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Paparazzi Performance Pattern

Agpuh April 30, 2012 User blog:Agpuh

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"Paparazzi," the third track on The Fame and the third, fourth, or fifth single, depending on the region, from the same album is a song about the relationship between the superstar and the titled character of the Paparazzi. It is about how one party needs the other to survive, and vice versa.

As Lady Gaga's career progressed, she changed her regular performance of the song from just an acoustic piano rendition or a straight forward singing-and-dancing to soundtracking storylines either in her tours or in key live performances of the song, as well as in the music video. In all of the story lines, a person dies during the course of this song. My question is, "Why Lady Gaga consistently chooses this song for such an event to happen?"

To highlight my point, here are the major examples:

"Paparazzi's" music video - A man exploit his relationship with the superstar Lady Gaga by intentionally creating opportunities for the paparazzi to capture his and Gaga's social life, even though Gaga has made it a point in reality that she wants to keep her personal and romantic life personal. The boyfriend throws her off the balcony that they are on, which is where he set up the paparazzi, after Gaga retaliates. Gaga looses her prestige from this, and subsequently kills her lover to regain her fame. In a behind the scenes video, Lady Gaga explains how the video is about fame whoring and doing whatever you can to obtain it.

2009 MTV Video Music Awards - Lady Gaga performed "Paparazzi" and famously "bled to death" live at the end of the performance. She commented afterwards that she knows that the media is obsessed with the death of the celebrity, so she decided to show what her death would look like so that nobody would need to look for it. She also commented how the performance was inspired by a self portrait of Frida Kahlo, where Kahlo is bleeding from the heart, in an interview with Fuse and about the death about Princess Diana, and how the media led to it.

The Monster Ball Tour 1.0 - The story line of the theater version of the Monster Ball began with birth and ended in rebirth. This was prior to Lady Gaga introducing the concept of infinite rebirth during the promotion of the "Born This Way," released about a year and a half later. Since, rebirth was not then an infinite and continuous project, it followed the more traditional idea of dying first. It was in the performance of "Paparazzi," with her Rapunzel hair, black cape, and starry back drop, that Lady Gaga "died" on stage.

The Monster Ball Tour 2.0 - The story line of the arena version Monster Ball tour is about Lady Gaga and her friends traveling to a party, the Monster Ball, in New York City, while getting stuck in the subway and lost in Central Park along the way. When they finally approach the Monster Ball, a giant angler fish, the Fame Monster, materializes before the now lone Gaga and becomes an obstacle to entering the party. Gaga announces to the crowd that the only way to defeat it is to take pictures of it, so she instructs the crowd to take out their cell phones and take it's picture. Lady Gaga then starts to perform "Paparazzi," and she battles and kills the fame monster, leaving her free to enter the Monster Ball.

The Born This Way Ball Tour - As this tour has had only one performance so far, little is still known about the concepts and many details of the storyline. The summary goes like this, an alien renegade, known as "the bitch" has infiltrated the planet (G.O.A.T., I believe), and there is an assignment to kill it. Over the course of the play, the bitch is being tracked down, until, finally, it is killed in the performance of "Paparazzi."

So why do you think Lady Gaga chooses this song to be associated with death?

It could possibly be related to her fascination with the demise of the celebrity, which she has stated as a concept for her next album. She's also talked about a song that was a tribute to Princess Diana, which was the concept of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards performance. Does this possibly mean that "Paparazzi" is foreshadowing the lyrical or sonic direction of her upcoming music? Maybe, maybe not. Even if this is true for her recent work, it doesn't explain the motif of death from earlier on.

Please share your thoughts. :)

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