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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


During a recent family gathering my cousins, niece, nephews, and I discussed the subject of pop music. I didn't have anything to offer to the discussion since I have been busying listening to Rudresh Mahanthappa; actually I haven't listened to much pop music for quite some time. Since I didn't know what's hip, I was curious to know what the tweens are listening to these days. The answer, according to my nephew, seems to be Lady Gaga.

Of course I had no idea who Lady Gaga is and what kind of music she makes. I thought the name was kind of intriguing but didn't think too much about it until I got the April 27 issue of The New Yorker. The magazine's music critic Sasha Frere-Jones wrote, "Gaga can really sing and really write" and "If you want melody and a cheerful embrace of the moment as it happens, Lady Gaga is a wise bet." Since I didn't want to be the un-hip uncle, I decided to buy Gaga's album and listen for myself.

I bought Gaga's The Fame from 博客來; another new experience for me. It is a bit like for Taiwan but with far fewer selections. Instead of using a credit card and having the goods shipped to me, I picked up my order the next day at the local 7-Eleven store and paid in cash. The CD comes bubbled wrapped inside a grey envelope. The whole process is quite convenient since there are 7-Eleven stores everywhere in Taiwan.

After a night of repeated listening, I quite like The Fame. The music reminds me a bit of Madonna and David Bowie. Some tracks are a bit like disco music. I suppose things tend to come back every 30 years or so; what's old is made new again.

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