Pitchfork reports that indie folkster Joanna Newsom came out swinging in a recent interview with The Guardian, lambasting two female musicians whose dedication to image, in her opinion, completely supersedes their ability to actually make listenable music. Or, as she puts it, Lady Gaga’s music is all “glowsticks” and “Madonna’s a dumb-ass”:
“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. 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!”
Despite the hilarity (and accuracy) of Newsom’s bile, she sent a quick e-mail to The Guardian to elaborate on some of her comments:
“I may have contradicted myself. 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. 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.”
In other news—Joanna, will you marry me?
Newsom did, however, backtrack on her Madonna-bashing:
“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.”
What do you think of Newsome’s comments?