How Lady Gaga Could Become the New Tori Amos
You know, Gaga. We totally got off on the wrong foot. I mean sure, the shameless way in which you tore your weave straight off Teri Toye’s scalp and slipped into Róisín Murphy’s garments — which, darling, looked a little like sausage casing on you at the outset — really didn’t make me warm up to you. And then there was “Just Dance,” which sounded like the worst use of a Casio since the “Demo” button. And then came “Poker Face,” which was mildly more melodic, totally gratuitous, and promising … until that discordant rap, at which point it was an utter failure. But then — then came “Poker Face” … acoustic! Lives changed.
We collectively held our breaths. Tectonic plates shifted, clattered, resettled. We exhaled. And then, a generation of piano-hitting ladies (we’ll call them pianistas) bit their lips in anguish, before holding hands and coming together for a reprise of “Crucify,” watching helplessly as their careers tanked.
Okay, so that’s a bit much.
But before you Ears with Feet, or whatever, unleash the wrath of Isis on me, screaming, “Lady Gaga as the Next Tori Amos? Bish plz. I’mma kick your ass so far back to the Choirgirl Hotel that you’ll feel little earthquakes for the rest of your life,” consider how precariously Tori Amos has withstood time. So precariously right? Right. Good, we’re in agreement then.
Not too long ago, capable pianistas like Regina Spektor and Charlotte Martin came out of the record label wilderness alive and well enough to invoke comparisons to Amos and siphon profits from her fans. But since then, the spark around their names has fizzled out. Then we all tired of the biological algebra that spawned them (vaguely emo chick with a piano + nondescript kookiness) was a trope more overdone than diva breakdowns. Which is probably why none of us flinched the least bit when Regina Spektor let us know about her new single.
But finally, after all that malarkey that we’ll call “her first few singles,” we got a much more honest Lady Gaga by way of that acoustic “Poker Face.” A Gaga capable of piano acrobatics more amazing than Amos’ simultaneous manhandling of Bösendorfer and Wurlitzer. This is where Gaga finally came into her own. But in doing so, she also upset the pianista status quo, which is what Amos and Bush did when they first tore through the world in different ways — in a time when it was uncommon to be seen perched behind a behemoth baby grand.
It’s not that Gaga is Salieri to Amos’ Mozart, but that she’s simply a happy, poppy chick with a less mired view of sex. And as such, with her piano, Toye ‘do, and contrived couture, she’s poised to put a spirited spin on a boring musical trope — one that we’re all-too-willing to lap up. And because we — even the snarliest among us — are willing to take what she’s handing out, it looks possible that Gaga could be inducted as the new chick-with-piano that we want to obsess about. Besides, what she lacks in the substance-defining honesty her peers have sharpened their livelihoods upon, she more than makes up for in flash, street-smarts, and a brand of self-awareness disturbingly absent from said peers. Lately, and most notably, by way of her deliciously overlong Jonas Åkerlund-directed “Paparazzi” video.
Regina Spektor Tickets Radio City Music Hall Tickets New York Tickets