Lady Gaga vs. Madonna

I was driving to the studio early yesterday afternoon to what turned out to be a 13-hour recording session, tired, hungover, and hungry.  I had just grabbed some food at Dunkin Donuts when on the radio came what I've heard is going to be one of the best songs of the decade - "Born This Way," by Lady Gaga.  Now, I'm not a "Gagite" by any means, but I think she's a talented performer who works with exceedingly skilled songwriters and producers (though the whole "eccentric genius" thing is pure marketing and nothing else), and I think a lot of her music is pretty catchy.

So, there it was on the radio for me to listen.  And as I listened, something odd happened: I started thinking of a song by another famous female artist.  And I thought, "Wow, it's not often that a song makes me specifically think of another song.  They really sound similar."  As I went through my day and my hangover subsided, I noticed that people were posting on Facebook about hearing the same similarity between the songs.  Then yesterday morning I turned on the TV and guess what they're talking about?  That's right.

Now, making homages to other influential and respected artists is something that has been done for years.  For example, The Beatles paid homage to the Beach Boys with "Back in the USSR."  The difference, however, is that you don't hear "Back in the USSR" and think of "California Girls."  When I heard "Born This Way," I thought of "Express Yourself", by Madonna (with a little "Vogue" thrown in for good measure).  Is this a copyright violation?  Well, I'm not a lawyer, and I know that it's a hard thing to prove, but I think a very strong case could be made.  I cannot imagine this song was released without someone in the chain noticing and bringing up the similarities.  So was the decision made from the beginning to make the songs sound similar regardless of the consequences, or to simply release the song in hopes that no one would notice?  I actually just heard that Madonna (or a rep for her) contacted Lady Gaga to give her support.  Whatever.  Either way I won't be buying the CD.

"Are people really only now catching up to the fact that Lady Gaga is doing Madonna?  Oh right, her pointy bullet tits have sparklers." - Bill Maher on Twitter

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ