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411 Music Fact or Fiction: Is Lady Gaga’s Netflix Documentary Worth Seeing?

September 30, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Lady Gaga

Welcome to the 411 Music Fact or Fiction! This week, Joseph Lee takes on Jeremy Thomas.

The Four sounds like a nice change from the other singing competition shows.

Joseph Lee: FACT – I don’t really watch any singing competition shows and the “King of the Hill” format for this one intrigues me. I might at least watch a few episodes to see if it’s as exciting as it potentially could be.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – There’s a nice-looking coat of paint on it, and that should help it stand out. If we were talking about the judging aspect alone, I wouldn’t be as inclined to give a Fact here. That’s just a slight tweak on the coaching aspect that The Voice uses. But I do like the idea of new challengers coming in to try and eliminate contestants. It gives the whole thing a sort of gauntlet match/Royal Rumble feel, to use terminology from our Wrestling Zone brethren. And the hip-hop/pop focus will be nice, as that’s something most shows steer clear from in favor of strong vocal performers. I don’t know if it will stand out enough to be a hit, but I like that the genre is trying something new.

Luke Bryan is a good choice to judge the American Idol reboot.

Joseph Lee: FACT – I barely know who Luke Bryan even is, but I assume if he’s a successful country music artist he has at least a modicum of talent. At least enough to judge a singing show.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I mean, why not? He’s an incredibly successful music star who is going to help bring in the country demographic, which is a hefty slice of American viewers. He’s a lot better of a choice that some previous people (Hello Nicki, hello Ellen). I won’t say I’m a big fan of his, but that’s because I don’t dig modern country music. He’s an amiable guy and has a lot of experience in the music industry so yeah, I think he’ll do well.

A Britney Spears/Mariah Carey collaboration would be a trainwreck.

Joseph Lee: FACT – There’s just something about their two styles that makes me think it wouldn’t work. Maybe, maybe with a lot of heavy production tricks it could, but I don’t think so. Not that we’re talking about anything but a hypothetical situation here, but it’s not something I want to hear.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Sure, it could be. But I wouldn’t consider that a foregone conclusion. The big potential issue here for me is that Spears doesn’t often collaborate well. That said, it’s more about the fact that she collaborates with artists who don’t necessarily fit her style. (See: Iggy Azalea, T.I.) Carey is a different style than the usual middling group of collaborators and fits more along the lines of Spears’ work with Madonna on “Me Against The Music,” which is her best team-up to date with ease. This is far from a foregone conclusion, but I would interested to see what they could do together.

SWITCH!

You enjoyed Lady Gaga’s Netflix documentary Five Foot Two.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I was definitely interested in Five Foot Two leading up to its release, but I was also prepared for it to be a self-indulgent disaster of a documentary. And to be honest, it is a little self-indulgent at times. But any documentary focusing on a current pop culture figure will end up being so, especially when it’s trying to cut to the core of who the person is. Five Foot Two does a pretty solid job of humanizing Gaga and capturing all the complexities and contradictions that make her a compelling artist and celebrity. She has moments of complete lack of self-awareness here, and then she has moments where she’s incredibly insightful and delivers some on-point commentary about her life, celebrity and a ton of social topics. It’s not in the top tier of documentaries or anything, but it’s miles above the kinds of pop musician documentaries we’ve had over the last several years (Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, etc.).

Joseph Lee: FACT – It was fine. I’m a fan of Gaga’s music and I enjoy her viewpoints presented here for the most part, but I’m okay with never watching it again.

The Killers’ new album Wonderful Wonderful is a step up from Battle Born.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I liked Battle Born, though I realize that not everyone did. That said, Wonderful Wonderful was a pretty great album. Brandon Flowers’ lyrics are pretty well on-point here, giving an even deeper look than usual into his psyche. And musically it all flows nicely, with a polished indie pop-rock sensibility that fits in well with their past works. I liked it better than Battle Born and even Day & Age, making this the best of the band’s LPs since Sam’s Town eleven years ago.

Joseph Lee: FACT – This has been a pretty good year for rock music, in my opinion. Foo Fighters had another great album, Stone Sour had Hydrograd and now The Killers bounce back from Battle Born with another impressive LP.

Lupe Fiasco’s “Running From President” was an enjoyable return track.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT: Lupe Fiasco is one of those artists I don’t get excited over, but I generally enjoy his work when it releases. This was a perfect example of that. I’m not saying it’s going in my regular rotation, but there’s a nice laid-back feel to it. It’s short, clocking in at just under two minutes, but never seems rushed. Soundtrakk’s instrumental is moody and evocative and Fiasco has a good flow going on here. It’s by no means perfect; the production track drowns out some of the lyrics, which are themselves not Fiasco’s best work. But I liked it well enough.

Joseph Lee: FACT – I don’t really know much of Lupe’s work to compare it to, but yeah it was okay enough. Once again, this isn’t my forte but I can usually tell a track I enjoy from one I don’t, at least. This was decent.

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