Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga

I don't spend a lot of time listening to pop music, but it happens. Admittedly, the rest of the radio stations programmed into the car radio have to suck balls before it happens, but that isn't really uncommon some days.

So I clicked over earlier this week, and heard "the Edge of Glory." I didn't know it was Lady Gaga until the DJ informed me when it was over. I thought maybe it was some retro song from the 80's.

And speaking of retro stuff from the 80's, if you listen very carefully, Clarence Clemons even gets a saxophone solo around two thirds of the way through. (In fact, the song was released in May of this year, and a month later, he was dead. Coincidence? I don't think so...)

Like most pop songs, she builds the entire song around her hook. In this case, the chorus is this:
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
OK, it's Lady Gaga. So it's probably unfair of me to expect The Leaves of Grass. But... well, this is, after all, pop music, so I guess you aren't actually supposed to listen to the lyrics. Or something.

But "glory"? I don't think that word means what you think that word means, Ms. Germanotta.
glo·ry
noun
/ˈglôrē/ (plural: glories)
1. High renown or honor won by notable achievements
2. Magnificence; great beauty
3. A thing that is beautiful or distinctive; a special cause for pride, respect, or delight
But there is, I suppose, a religious aspect to the word.
4. Praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to God
5. The splendor and bliss of heaven
6. A luminous ring or halo, esp. as depicted around the head of Jesus Christ or a saint
And maybe that's what she's going for. The religious aspects of the word, as in "oh god oh god Oh God OH GOD OH GOD!!"

Because this is quite possibly one of the shallowest songs imposed upon the pop music scene since Harry Wayne Casey and his Band of the Sun explained how we should put on our boogie shoes in order to boogie with him.

There are only two real verses to this song, and neither one is challenging lyrically. Removing the repeat of "tonight, yeah baby/tonight, yeah baby" (although god knows that repetition seems to be the theme of this song), the first "verse" consists of:
There ain't no reason you and me should be alone tonight,
I got a reason Yoo-hoo should take me home tonight.
Yes, she rhymed "home" and "alone" - I've heard worse. But she either had a problem fitting the second line into the rhythm, or she's being taken home by a chocolate drink.
I need a man that thinks it's right when it's so wrong tonight
Right on the limits where we know we both belong tonight.

It's hard to feel the rush
To push the dangerous,
Yes, she's pushing an adjective.
I'm gonna run back to, to the edge with you,
Again with the rhythmic problems. You wouldn't think that a good Catholic girl would have a problem with the Rhythm Method, but she decided that the solution was to repeat the word "to."
Where we can both fall o'er in love.
And she may not be Walt Whitman, but she channels some 18th Century Irish poet or another, because that word is very clearly o'er.

And then the chorus, which consists of endless repetitions of the phrase "I'm on the edge of glory," which she starts by interspersing the phrases "hanging on a moment of truth" and "hanging on a moment with you," but she gives up and just repeats the phrase "the edge." And then she gets to the second verse, if you can call it that.
Another shot before we kiss the other side tonight,
I'm on the edge of something final we call life tonight.
I'm not clear what she means by "something final" here, but that's OK. Neither is she - she's just glad she found words that fit the line.
Put on your shades because I'm dancing in the flames tonight.
It isn't hell if everybody knows my name tonight.
And that, in fact, describes Lady Gaga to a T. She wants to always be the most noticeable person in the room.

She then repeats the verse about "pushing dangerous" (which might make it a second chorus, except it's more like a punctuation mark on the verse), and that's it for new lyrics. Not even halfway through the song, and she gives up on words; the song is five-and-a-half minutes long, and at the 2:27 mark, she's done. She spends the remaining three minutes repeating the words "I'm on the edge with you."

Over and over, and over again.

Her video really doesn't mean anything, except to exemplify the words she centers her life around - "Look at me!" Clarence Clemons is the only other person who appears in the video: it's mostly her, prancing around in an S&M hooker outfit, completely eschewing her usual band of backup dancers.

If you absolutely have to see it, here it is.



Her personal trainer should be commended. Her hairstylist? (Or more likely, "wigmaker.") Not so much.

3 comments:

Sex Mahoney said...

That's a little harsh for a pop song analysis, but I appreciate the sentiment.

I have a huge bias toward Lady Gaga, but that's mostly because she's a very attractive lady.

And that's really the point of Gaga (or any pop star): "I'm hot look at me."

For further reading on what later becomes of these pop starts, see South Park episode 'Britney's New Look'.

sfraser657 said...

It's sex entertainment. That's the point. Personally I think it's really good. I love the outfit in this song, especially when viewed from the back.

Nameless Cynic said...

Yeah, like I said, her trainer should be commended. But there isn't really a song here. It's more like an instrumental with some word salad tossed in.

And with that outfit, it wouldn't be a challenge to toss her salad, either.