Lady Gaga is Not a Fan of Weird Al’s “Born This Way” Parody
Hey: There’s been a HUGE update on the situation since I posted this! Go read the REST of the story!
Weird Al has parodied some of the biggest acts in music. P. Diddy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Madonna and, oh, yeah, Michael Jackson on multiple occasions. And while he isn’t legally required to get permission to perform his parodies (he’s covered under the First Ammendment in that case), he usually seeks out permission from the original artist out of a sense of respect and politess.
Many artists are pretty cool with it. Hell, Charmillionaire praised Weird Al’s parody of “Riding Dirty,” a song called “White & Nerdy” saying “He’s actually rapping pretty good on it, it’s crazy … I didn’t know he could rap like that.” And when Al approached Nirvana about recording “Smells Like Nirvana,” reportedly their only reaction was “Um, is it going to be about FOOD?” (referencing Al’s parodies “Fat” and “Eat It.”)
But it turns out Lady Gaga is NOT a fan of Al’s parody of her single “Born This Way.” Weird Al turned the song into “Perform this Way,” an ode to Gaga’s crazy fashion choices and performance art public persona. Honestly, I feel the song is pretty positive and applauding of Gaga while taking the piss out of her. It says “Yes, she wears crazy outfits, but it’s not because she’s crazy, she’s PERFORMING, that’s what she DOES.”
However, Gaga demanded to hear the song before Weird Al released it. On his blog, Al says that he’s used to artists demanding to see the lyrics to a song, but to actually HEAR it? Well:
We send the lyrics to Lady Gaga and wait on figurative pins and needles for her to give us the go-ahead. After a few days, we get our answer: “She actually needs to hear it. Otherwise the answer is no.”
Hmm. Well, this was mystifying to me. At this point she has the lyrics… and hopefully she is familiar with her own song… and the parody is basically her music… with my lyrics. It really shouldn’t be that hard to decide – based on having the lyrics right in front of you – whether or not you’d be “okay” with a parody. But, alas, we’d been given an ultimatum. If she didn’t hear it, she wouldn’t approve it.
Weird Al had even, from the beginning, intended to donate proceeds from the single’s sale to the Human Rights Campaign. “Based on my concept, I was reasonably sure that my parody wasn’t really going to offend anybody… but I still decided, as an act of good karma, that I would donate all the money from sales of the song and music video to the Human Rights Campaign.”
But Gaga spoke, and Gaga said “No.”
And that’s it. As of this posting, I still don’t know specifically what kind of problem she has with the song (obviously I take a few jabs at her, but y’know, it’s satire – that’s how it’s supposed to work). And I’m especially confused as to why she waited until I actually recorded the song (at her insistence!) before saying no. It’s not like there were any surprises in the finished song that she couldn’t have foreseen by, you know, READING THE LYRICS.
Al has said he will make the song available for free on YouTube and will be offering free downloads through his website, but is upset because sales from the song and video could have raised a good bit of money for HRC. He’s also understandably baffled about what kind of objection Lady Gaga could HAVE to the song.
It’s not like Al hasn’t run into trouble before. In 1996, he recorded a parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” known as “Amish Paradise.” Through a miscommunication, Al was led to believe Coolio had given permission for him to record the parody, however permission was not ACTUALLY given and WOULDN’T have been given: Coolio believed the song was “too serious” to parody and was angry at Al for going ahead with the parody anyway. Since then, the two have patched things up, apparently.
Could Lady Gaga’s problem be that she thinks “Born This Way” is too serious a song to parody? In that case, wouldn’t she have said so from the very beginning, rather than demand lyrics? And considering that Al was fairly respectful in the song and was going to donate proceeds to HRC, is Lady Gaga overreacting to this?
Is Lady Gaga maybe jealous because Weird Al is parodying her while she appears to be parodying HERSELF via the first two singles from Born This Way and the HORRIBLE album cover art?
What do you guys think?