September 21, 2014

How a fading pop star promotes an album

Lady Gaga shows the world just how desperate she is for a number one album.

She's the poster girl of pop! The quirky singer clearly wants a hit record with the iconic crooner
Stop pretending to be "indie", Gaga. No one's falling for it.
Millions of dollars and months of promotion (a string of public appearances, the new tattoo reveal, the "surprise" duet performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, a retail commercial for H&M, New York Fashion Week performance, an HSN special broadcast, a live concert special which will air on PBS on October 24, three songs used by ESPN for the advertisement of the 2014 Tennis US Open, the "surprise" duet during the artRAVE at Tel Aviv, two official singles ("Anything Goes" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love") and one streaming single ("Nature Boy"), numerous interviews both separately and together -- did I forget anything?), just don't seem to be enough for Gaga as she tapes a homemade Cheek to Cheek poster to a shop window before leaving Athens this weekend.

Does this look like desperation to anyone else?

As of today, Cheek to Cheek has been officially released in two markets (Germany and Australia) and it appears to be struggling.

It's only been a couple of days, but should Lady Gaga and her people be worried by the performance of the album so far? Could these two markets be representative of how Cheek to Cheek will do around the world? Do you think it's too early for them to be planning a follow-up album?

What are your predictions for the album?

(Cheek to Cheek will be out worldwide on September 23rd.)

September 17, 2014

The first Cheek to Cheek album review

The first review of Cheek to Cheek is out from Slant Magazine: and it's a very sad TWO STAR rating. There seems to be some disagreement as to whether it should be classified as Jazz or Pop (iTunes changed it from Pop to Jazz and Amazon still has it classified as Pop), but either way - it doesn't look like it's going to impress fans of either genre.

HERE is Slant Magazine's review of the album, and what less-than-perfect review of Lady Gaga would be complete without little monsters whining in the comment section? You should read the review for yourselves, but the short of it is: she hated it.

My favorite quotes from the review:
"Despite her claims that she grew up listening to the jazz greats, Gaga comes off more as a dilettante than an aficionado..."
"...Gaga sounds like what she thinks a jazz singer should sound like; her performances are blatantly affected, marred by shouting and clich├ęd phrasing."
"The pair's solo efforts, particularly Gaga's clumsy interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" and Bennett's surprisingly pitchy rendition of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," only serve to spotlight their shortcomings."

"...Gaga's voice is shockingly rough-hewn, especially on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "I Won't Dance.""

"... her persistent vocal fry is insufferable."

"If not for the session musicians' top-notch work ... Cheek to Cheek, which drags at an economical 45 minutes, would sound like glorified karaoke."

The tracks on the album (bolded songs have been released) are:
1. Anything Goes
2. Cheek To Cheek
3. Don't Wait Too Long
4. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
5. Nature Boy
6. Goody Goody
7. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
8. Firefly
9. I Won't Dance
10. They All Laughed
11. Lush Life
12. Sophisticated Lady
13. Let's Face The Music And Dance
14. But Beautiful
15. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Where's "Paradise" you may ask? The original song that Lady Gaga wrote that was supposed to be included on the album? Probably in the same place ARTPOP II is - the recycling bin on someone's laptop somewhere. Just another broken promise to her fans.

September 14, 2014

Lady Gaga's concert numbers inflated

Lady Gaga just wrapped up her two dates in Western Asia and is prepared to head through Europe on the final leg of the artRAVE tour. So, how did she do in Dubai and Tel Aviv?

Before the shows, we saw that ticket sales were pretty dismal... but there were many "sources" suggesting she would still sell out after all. And did she? That depends who you ask.

I actually wasn't able to find any reviews of Gaga's Dubai show that included any numbers, but I can say that the number of tickets sold appear to be 20,000+/25,000 (80%), so no, she did not sell out there.

Strangely, the only numbers I could find from Dubai were reports that the crowd in Dubai will be among the projected 900,000 fans (here, and here) that will have seen the artRAVE by the time it's over. Do the Dubai reviewers not know how many people showed up, or is it that 900,000 looks much better than 20,000?


And Tel Aviv is a different story altogether.

According to one source, in Tel Aviv it was "decidedly not packed with fans". It was a "much cooler fan response than [her] previous appearance", and ticket sales were "not nearly as great as had been hoped for". The official numbers look to be a measly 45%, showing ticket sales at 20,000+/45,000.

Sad news for Gaga. But wait! Here comes Billboard to the rescue!

They reported that she brought out "some 30,000 cheering monsters" to her show in Tel Aviv, even though every other source I could find reports 20,000 (though of course they ALL leave out the fact that there was room for 45,000).

Looks like her artRAVE tour numbers are just like her stage: INFLATED.

September 5, 2014

Lady Gaga's artRAVE flops its way over to Western Asia

Lady Gaga and co. tried their best to cover up her struggle in Australia with numerous ticket giveaways (alleged), curtained-off sections, and false/misleading reviews.

This one’s my favourite. It states Allphones Arena has a capacity of over 20,000 and laughs at the low ticket rumors - but of course it doesn’t mention how many tickets were actually SOLD, nor does it mention her ticket availability was capped at 14,500! There's a pretty big difference between the two numbers!

Anyway, despite the shoddy cover-ups, the numbers speak for themselves and here’s the best estimate I could find of the Australian leg, straight from the Little Monsters themselves:
AUGUST 20 - PERTH - Perth Arena - ENDED - 12,000+/15,500 (80%)
AUGUST 23 - MELBOURNE - Rod Laver Arena - ENDED - 11,500+/12,500 (90%)
AUGUST 24 - MELBOURNE - Rod Laver Arena - ENDED - 6,000+/12,500 (50%)
AUGUST 26 - BRISBANE - Brisbane Entertainment Centre - ENDED - 10,000+/12,000 (80%)
AUGUST 30 - SYDNEY - Allphones Arena - ENDED - 12,500+/14,500 (80%)
AUGUST 31 - SYDNEY - Allphones Arena - ENDED - 7,500+/14,500 (50%)
Wow! Two shows with only 50% of the tickets sold? So much for the supposed Queen of Pop! 

So what’s next for the artRAVE?
Well, the tour is about half over, and the second half is shaping up to be the same as the first. Her next stop is Western Asia with a show in Dubai and a show in Tel Aviv.

Take a look at the demand for Gaga in Dubai:

That's right - only 5/17 sections of this show are sold out. If you look at the official page, you can see each seat that is available - personally I found it funny that people are filling up the back of the arena first. They'd rather sit in the stands than get close, even though the GA tickets are nearly half the price. Why? I have no idea!

Even though the demand for her is extremely low in both places - with tickets currently sitting at 12,000/25,000 (49%) for Dubai (Sept. 10) and 15,000+/45,000 (33%) for Tel Aviv (Sept. 13), she’s still managing to have predictions of a “sold-out show” in Dubai and "tens of thousands" of fans in Tel Aviv.  Have you ever seen this kind of media bias before?

Whatever. Guess we’ll see what happens when pictures of the not-so-full arenas show up on Twitter, won't we?

September 2, 2014

Leaked lyrics: true or false?

According to sources like ET Online and the Huffington Post, Madonna has written a song slamming Lady Gaga for her upcoming 13th album.
The Queen of Flop and the Queen of Pop
  The song is supposedly called "Two Steps Behind Me", and the alleged leaked lyrics are:
 "You're a copycat, Where is my royalty? You're a pretty girl, I'll give you that. But stealing my recipe, it's an ugly look."
"Did you study me hard enough? You're never gonna be, you're just a wannabe me." 
"Like a sister all messed-up, who's gonna help you out? In your fantasy, you can try it all. But you can't be me."
"You can walk the walk, even talk the talk. But you'll always be two steps behind me."
 According to the original source of the leak, Madonna is still choosing the songs that are to be included on the album and this one may not even make the cut. If it does however, the source states that "Gaga's going to be mortified."

Could it be true, or is this just a rumor? Would Madonna really write a song about Lady Gaga? Is she really still seething over the Born This Way/Express Yourself controversy?