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Coachella Band Preview: Lady Gaga

If you’re reading this, I doubt you’re confused by the title of my blog because you probably know a thing or two about what happened regarding Coachella over the past week. In case you are confused though, let me explain.

As you know from the lineup announcement in the beginning of January, Lady Gaga was not on it. However, a month after the lineup dropped, Beyoncé made a public announcement that she was pregnant with twins. This started some speculation that she might not play Coachella. At the time of the announcement though, it seemed like she was fully committed to the annual festival. Then, her doctors intervened. Last week, shortly after I posted my last blog (because if it was before I would have mentioned it), AP (Associated Press) broke the news that Beyoncé would not play Coachella this year following the advice of her doctors to keep a less rigorous schedule. The announcement did state that Beyoncé will play Coachella next year in 2018, which in my opinion takes away from the anticipation of the lineup release somewhat. I guess since she was a major headliner and a bunch of the Beyhive probably bought tickets this year to see her, Coachella promoter, Goldenvoice, threw them a bone.

After the announcement was made last week, more speculation occurred over who would replace Queen Bey. Lady Gaga was one of the first acts I thought of as her replacement and this was without being influenced by rumors popping up all over the internet and social media. To me it seemed pretty logical, she’s a highly billed female pop performer, much like Beyoncé. She’s also about to embark on a world tour in support of her most recent album Joanne, which has been widely praised. It just made so much sense that she would replace Beyoncé. I saw some other names pop in the meantime though from Daft Punk to Rihanna. I also saw Lady Gaga’s name thrown around too, which made me feel like my guess wasn’t too far off. By Tuesday evening, it was confirmed. Lady Gaga would replace Beyoncé as Coachella’s Saturday night headliner and Gagachella was born.

Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, grew up in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in an affluent Catholic family. Despite attending an all-girls Catholic school growing up, she felt like she never fit in to that kind of crowd. She was always involved in music and the arts as well. She started taking piano at age 4. She played open mic nights and acted in school musicals as a teenager. She was even granted early admission to NYU’s theater program, but dropped out during her sophomore year to pursue her music career.

Her stage name, Lady Gaga, was inspired by Queen’s song “Radio Ga Ga” and a T9 accidental text message. In the years before she released her first album, she played Lollapalooza along with Lady Starlight as “Lady Gaga and Lady Starlight”. The duo also performed on the New York underground scene, which was when Lady Gaga began to incorporate pop and glam rock into her electronic dance music style.

After finally securing a record deal with Interscope/Geffen, her debut album, The Fame, was released in 2008. The album included many successful singles and earned her a Grammy Award for Best/Dance Electronica Album. Her song “Poker Face” won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording as well. Gaga’s first tour was in support of The Pussycat Dolls in 2009, but shortly after she embarked on her own headlining world tour. In November of 2009, she released an 8 song EP entitled The Fame Monster, which included the hit single “Bad Romance” as well as a few other successful singles. The Fame Monster earned Lady Gaga 8 MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. She also embarked on another world tour appropriately named The Monster Ball Tour.

Lady Gaga released her second studio album Born This Way in May 2011. The album produced several successful singles, 3 Grammy nominations, and a resulting world tour similar to her other music. Around this time was when Gaga formed her relationship with Tony Bennett which paved the way for their eventual album together, Cheek to Cheek, which was released in 2014 and earned them a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. However, the joint album was not released before her third studio album Artpop. It came out in November of 2013. Artpop is the least successful of Lady Gaga’s albums thus far and was received with mixed reviews. Despite its lack of success, it still sold about 2.5 million copies worldwide (as of July 2014).

Lady Gaga released her latest album, Joanne, this past October. Following its release, she performed at three small scale venues to promote the album. This was known as the Dive Bar Tour. Shortly before Joanne‘s release, it was announced that Lady Gaga would be headlining the 2017 Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. The halftime show became the most viewed music performance in history. Following the show, Lady Gaga announced her latest world tour plans in support of Joanne which now includes a pre-stop at one of America’s most well-known music festivals.

When Beyoncé was announced as a headliner, I had no intention of writing a preview for her because I’m not a Beyoncé fan. Honestly, I’m not a Lady Gaga fan either so the reason I decided to write this might be a mystery so I’ll explain. I’m not a fan of mainstream pop music (Adele being the only exception). In fact I used to get annoyed over Lady Gaga’s music when it first came out in 2008. The truth is though despite not being into Lady Gaga’s music, she’s had so many hit singles that I do know a lot of her music. I don’t listen to the radio normally, but I would hear her songs regardless. I’d hear them in public locations, from friends, on television, and yeah I guess on the radio when I wasn’t in control of it.

There’s been random times in my life over the last 9 years that Lady Gaga’s music has been a part of too. My friends and I sang a self made-up parody of “Alejandro” at the beach one summer, “Bad Romance” played on a music-playing amusement park ride one time when all of our previous times on this ride had death metal songs we didn’t know or like (“Bad Romance” kind of saved us), and “Applause” became one of the theme songs of my first trip to California due to its overplay and my cousin being in control of the radio. There’s probably other moments I’m not thinking of too. Also I can’t forget that my mom is a huge fan of Lady Gaga and her music. She owns almost all, if not all, of Gaga’s albums. I have to admit, I even like Joanne. Because of all the exposure, I almost feel like a fan by association and no lie her Super Bowl performance had me crushing the end of my cardio work out. So no, I’m not a true Little Monster, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Gaga live if I had the opportunity.

As I said before, Lady Gaga plays Saturday night in replacement of Beyoncé. It’s her first time playing the festival and also the first time since 2007 that a female solo artist will be headlining. Being known for her crazy and outlandish costumes/outfits in her early performing days as well as becoming a major pop performer, I’m expecting her Coachella set to be epic and to have some intense production quality. No one will want to miss her performance on Saturday night, unless of course you’re a major fan of whoever is playing at the Sahara Tent. Here’s some songs to get you ready, although you might already know them:

  1. Bad Romance
  2. Just Dance
  3. Poker Face
  4. Born This Way
  5. Alejandro
  6. Perfect Illusion
  7. Applause
  8. Marry the Night
  9. Telephone
  10. A Million Reasons
  11. A-Yo
  12. John Wayne
  13. The Edge of Glory
  14. Paparazzi
  15. LoveGame

 

Well I Guess This is Growing Up

When I was in 5th grade, I liked mostly mainstream pop music. It was all the stuff you’d hear on local popular radio stations. I also liked a small amount of good music too thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Superman by Goldfinger anyone?!). Fortunately, on occasion, good music gets played on mainstream radio, which is what happened while I was in 5th grade. I totally fell for it. The song was “All the Small Things” and the band as you may already know was Blink-182.

Blink-182 was formed in the early to mid 90’s when guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Scott Raynor decided to play music together. The band was formed in Poway, California which is a city located in southern California just north of San Diego. The band was originally called Blink but changed their name to Blink-182 to avoid legal complications with an Irish band of the same name. Before releasing their first record Chesire Cat in 1995 under indie label Cargo Records, the band played at a variety of venues in the San Diego area. They garnered some local attention upon the release of their debut album as well as attention from other well known punk bands and their management. The guitarist of one of those bands, Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise, even convinced the founder of the Vans Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman, to sign Blink-182 for their 1996 festival. By 1996 major record labels began to notice the band, which resulted in a bidding war. Eventually Blink-182 signed with MCA.

Blink-182 released their sophomore album Dude Ranch on June 17, 1997. The album included the single “Dammit”, which earned them mainstream fame. They again spent another summer on Warped Tour and toured extensively afterwards, promoting their newest album. Tensions in the band began to fly in 1998 due to the long touring and issues involving heavy drinking with Scott Raynor causing his eventual departure. Raynor was replaced by drummer Travis Barker.

In 1999, Blink-182 released their third full length album, Enema of State. The album featured three singles, “All the Small Things”, “What’s My Age Again?”, and “Adam’s Song”, that garnered more mainstream radio and MTV airplay for the band. Enema of State gave the band multi-platinum success by January of 2000 and sold 4 times as fast as their previous album.

After gaining greater popularity and playing arenas throughout North America and Australia, the band got together to record a fourth album. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was released in 2001 continuing the bands fame with mainstream singles “The Rock Show”, “Stay Together for the Kids”, and “First Date”. Between the release of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and the band’s 2003 self-titled album, tensions again began building between bandmates fueled by DeLonge’s interest to pursue other music styles. The tensions lead to the hiatus of the band in 2005. During the hiatus, Hoppus and Barker continued to make music together in the band +44 and DeLonge began his new project Angels & Airwaves. It wasn’t until a traumatic plane crash involving Travis Barker and 5 others (4 were killed) that the band decided to regroup.

In 2009 the band announced their reunion on their website and joined Weezer and Fall Out Boy on tour that summer. The group recorded a sixth album, Neighborhoods, together that was released in 2011. Neighborhoods didn’t receive as much success as anticipated. In the following years, the band toured, released an EP, and again parted ways with Tom DeLonge, who yet again wasn’t focused on making music with Blink-182, in the midst of planning a seventh album.

Since then, Alkaline Trio frontman and guitarist, Matt Skiba joined the band in DeLonge’s place. The group released the band’s seventh album California a week ago. Blink-182 will begin a tour in support of their newest album on July 22nd.

Blink-182 was a punk rock band from the start. Through their success their music began to have a more pop-punk feel. Whether you call that selling out or developing their sound, the Blink-182 most people are familiar with plays pop-punk music. It’s upbeat, sometimes fast, and has that punk edge. Their roots are strictly punk though.

As I mentioned before I began paying attention to Blink-182 in 5th grade. By 9th grade, I was supposed to attend a Blink-182 concert with my best friend at the time but it fell through. I was bummed it didn’t happen for several reasons (TBS opened, seeing Blink would have been amazing, and I totally wanted to spend as much time as possible with this friend for…certain reasons *wink wink*). I might still be slightly bummed too. During high school, as my music interests developed I began to appreciate Blink-182 more, especially after I purchased their Greatest Hits album. I guess my knowledge of Blink-182 to a certain extent is their greatest hits, but I still know a few more beyond that. Throughout high school, college, and even after Blink-182’s music was a part of my life. They’ll always be a legendary band in my mind for that. “Dammit” will always be the number one coming of age/nostalgic song. “All the Small Things” will always be my first favorite Blink-182 song and “Going Away to College” will always be one of my favorite songs to play on guitar. As with many other bands, much of their music is a part of me and my life. It’s pretty incredible how music can do that.

Anyway, the reason I decided to write a post about Blink-182, besides being a legendary pop-punk/punk rock band, is to talk about the new album. I recently found out that Matt Skiba joined the band after listening to a few of the new tracks. As a former Alkaline Trio fan, I feel like this new version of Blink-182 combines the two bands musically. It’s epic! The new music has a classic Blink-182 sound but lacks DeLonge’s notable vocals. Instead there are elements of the new material that remind me of Alkaline Trio, especially with Skiba’s singing. Only time will tell how successful this record will be with the new Blink-182 lineup, but for anyone who grew up listening to both of these bands, it’s worth a listen. Here’s two lists. One contains all my old faves and the other contains songs off the brand new record you should listen to.

New Songs

  1. Sober
  2. California
  3. Bored to Death
  4. Kings of the Weekend
  5. San Diego

Old Songs

  1. Dammit
  2. Going Away to College
  3. All The Small Things
  4. What’s My Age Again?
  5. M+M’s
  6. Adam’s Song
  7. First Date
  8. Feeling This
  9. I Miss You
  10. The Rock Show