A reader writes:
Anyone with an ear for music and a sense of humor can instantly tell that Gaga was doing a parody of Swedish pop music when she wrote and recorded “Alejandro.” It is obviously a satire and homage to “Don’t Turn Around” and “Fernando.” There is no copying here - just humor, admiration and genius.
I heard the same Ace of Base influence in Alejandro and I think it's intentional. To me, her music is like a super mash-up of all the great female pop acts dating all the way back to the disco era. She has the presence of Cher, the sugary pop stylings of ABBA, the provocative confidence of Madonna, the vocal courage of Christina (if not the same level of chops), the ability to pick an irresistible beat a la Britney, and the euro-electro-techno-pop sensibility of a Cascada or, yes, Ace of Base. The genius of Lady Gaga is that she takes only the best pieces from each artist and combines them to form a sound that is both completely new and reassuringly familiar.
To critique her as "unoriginal" reminds me of what people used to say about sampling in hip-hop.
As a pop-music apologist, I often find myself fighting with my friends and pretty much anyone else who refuses to look at pop in a complex, critical way. Ten years ago I was defending Britney and Christina and even the Backstreet Boys for making great pop music. Now it's the same with Lady Gaga. How can anyone not appreciate the power of a perfectly crafted pop song? To me, being unable to appreciate making new songs from old sounds is just a crazy mindset to have when thinking about modern music. The question is, does the beat get you or not? Do you nod your head or tap your foot? That's good music.
It's important to note that all of Gaga’s videos and songs make strong references to other artists that she admires. Shout-outs to Madonna, Michael Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, and the list goes on. It’s fun, outrageous, over the top joyful music, mixed with seriousness about being yourself - no matter how weird or freaky.
Another passes along an Idolator post from last August:
Yesterday the news went around that Irish dance innovator Roisin Murphy had called out the steamroller that is Lady GaGa for ripping off her style, and the speaking-up was cheered, as the similarities between the two performers’ looks had been a point of contention for a while among connoisseurs of really good pop music.
As it turned out, though, Murphy was in fact the victim of another game of Press Telephone, and issued a statement yesterday entitled “STOP PRESS! WHEN SHOULDER PADS CLASH!!” It read, in part, “I respect Lady Gaga’s work as an artist and as a fellow fashion icon. She is a very talented performer, playing the piano, singing live and dancing too. I Don’t Care about Shoulder pads!”
Of course, Murphy’s lack of being bothered didn’t stop a member of Oh No They Didn’t from putting together a matrix of Roisin and GaGa similarities. And, well… it’s very striking, to say the least.