Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga and Generosity

How can I not have had “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” on my iPod?  I went to play the song while I wrote this post and it wasn’t in my iTunes.  I have, naturally, rectified that for $1.29, and Cyndi is now bopping along in my head.

Nothing has ever made me feel cooler than MTV did back in 1983 when I was a newlywed, a generally uncool person, but — thanks to MTV — conversant about Martha Quinn (my favorite VJ), The Cars, Madonna, Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean video and Cyndi Lauper (always Cyndi).  So I have a sense of gratitude to Cyndi generally.

But I particularly appreciated her tribute to Lady Gaga in the “100 Most Influential People in the World” issue of Time magazine, recently out.

I’m not someone who can talk for more than 5 seconds about Lady Gaga.  Here’s what I know: “I saw her on Oprah and liked her a lot. She seemed intelligent and thoughtful and a little shy.”  The end.

Here’s part of what Cyndi says:
“An artist’s job is to take a snapshot — be it through words or sound, lyrics or song — that explains what it’s like to be alive at this time.  Lady Gaga’s art captures the period we’re in right now.”

And she further comments: “Gaga’s lyrics are incredibly literary…. Most of the stuff on the radio is not very clever, but Gaga prsents her ideas in a sophisticated manner.  She has an incredible pop sensibility.”

But what I really love about Cyndi Lauper’s comments is that she focuses on Lady Gaga and not on herself, except to say that Gaga makes her better.  That’s generosity and class to write a tribute that way (many of the others in the issue were self-referential).  Listen in: “When I see somebody like Gaga, I sit back in admiration.  I’m inspired to pick up the torch again myself…. Being around her, I felt like the dust was shaken off of me.”

Isn’t that the way it should be… that younger artists inspire older ones to be better (vs. threatening them or causing them to fear their own loss of status or center stage)?  It made me love Cyndi even more.

~ by Cary on June 1, 2010.

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