Lady Gaga Sucks

The internet blew up last week when Madonna said in an interview that Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” felt reductive, which sparked a larger question, “Who’s the real HBIC? Madonna or Lady Gaga?” My answer is, of course, Madonna. Here’s why.

When Lady Gaga first came out with her pre-packaged made-for-the-gay-club dance tracks, I was a little more than underwhelmed. I mean, sure, they were fun to dance to while hooking up with someone on the dance floor or pre-gaming at your apartment but they didn’t excite me. They were, at best, solid pop songs. But to be an icon, you have to have more than a hot single. You must also cultivate an interesting image which, according to her millions of fans, Lady Gaga already had down in spades with her outfits made entirely out of meat and whatnot. Snooze. Trying to sell yourself as a performance art piece doesn’t interest me. True pop stars like Madonna work because they’re both relatable and untouchable. Of course, they rely on smoke and mirrors to get people talking but at the core, their personality and indescribable “it” quality is what people latch on to. By drowning herself in elaborate costumes, Lady Gaga seems to be distracting the public from the fact that she’s just not that interesting.

Have you read about Lady Gaga’s life before she was a star? It’s sort of amazing. She grew up on the Upper West Side and went to the same school as Paris Hilton (Which is fine actually. No shame in the wealthy game.), went to NYU, dropped out and reportedly became a L.E.S. Artistes/cokehead. Her retellings of her lost year in the Lower East Side is what really annoys me. Apparently she lived in “squalor” in a one bedroom apartment and spent all her time blowing lines and dreaming of being a big star. Okay, first of all, you’re not roughing it when you live in a one-bedroom apartment by yourself in the Lower East Side. If that’s known as the #darkest period of your life, you’ve got it pretty good. I mean, who hasn’t become a temporary cokehead when they moved to the Lower East Side after dropping out of NYU? You just described every trustafarian’s life path, Gaga.

It doesn’t really bother me that Lady Gaga grew up wealthy though. It doesn’t make her any less worthy of being a pop star but it does make her stories of struggling before she became famous less compelling. I think the real reason why I’m not Team Gaga is because I’m just not emotionally invested in her. When I hear her music or speak in interviews, all I see is a lot of noise that’s covering up a hollow center. She doesn’t seem real to me, so why should I care about her?

The moment where it all clicked for me, the moment I realized Gaga was just a big bore, was when I recently saw the Madonna documentary, Truth Or Dare. Watching Madonna circa the early ’90s, you just can’t keep your eyes off of her. She comes off as equal parts “I’m just like you!” to “I’m NOTHING like you!” which is a rare but necessary combo for a pop icon. I was glued to every frame, falling in love with her chic clothes, beautiful face, and brash yet vulnerable personality. Afterwards, I watched some Gaga interviews on YouTube for comparison and felt nothing. Everything felt forced and boring, like every word was supposed to mean SOMETHING but, in the end, it meant nothing. I saw how much she had borrowed from Madonna and it made me angry. I decided that whatever Gaga was selling, I was not buying it.

I’m not saying Madonna is perfect. Her last album and forays into films have certainly been LOLworthy but it saddens me that this is who my generation has chosen to gravitate to as their pop leader. I understand Lady Gaga being a gay icon — she had that in the bag before she even released her first single — but I don’t understand her appeal to such a mass audience. It makes me feel like I’m not “getting” some crucial part of Gaga’s message or listening to her songs closely enough. Is something wrong with ME? I honestly don’t think so. Like most other people, I like my pop stars to be a mélange of fantasy and realism. As it stands, Lady Gaga has perfected the art of fantasy but is failing to resonate on a deeper level. She certainly knows how to get my attention but hasn’t the slightest idea how to keep it. TC mark

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Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Foobar Jenkins III

    Why is she okay for the gays but not the rest of us? Do they have lower standards? I mean she’s hollow and fake and boring (I agree) and crucially her music is pretty throwaway, but they’re not discerning enough to care because some rhetoric-filled slop like ‘born this way’ tells them it’s okay to be gay? Is that enough?

    • Ryan O'Connelll

      No, I didn’t mean for that to be demeaning to gays or suggest they have lower standards. Lady Gaga makes a great icon because she makes solid dance music, has a larger-than-life diva fantasy persona and most importantly, does AMAZING things for the gays. “Born This Way” is IMO a definitive gay anthem.

    • Guest

      Don’t generalise like that. Not every gay person worships her (please see: this article; me). I think a lot of gay people are plenty discerning enough to see that she’s absolutely rubbish.

  • Matt

    you’re trying too hard man. thought you’d write a polarizing article because the was getting attention at the time? if you’ve watched lady gaga interviews or her thanksgiving special, etc., you’d realize a lot of your writing here is invalid. 

    madonna is just trying to spark controversy to sell her album. 

    • GUEST

      I’ve been following Lady Gaga since she came out, and her stories don’t match or add up. She contradicts herself. She will say whatever she needs to say and try to make her look like a victim. I seen the pictures of her black eyes from the accident that happened on stage in NZ…she was hit on the top of her head, yet she got 2 black eyes??? Doesn’t make sense, just like most of her stories. I don’t buy the whole “i was bullied as a kid”. She said years ago, that her father paid her rent for one year, while she was trying to make it in the music industry…recently she said she had no help from her parents. Which one is it? She can’t remember her lies it seems to me.

  • Paul S

    Giver her a few years and GaGa will have just as many spiders nesting in her dusty vagina as Madonna does.

  • Kai

    It seems strange that more people aren’t saying this. There’s all kinds of  Lady Gaga “hate”, but it isn’t people pointing out how completely hollow the entire Lady Gaga presentation is. She’s all glitter and no substance.

    • Kai

      Whoops, I forgot that Gawker posted about this in 2010. I guess it’s just that no one has said it for a while.

  • Eric O.

    YES Madonna is so relatable and real! Love her fake British accent. Now she’s doing the whole dating a young guy thing and trying really hard to stay relevant before her new album release.


  • Brett

    You mad bro?

  • bec.

    I completely agree with you. Madonna > Gaga ANY DAY, ANY TIME.

  • Nathan Leohner

    The main advantage Lady Gaga has over Madonna is that she can produce good music, play instruments, and does more for the LGBT community than literally anyone else in the world.

    • Zainab Ashraf


    • GUEST

      Madonna did more for gays then Gaga ever did. Madonna was pro-gay when no one else dared to be. Lady Gaga is pro-gay during an era where everyone is. Madonna plays the guitar. I’m tired of watching Gaga lie through her teeth in interviews and her tweets. I’ve been following her since she came out, and her stories don’t match at all. Just so you know, I liked her when she first came out. I love The Fame Monster. I lost interest with Born This Way…sorry, but that album was weak.

  • ainsley

    completely disagree! lady gaga is one of the only artists i feel emotionally connected to. someone who is just strange with no “it” factor would be like katy perry or kesha. gaga’s fans feel completely emotionally invested in her. you just haven’t experienced the same inner transformation or been in need of her empowerment, so you can’t relate. lady gaga’s “substance” is psychotherapy and spiritual transformation mixed with salvador dali’s artistic imagination. madonna is seriously just obnoxious nowadays.

    • GUEST

      Wow. Sounds like you’re worshiping her. If you have been following her, have you not noticed how she changes her stories? They don’t add up. I’m sorry, but she’s a fraud. During Fame Monster, I was a huge fan, and everyone I know loved her. Since last year, most people I know who loved her, have changed their tunes towards her, because they see right through her, as did I.

  • srn8

    you’re jealous.

    • John Dowland

       Just as a general observation, I’ve never understood why people level the “jealousy” accusation at critics of celebrities, popular authors, &c. Like, what does this even mean? Does it mean covetous? I for one don’t want to be famous. Respected or well-esteemed,  maybe – so long as it was actually justified. But paparazzi/constant-interviews/no-private-life-whatsoever famous? I really don’t. Correct me here if I misunderstand your intentions – it’s just that as it stands it seems like a totally empty phrase.

      • srn8

        Well I think Ryan O Connel is jealous because I keep up with his postings and have a feel for his persona. He glamorizes “trust fund kids” “the Olsens” and such and based on his interests and all this hate he has for gaga, he seems jealous. He constantly posts his face on a lot of his articles. Truth be told, he isn’t photogenic or famous. I bet if he could be famous, and have a glamourous lifestlye and be as adored as gaga, he would. Lady Gaga was on Time’s cover for most inspirational people a few years back. From what I’m picking up on Ryan’s persona, it seems like he would love to have all of Gaga’s wealth and fame of he could. So no, it’s not an empty phrase for me, it’s something I wholeheartedly believe. 

  • Zainab Ashraf

    Everyone gets their time to shine. If Gaga has replaced Madonna, there is absolutely no harm done. Plus, Gaga’s never spoken a bad word about Madonna, unlike her who dissed Gaga in the most subtle way possible recently. That smug woman.
    Lady Gaga KNOWS how to connect with her fans. 
    I’m a proud Little Monster and I’ll support her forever. 

    • Erin

      Preach gurl!

    • GUEST

      You realize Lady Gaga lied on Jay Leno saying that Madonna and her people sent her an email praising BTW, right? That was her response when Jay Leno asked her about BTW sounding like “Express Yourself”. If I was Madonna, after all the years of hard work, and to find out someone who is copying me and then lies about me supporting them, I would be pissed. You seem like a good, honest person, and I don’t mean to be rude, but I think you should open your mind and not put Gaga on such a high pedestal. Not saying you should not listen to her, I still listen to Fame Monster, love that album….not a fan of BTW.

  • ainsley

    you have to listen to lady gaga’s entire born this way album to understand 

  • Brandoncsfmn

    the lower east side thing had me lol’ing. she’s got some talent, yea. she’s got some style, yea. but i hate her andy warhol bullshit, this isn’t the 60s gaga. lame and tacky…yea. 

  • Guest

    Many of the comments I constantly see from Gaga fans on receipt of any criticism of her are disturbingly cult-like. She could probably pull off a cult successfully at this point. She’s got many of the characteristics in place. That whole “Now they’re the freaks, and we’re the normal ones” thing a while back was… Interesting in that respect.
    Also, a note to the universe: It annoys me to no end when people talk about the “LGBT community”. I don’t know what’s up with it. I’ve never been invited to any of the meetings or anything. It’s almost like not all people feel the need to segregate themselves into separate communities based on which kind of naughty bit they prefer.

  • margot

    i kind of think she’s ridiculous and hokey now. actually i’ve felt this way about her for like a year lol i mean yeah that’s great that she does these things for the LGBT community, but that doesn’t change the fact that she just presents herself as a big joke to the music industry. but wait the music industry is a joke so.

  • Shaunabevacqua

    You don’t have to like Lady Gaga, her music, her clothes, anything. I don’t really care about people’s tastes in music. I personally connect more with Lady Gagas music than I ever have with Madonnas. Regardless of who I like more, I respect both artists. Both of them have been innovators in their own time. Both are talented, beautiful and fashionable. Stop comparing them to each other. To say “Lady gaga sucks” just because you don’t understand her music or look is immature. I’ve never understood the fascination with Madonna but I would never say she “sucks”. Having two powerful women as role models, who advocate for love, is more than I could ever ask for.

  • rgar

    Sometime between Paparazzi and Bad Romance, I felt a surge of interest in Gaga where before I had none. Then Born this Way came and I was like “meh” again. Been that way since.

  • Myemail

    I wish some of the people that Lady Gaga and Madonna are blatantly ripping off would get more love. Grace Jones is a REAL HBIC and – dare I say it – a bigger gay icon than Gaga & Madonna combined. Probably because Grace Jones seems legit weird and not contrived weird. Dale Bozzio was rocking the outre nude outfits before Sperm Gaga reached Egg Gaga, and of course they both owe a huge debt to Debbie Harry. Even Bjork combines out-there fashion with truly interesting music. And KYLIE MINOGUE doesn’t get enough attention stateside even though she seems to be having fun and putting out crazy infectious tunes about Losing Your Worries On The Dance Floor. 

    That said, even though Madonna is completely insufferable these days, she’s made some truly classic pop songs and gets a pass for me because of that (and Erotica is actually a damn fine album by any standards). Lady Gaga songs don’t sound different from Ke$ha or Katy Perry. Hell, even Britney Spears’ latest album is full of well-crafted dance songs. 

    • Scott Lewis

      lol Erotica is worse than American Life

      • Myemail

        Gasp! You shut your face!

  • erin

    I completely agree with you. It’s not to say that Gaga isn’t a talented artist, she just doesn’t measure up to Madonna (Not Madonna now per se, but Madonna in her prime). It’s funny, because I still think Gaga has more raw talent (instrumentally and lyrically speaking) but she uses cheap means of getting attention. Personally, I think she’s selling herself short. 

  • Anna

    I must say I agree with the majority here. I like your articles but this one seems biased. You of course are entitled to your opinion however there’s many bad points on Madonna’s attention whoring with flaunting younger men to stirring up drama. In general who are we to discuss their personal lives anyway? I like both artists and they both have bad sides as people possibly as well as professionally with some albums being better than others…

  • Nfoley91

    Anyone who says that Lady Gaga is all show and no substance hasn’t seen her live. Bye.

    • Lee


      • Matt


  • bruno


  • ben Raifsnider, jr.

    i don’t really care enough about Gaga or Madonna to argue which is better or “more real” but the argument that something “sucks” simply because it doesn’t interest you as much as something else isn’t a very good one. you didn’t even really say at any point that Lady Gaga isn’t good at things, you just said she wasn’t AS good as Madonna. lame.

  • Константин Атанасов

    I think that people are underestimating how disturbing everything is.It’s not fun anymore. Idolatry isn’t something to be proud of. Being “born this way” isn’t too.
    And it’s not only about Gaga.

  • Kirbangel100

    to me pop music is becoming one big black hole/wasteland since the king is dead.

    i think every pop star is feeling the lack, trying to make the pop idol thing significant.

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