH. Each video will be rated according to a number of largely meaningless factors which are then assigned arbitrary point values.

The ALL NEW ScopiSat VideOff (c) is being trotted out now because, well, we feel like it, and also because Gaga and Kylie have given us two superstar videos that couldn't be more different, each competing for the same audience.

First, here's Kylie:

And the Gaga:

Now, in response to HUGE DEMAND (read: no demand whatsoever), here is a dodgy MS Word cut and paste comparison chart.

Let's see how they stack up, shall we:

There. That's decided.

Though the chart is certainly exhaustive, we feel that there is somehow more to be discussed here. "An opinionated editorial on the state of pop music and the deeper meaning of the differing ways artists choose to express themselves?" you ask?

Yes. Yes exactly.

Much of pop discourse has been about Kylie/Madonna and Gaga/Madonna. But most of what has been said can be applied to an EPIC KYLIE/GAGA SHOWDOWN as well. For instance, a lady from The Telegraph once said "Simply, Madonna is the dark force; Kylie is the light force." Similarly, Rufus Wainwright famously told The Observer that "[Madonna] subverts everything for her own gain. I went to see her London show and it was all so dour and humourless... I love Kylie, she's the anti-Madonna. Self-knowledge is a truly beautiful thing and Kylie knows herself inside out. She is what she is and there is no attempt to make quasi-intellectual statements to substantiate it. She is the gay shorthand for joy."

It's becoming apparent that each quote could be just as easily be applied here, by simply replacing "Madonna" with "Gaga." Perhaps the biggest thing that watching the videos side by side exposes is just how concerned Lady Gaga is with making her image and statement in a very self-conscious fashion, while Kylie has emerged as an artist completely confident in her talents and strengths, but more importantly herself and who she is. To break it down, Gaga seems like the high school girl trying desperately to be shocking in a bid to be noticed and somehow find herself, while Kylie is the confident, self assured college woman who couldn't give two shits what anyone else thinks - she just wants to have fun.

Pop is about both things equally - it is a vehicle through which many find themselves and glean inspiration for where they'd like to go, but pop is also about expressing exactly who we are right at this moment, and celebrating everything that we are and that exists as it is.

Gaga, a still-emerging artist with visions of a future where the "freaks" turn the tables on the rest of the world, speaks to the youth of today who all feel a bit like "little monsters" in their schools and social cliques. She necessarily condemns one view while espousing her own, in a constant effort to shape the future.

Kylie, on the other hand, a seasoned pop star who has seen artists come and go, seems to recognize that this struggle of subculture versus culture will always be going on - that the subculture will one day become the culture and a new subculture will wage war against it. Instead of diving into that ultimately futile war, Kylie takes the focus off of us and instead celebrates the genuine contentedness she feels in her life right at this very moment.

All this seems to be a bit overdramatic, admittedly. It's "just pop music" after all. But these two videos represent two equally dynamic world views. One is always clawing toward a future that may never come, while the other celebrates each moment as it happens.

So which one are you, pop fans? Are you a Gaga or a Kylie?

EDIT: One reader noted that we are all probably a little of both Kylie and Gaga (and indeed some of us may be neither, though we'd never want to meet those people...what a sad life they must live), and still more have noted since this was originally posted that it comes off a bit harsh toward Gaga. We have nothing against the woman - any casual perusal of this blog will reveal a high degree of respect for the Lady. She's a newer artist, and one that comes at pop and life with a very different - and very successful - approach. Her music is brilliant, her videos are incredible, and her persona is delightfully outlandish.

We're still totes a Kylie though.