Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!
Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!
Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.
Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.
Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on…
Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show
Lady Gaga was incredible!
But before delving into why, a little context…
Having seen a fair share of artists come and go over the years, I’ve always noted evolution as an important ingredient of longevity. As such, when Gaga decided to strip things back for ‘Joanne’ I appreciated both the output but more so the reasoning for it.
For the Super Bowl, however, I longed for the Dance-Pop Gaga that made 2008-2011 such a memorable time in music. The extravagance, the high-octane choreography, and the copious amounts crazy. As a fan of her talent, I also longed for her to really show up and show out on that front, as the eccentricity made many forget she can actually “sing-sing.”
With that, then, it’s little surprise that I’m on cloud 9 as I write this. Because, put simply, she slayed.
Drawing on Olympic like precision, she used her 13-minute slot to effectively tick-box everything I could have wanted from her on a stage of this magnitude.
Sandwiched between her epic airborne intro and outro was a well curated career-spanning set that was electrifying, ostentatious, and superbly sung… live.
Folk often have so much to say about the 30-year-old (with many not seeming to know what they want from her). But last night she ensured that her name will be etched in the history books as one of the most prolific and arresting talents of her time.
All in all, Gaga scored an almighty touchdown. And for any in doubt, just check iTunes.
Gaga’s performance, as all of us expected, made for an awesome watch.
From her innovative use of drones to mimic stars to her rousing renditions of ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Bad Romance’, the set was everything it was supposed to be.
Alas, that may be its biggest problem. It lacked a headline making moment Gaga needed to propel into Madonna/ Michael Jackson territory.
Unfortunately, by not addressing today’s volatile social climate, one of the Pop’s more educated and authentically “woke” stars missed out on an opportunity to speak directly to what has become a timorous and arguably divided country.
Still, none of this changes the fact that it was a brilliant live show.
I look forward to seeing more of it on the ‘Joanne World Tour.’
Please don’t confuse that with “disappointed,” however. I loved the showing overall and thought Gaga did well. She commanded the stage and, unlike some other Halftime Show performing Pop stars who shall remain nameless, WAS the show and did not rely on props, visuals, and dancers to make the show happen around her.
That victory, however, was also the problem. Gaga has made a name for herself for doing both – being the show and delivering the spectacle. So why, after years of performances with dramatics galore (see: hanging herself, fiery pianos, explosive bras, and the like) did she wait until she got on the BIGGEST STAGE ON EARTH to deliver her SAFEST performance to date?
Granted, I know post-Janet Jackson that the Super Bowl is not the place to really “try it” with anything even covertly sexual, political, religious, etc. But, that shouldn’t stop one from being artistically daring. This was the time for Gaga to remind people not only is she a performing machine, but that she is still THAT girl who pushes the visual envelope by doing things on stage her peers would never even have dreamed of.
Either way, even in the absence of WOW moments – it was a good show. Will it be remembered as one of the greatest ever? Hardly. P.S. – The ‘Telephone’ portion did slay I must say. For as much as I wanted Bey to come out I realize how important it is that this moment be all Gaga’s.
Lady Gaga smashed her Superbowl Halftime performance last night reminding the whole world why you should never ever count her (or anyone) out.
Front-loaded with a smart pick of her biggest hits, it was a high-octane affair yet very personable and ironically intimate at times.
Though she’s been more toned down and rarely seen without her pink ‘Joanne’ hat as of late, I was happy to find Gaga in full “Gaga-Mode” on top of that stadium and throughout the rest of the show. Disco stick, people!
Musically, everything made sense, wise choice to open with ‘God Bless America’ which will automatically be considered a subtle dig at POTUS Donald Trump. I wasn’t expecting ‘Telephone’ so I was pleasantly surprised by its inclusion. And YES I was praying for pregnant Beyoncé to come out of somewhere, although Mother Monster had absolutely no issues dominating the stage on her own.
Through spectacular staging, Team Gaga managed to capture the power embedded in songs like ‘Born This Way’ and ‘Bad Romance’ and turn them into monster moments. Elsewhere, the vulnerability of ‘Million Reasons’ gave the audience the real touchdown of the performance where the singer’s talent was more visible then ever.
With that said, I must address the elephant in the room: sans ‘Million Reasons’ – every song was from Golden-Age Gaga. In other words ‘The Fame’ to ‘Born This Way,’ which perhaps highlights the lack of commercially potent material from Ms. Germanota over the past 5 years.
All that aside, my main wish for Gaga is that this showing, as well as its glorious reception, leads her back to the road of “edgy-and-out-of-the-box-while-still-mass-being—mass-appealing-POP-music.” Put simply, a return to the sound which allowed her to rock the stage yesterday like the rockstar she is.
Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on Lady Gaga’s Halftime performance!