Sasha Frere-Jones hosted an online Q&A regarding his brief piece on Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and the current state of pop divas. Check out his predictions for the future of pop music (albums hitting iTunes the instant they leak–genius!). He made an interesting comparison between Beyoncé and Tyler, the Creator that touches on the issues of race and gender in pop music:
Comment From katerina armstrong
do you think beyonce would have a harder time being “edgy” or “counter-culture” or “subversive” in the way lady gaga is (however mass-manufacturedly) because she is black?
That’s also a question of gender. Tyler the Creator can apparently say anything he wants and still rack up reasonably good sales and lots of critical approval. Could the next Beyoncé come out of the gate like that? Now, that’s slightly skewed, since they’re not doing the same things. (Odd footnote: song on new album, “4,” co-written by Odd Future member Frank Ocean.) I think we are waiting to see if a black woman could enter the marketplace, politics be damned, and make it work. Chances are it is not as certain a bet as being the intensely charming good girl.
Comment From N. Judah
As you say, the gender politics of Beyonce’s album are somewhat contradictory. Does Gaga actually present a coherent politics of gender in her music itself? And do you believe the contrast you make is affected at all by the fact of Beyonce’s marriage to a massively famous man?
This is an interesting point about Beyoncé, in that she’s a public figure in a public couple. They don’t hide much. They go out and there hasn’t been much rumor in a few years. But her main persona move is the “wronged woman.” It started on “Bday” amidst some rumors around Rihanna and Jay-Z, but that story died down. The persona hasn’t, though (see “Best Thing I Never Had”). She may not do transgression but she certainly does pissed off.
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