It wouldn't feel correct not writing something about Joanna Newsom at least once a month, just like it wouldn't feel right not reading something about Lady Gaga every few days/hours/minutes or so. Thankfully the two have now been neatly combined, as the High Priestess of Harp 'went off on one' in a recent interview with The Guardian.
She said, in less-than-glowing terms on Miss Germanotta:
"I'm mystified by the laziness of people looking at how she presents herself, and somehow assuming that implies there's a high level of intelligence in the songwriting. Her approach to image is really interesting, but you listen to the music, and you just hear glow sticks."
She's certainly stranger to 'presenting'. Newsom added:
"Smart outlets for musical journalism give her all this credit, like she's the new Madonna. Although I'm coming from a perspective of also thinking Madonna is not great at all. I'm like, fair enough: she is the new Madonna, but Madonna's a dumb-ass!"
Smart outlets for musical journalism? Where?! And Madonna not being great at all?! Give over! Later on, after the interview finished, she e-mailed a clarification to her "late afternoon dopiness", in which she said she may have contradicted herself. Fair enough, nobody wants to confuse.
"My problem isn't actually with Lady Gaga. But there's not much in her music to distinguish it from other glossy, formulaic pop. She just happens to wear slightly weirder outfits than Britney Spears. But they're not that weird – they're mostly just skimpy. She's fully marketing her body/sexuality; she's just doing it while wearing, like, a 'fierce' telephone hair-hat."
Ha! She then goes on to talk about Gaga's sexuality and general weirdness of persona.
"Her sexuality has no scuzziness, no frank raunchiness, in the way that, say, Peaches, or even Grace Jones, have – she's Arty Spice! And, meanwhile, she seems to take herself so oddly seriously, the way she talks about her music in the third person, like she's Brecht or something. She just makes me miss Cyndi Lauper."
Again, fairly reasoned arguments, though she did once again almost retract what she said about Madonna. Almost.
"I shouldn't have called Madonna a dumb-ass. Her music and she have just gotten so boring to me, this last decade. I think maybe she doesn't hold her money very gracefully, the way some people can't hold their drink. But one thing she is surely not is dumb."
Good analogy! Though, the 'fierce' telephone hat bit was my favourite part of the interview, the Arty Spice bit was nice, too. Read the whole thing here. Miss Newsom plays the Royal Festival Hall with Roy Harper tonight and tomorrow. Should be grand.
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