Building nothing out of nothing

I'm not going to turn this into another affront to Lady Gaga, but I found this post particularly interesting. Don't ask me how I found it—it's a long story. But the concept itself blew me away: Lady Gaga for hipsters. This video, a strikingly high-quality studio cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" by a band that looks like they paid a lot of money to look like they're really poor.

I did some rudimentary research and learned that the hipster-Gaga is referred to as Lissie and she's blowing up the Internet. She performs a lot of, uh, what do they call them, uh, "intimate" covers of more glammed-up pop songs, it seems. She also has a lot of original compositions that sound like a cross between Neko Case with a sore throat and a bored Elizabeth Powell, which is cool I guess. It's interesting to see a group so bland get so much media attention from MySpace and the like, but I guess that's just capitalism. If Land of Talk (Powell) wanted to get picked up by a major marketing machine like MySpace they should've recorded higher quality promo videos. But that's neither here nor there.

On this "hipster GaGa" joint, Lissie & co. have taken the vocals at face value while stripping the synth hook altogether. They add churning, meandering guitars that wind up exactly where they started—nowhere. From where I'm sitting, the cover is literally void of substance or creativity. But Lissie's wearing plaid and strumming triumphantly so we're supposed to take her as the next Liz Phair. Her band includes guys with beards and she has a quirky way to spell her name, so that makes them "hipster" enough for the "hipsterspinster" and her Internet blog. Life is what you make it, and apparently so is linguistics.

Whether my side should be considered maligning an abuse of semantics or an indictment on society depends on how insulted you are, which probably says a lot about you and your relative hipster-dom. At the WUD "Hipster Culture Panel" last year, there was only one thing that everybody on board could agree on: Nobody knows what "hipster" really means, but the ones who deserve the label never openly admit to being one. And I guess those who do call themselves hipsters listen to stuff like Lissie, stuff with no substance but plenty of style. Just like that Internet web blog. Either the hipsterspinster has no idea what she's talking about or what she's talking about makes no sense at all.

Just for a reference point: Nowadays, THIS is probably the most hipster thing around. Behind the veil of South African street culture, Die Antwoord take and amplify every bit of irony left in us. Song so bad; Zef so fresh.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. But I just wanted to clarify a few things. My post was about Lady GaGa, and not about Lissie. I happened to come across the video from another blog. I actually don't listen to Lissie, and when I tried out some of her original songs linked on YouTube, I found them quite boring and bland. I wouldn't consider her "Lady GaGa for hipsters", because she's not like Lady GaGa, plain and simple. Different music styles, different audience. My post was simply to reflect that Lady GaGa's music is apparently catching the attention of artists outside of the pop genre.