We love Lady Gaga here, and we also love Jack White (even if we have dubbed him "the world's weirdest rock star"). Which is why we're sad to see the former White Stripes star slam Mamma Monster in the pages of Esquire UK this month. As this dispute threatens to become the next great musical feud, we're declaring our allegiance to Team Gaga right off the bat, not just because this is Popdust and not, like, Rootsrockdust, but also because White's criticisms are the same rockiest BS we've been hearing for years.
From the mag:
Amongst other things, the fiercely opinionated White gives his take on Twitter (not keen), the state of modern celebrity (also not keen) and Lady Gaga (even less keen). "I don’t think she lives it because it’s all artifice," says White of Gaga. "It’s all image with no meaning behind it. You can’t sink your teeth into it. It’s a sound bite. It’s very of this age, because that’s what people want."
It's not hard to see what White's doing here: He's trying to build up his image as the last "real" rock star by scoring points off mainstream pop, embodied in Lady Gaga. That is why, like most attempts to draw a line in the sand between "us" and "them," White's arguments don't really hold up on any logical level. Of all the pop stars in the galaxy, Lady Gaga—outspoken social justice advocate and founder of ItGetsBettercore—is the one you choose to personify meaningless flash?
Even more bizarre is White's newfound stance against "artifice." What is dressing your band entirely in red and white, if not an aesthetic decision with no deeper meaning behind it? What is owning and operating your own old-timey gadget store if not a grown-up version of playing dress-up? What was the "Fell in Love With a Girl" video, if not a sound bite?
Once upon a time (last year) Jack White collaborated with Insane Clown Posse on a cover of a Mozart song about anilingus. That was a silly bit of disposable fluff any artist would be proud to have on their CV. Why is he now being Mr. Authenticity?
UPDATE: Jack White was misquoted! Says Jack White, at least. Here's his statement, released Wednesday afternoon:
I'd like to address the recent tabloidesque drama baiting by the press in regards to Lady Gaga. I never said anything about her music, or questioned the authenticity of her songs in any way. I was in a conversation about the drawbacks of image for the sake of image, and that it is popular nowadays to not question an image in front of you, but only to label it as "cool" or "weird" quickly and dispose of it. I don't like my comments about Lady Gaga's presentation being changed into some sort of negative critique of her music. If you're going to try to cause drama, at least get the quotes right. I think journalists should also be held accountable for what they say. Especially publications like the NME who put whatever words they feel like between two quotation marks and play it off as a quote. maybe somebody with more lawyers can take them to task, but I'll just use the internet and twitter instead. I also think that kind of tabloid drama encourages artists to not express their opinions in the press, and instead give polite soundbites that don't stimulate thought about creativity and the consumption of art in its many guises. Peace to lady gaga and I fully congratulate and compliment her on her championing of gay rights issues and the momentum it's given to help create change.
Jack White III
Was Jack White actually misquoted, or is this just a rushed CYA job? We have no way of knowing! Here, enjoy the song below, and ponder on the fundamental subjectivity of human experience.