How could I NOT write about Artpop aficionado herself: Lady Gaga and her Super Bowl halftime hoot!? (That’s enough alliteration for now, but it was a hoot.) Unfortunately, due to the very nature of hyper-internet-journalism there’s already a fair few articles out there which cover the sociopolitical side of things pretty succinctly. Both of these are worth a click and a read:
So what about the setlist itself? Bar the gloopy Million Reasons, which has been rubbing me up the wrong way ever since that god awful video, the choice of tracks was pretty on the nose:
It’s hard to argue with the inclusion of such pop behemoths as Poker Face, Just Dance, Telephone and Bad Romance. Even Born This Way and its ham-fisted, but well-intentioned, representation of queerness felt utterly vital in the backdrop of a strange, new America. As many critics have already noted, when Gaga said: “We’re here to make you feel good” – she meant it. The fact is: Gaga’s music has never really been designed to be deeply analytical or inward facing. Much like some of ABBA’s biggest and best hits, Gaga’s brand of pop often deals in big universal emotions which somehow feel completely personal to you, the listener.
The magic behind these songs doesn’t really need explanation. To my ears, the chants of ‘Ra Ra-ah-ah-ah, Roma Roma-ma’ just feel that little bit epic and evil. I don’t know why, they just do…and I love it. This is why Gaga’s performance was both authentically Gaga and widely applauded. Don’t be fooled by the elaborate fashion and academic interpretations; at its core, this is pop all about pure, unadulterated FEELING.
However, in order to completely contradict the purpose of this post, I started to think about what a setlist with a healthy dose of politics would look like. Additions would include:
- Americano – a batshit pro-immigration opener
- Do What U Want – a defiant nod to anti-abortion legislation
- Perfect Illusion/Bad Romance medley – just a general sense of chaos (?)
- Born This Way (The Country Road Version) – a liberal call-to-arms for conservative country lovers
- The Edge of Glory – a positive vision of what America could be + a bangin’ closer
So there we have it. It’s probably just as well Gaga avoided my suggestions in light of the heavy backlash received by past performers Janet Jackson (nipple-gate) and M.I.A. (finger-gate). Nevertheless, have a listen to my alternate reality setlist below: