This is probably well-trodden ground, but I do not read much music crit/discussion; I find things I like and listen. (That’s somewhat reductive, I’m not trying to imply that I’m uninterested but rather that mostly I don’t seek music reviews and discussions out)
Tradegood If Three Houses is Madonna, then Engage is Lady Gaga.
Reading this caused a bit of an epiphany: Lady Gaga really is a modern (even though she’s “old news” by now) Madonna. A talented performer rather than just a pretty face in front of someone else’s work. Seemingly disinterested in the “right way” to be a cog in the Industry Machine. Misunderstood by many for several reasons; “just a brainless pop star”, “just looking for shock value”.
Her work, much like Madonna’s, rides the line of exploiting obvious pop appeal for radio play and syndication while not just being mindless formulaic pop. She’s done “media stunts” that have all sorts of people confused and upset. I remember the media furore around Like A Prayer and its video clip; it feels like Lady Gaga had had similar noise following her.
Also, I can respect that she is genuinely good at what she does. There’s an album she did with Tony Bennett that is a showcase of her ability to perform rather than just be produced.
There are few modern pop performers that I can see have real talent, as opposed to being a marketable look or personality for the moment. We need more Madonnas and more Lady Gagas.