Michel Gondry to ‘Telephone’ Singer Lady Gaga: Don’t Bother to Call
I’ve always liked Michel Gondry (more for directing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind than for directing music videos by Björk, Radiohead, Kylie Minogue and countless others), but now I think I might love him, too. Why? Because you couldn’t pay him enough money to work with Lady Gaga.
“I’m not interested,” he tells Movie|Line. “To me, it’s like a form of Marilyn Manson. It’s hard for me to talk about it; I’ve seen a couple of videos of hers, and not for very long. I stop watching them each time because I don’t think there’s melodies…. The music to me is very expected. I don’t think there’s anything in the tone or the melody that makes me say, ‘Oh, there’s something going on.’”
He goes on to call her melodies “very conventional” and suggests that perhaps she’s considered high art because of the way she dresses, and I beg to agree. I’ve been saying more or less the same thing for more than a year now. Although she had her moment — “Poker Face” deserved all of its fame and acclaim and then some — for the most part, Lady Gaga tries too hard. She’s like the ugly girl in the back of the classroom who is starved for attention and would do anything to get it, even if it means walking around half naked 95 per cent of the time.
Take her overpraised and overplayed “Telephone” clip, a dumbed-down Thelma & Louise with lesbian overtones. Do we really need to see her strutting about a women’s prison wearing next to nothing with another frenetic, over-produced, ’90s-retro Eurodisco musical backdrop. And where exactly do the lyrics fit in? She doesn’t have time to talk to her lover become she’s locked up, line dancing and shamelessly aping Madonna in a prison cell? Give me a break — from the storyline and the song. (And let’s not forget that her “Telephone” video partner Beyoncé already covered that tired I’m-too-busy-for-you-because-I’m-just-not-that-into-you theme on Destiny’s Child’s “Bug a Boo.”)
But if Gaga so desperately wants our undivided attention, why did she invite Beyoncé to hijack her video? From the minute “Honey B” shows up about halfway through, I don’t give Gaga another look. Even the song improves, thanks to Beyoncé’s far superior vocal ability and the production’s sudden detour into herky-jerky “Diva”-style R&B.
Apparently, “Telephone” was initially offered to Britney Spears, who probably wouldn’t have done much more with it. I think Lady Gaga should have just given it up to Beyoncé, stepped out of the way, and let a true diva show her how it’s done — without the shameless stripteasing.