Top Five Must-See Shows This Week in Phoenix
Lady Gaga might be even more calculating and fatally self-absorbed than her idol Madonna, but there's nonetheless a goofy, underlying charm to frothy tunes like the early hit "Paparazzi" that sometimes is obscured by the glittery smoke and mirrors of her onstage spectacles.
It's not easy to be a mainstream dance-pop singer who aspires to be a transgressive LGBT rebel, and the onetime Stefani Germanotta usually ends up closer to the electronic middle of the road than to the deep underground. Turning Judas Iscariot into a sympathetic, seductive character might have seemed like a provocative idea, but ultimately Lady Gaga's allegorical 2011 single "Judas" was more sensual than profane. The big problem remains Germanotta's hardly transgressive tendency to lift music and fashion styles, whether she's paying homage to such well-known predecessors as Madge and Dale Bozzio or, like a reverse Robin Hood, figuratively taking that notorious plastic bubble dress off the back of the relatively obscure Kristeen Young.
Even with her considerable charisma, it's not always clear who Lady Gaga really is. --Falling James