The time has come for a comparison of two artistes, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
Like most humans, both have certain things in common. Both need air to breathe and both have two eyes, hair, a nose, a mouth and tattoos. And both are pop singers.
Alas, this is where our similarities end. For both are as different as Pepsi and Coke, as Crest toothpaste and the generic brand, as a tofu burger and a Big Mac.
Gaga is about self-expression; whereas Rihanna is about self-promotion and self-exposure. On one cover of Rolling Stone, she donned some short-shorts with a slit that would make most bathing suits seem modest by comparison, and most of her dresses expose something or look like they’re about to. I’m just waiting for her to wear a dress made from Saran Wrap, all in the name and pursuit of artistic expression, of course.
Then there is that music, which will soon become anthems at strip clubs across the nation.
“Man Down,” is about a man that she downed after he sexually assaulted her at a party. Of course, she has a right to be angry, hurt and humiliated, but gunning him down then singing about in reggae-style fashion with a chorus of “Rum pa pa pum, rum pa pa pum, rum pa pa pum” isn’t the best thing to do, either.
In defense to the less than positive feedback, she tweeted, “U can’t hide your kids from society, or they’ll never know how to adapt. This is the REAL WORLD.” May be so, but anyone whose idea of real world coping skills includes giggling with thugs and shooting people isn’t going to be out in the REAL WORLD too long.
Another trademark Riri song is “S&M” which is so out there and direct there’s no room for a flicker of flirtation or innuendo.
“I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me.”
No wonder ten-years olds are modeling sexy lingerie instead of making lanyards. All I know is that if I had a child that emulated her, I would have been doing penance and some serious praying.
Then there is Lady Gaga who is mainly about love and empowerment. She calls her fans “little monsters,” and she is the mother monster. This isn’t just clever marketing; this is the real deal.
Her hit, “The Edge of Glory,” with a video featuring the late Clarence Clemmons of the E Street Band, may begin like a Rihanna song with talk of going home together and how it’s so right, but it soon veers off where Rihanna never does.
“I’m on the edge of glory,” Gaga sings in one part of the song, “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. I’m on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge. I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you. I’m on the edge with you.”
There isn’t anything about whips and chains or putting holes in someone who has put holes in your dignity and being. This is about only being with someone.
Or another one of her hits, “Born this way,” which is really about self-love and self-acceptance in a world that sometimes tries to quell those who are different.
Years from now, we will be reading about Rihanna with mascara unintentionally running down one eye and lipstick smeared while Gaga will be the head of a record label or speaking at the UN, should it last that long.