Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Gets Censored for the Middle East

Like her or hate her, there’s basically no escaping her especially if you tune in for 10 minutes of local radio. Lady Gaga is gearing up to release her upcoming album which she has titled: ARTPOP. A few weeks ago, she revealed the album’s title to be the following:

ARTPOP

Pretty weird, right? It’s not like you’d expect anything less from her at this point though. However, Middle Eastern countries are getting a different and censored version of this same cover, which was just released and is the following:

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They’ve increased the dimension of that ball in front of her, whatever it might mean, to cover her breasts. They’ve also colored her legs black in order to give the impression that she’s covered up.

And yes, Lebanon is one of those countries as is evident by the Lebanese iTunes Store.

I really don’t get this. Did local authorities tell her label they would refuse to sell the album under its previous cover? Or did the label do this out of courtesy? If so, did they really think people wouldn’t simply switch the censored and covered-up cover for the other one in case the decided to purchase the album?

I may not like Lady Gaga and her music but I absolutely hate censorship especially when it’s this absurd and non-sensical. What’s next? Cover her up with a burqa and retitle the album to something regionally-appropriate in order not to irk some people? After all, who knows how they’ll take the “art” in Artpop?

Last time I checked, regardless of whether I agree or not with her methods, she was someone championing for personal liberties and whatnot. Our countries have squashed that right out of the bat – and the album is yet to be released. Perhaps they’ll then censor the track listing as well which contains songs called Sex Dreams and Swine because, as you know, sex and swine are both haram.

I guess the bright side is that this wasn’t banned, not that it would make any difference given that’s available online aplenty.

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Lady Gaga Coming to Lebanon for Byblos 2012 Festival Concert?

The newest rumor circulating around is that Lady Gaga has decided to take the whole “Lebanon” references of her songs to the next level and actually show up in the country for a concert at the Byblos 2012 Festival, as part of The Born This Way Ball.

I can already hear the shrieks of the little monster echoing all the way to New York (or wherever she may be).

The Byblos 2012 Festival has hosted many internationally recognized artists like Scorpions and 30 Seconds to Mars. But perhaps the most “in” artist it will host, if this turns out true, is Lady Gaga.

Will the arena be big enough for all the people who want to go? I don’t think so. Prepare for some serious black market prices if you cannot snatch your tickets early.

Will you be going? Or are you, like me, not tempted by the whole thing?

Top 13 Songs of 2011

Since this is the last day of 2011, I figured I’d save all my “Top of 2011” posts to it. First post to go public – songs:

Note: the top 5 songs can easily be rearranged as you see fit. I have personally classed them as such based on how often I listened to them according to their iTunes play count.

13 – We Are Young – Fun.

This indie band released this song back in September but never got into it until very recently. It’s quirky, exciting and, well, fun. “Tonight, we are young. So let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.”

12 – You and I  – Lady Gaga

One of the few Lady Gaga songs I can stand and my favorite of hers by far. It could be that there’s nothing “Gaga” about it. It could be that it might as well be played on country radio but You and I is definitely the best song on her otherwise disappointing new album: Born This Way. (My review of You and I)

11 – We Owned The Night – Lady Antebellum 

My favorite song off their new album, Own the Night. The lyrics are smooth, fresh and lively. The music is happy, effervescent. The chorus is one line that will get stuck in your head. “Yeah we owned the night!” (My review of We Owned The Night).

10 – Safe & Sound (Feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift

This newly released song is easily one of my favorites of 2011 as well simply because it is a greatly written somber song, perfectly befitting the mood of the movie it will be part of. It is among Swift’s best works and can be one of the few songs she has written that would please a wider fanbase than the teenagers she normally targets. “Just close your eyes, the sun is going down. You’ll be alright, no one can hurt you now. Come morning light you and I’ll be safe and sound.” (My review of Safe & Sound).

9 – Eighteen Inches – Lauren Alaina

My favorite song off Lauren Alaina’s great debut album, Wildflower. It is a sweet song about young lovers who elope to start a new life. “When you’re young and in love you might do some things that don’t seem all that smart. Cause there ain’t no greater distance than the eighteen inches from your head to your heart.”

8 – 20 Years – The Civil Wars 

Absolutely one of the most stunning songs I recently heard. There’s no clear chorus, there’s no clear bridge – it’s nowhere near a typical song you’d hear anywhere. And it’s simply breathtaking. “In the meantime I’ll be waiting for twenty years and twenty more. I’ll be praying for redemption and your note underneath my door and your note underneath my door…”

7 – Skinny Love – Birdy

Released early in 2011, this is a Bon Iver cover. Well, forgive me Bon Iver but your song about heartbreak is conveyed in a way more heartbreaking way by this fifteen year old singer. “Come on skinny love, just last the year. Pour a little salt, you were never here…”

6 – Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People

This alternative hit came out of nowhere and took everyone by surprise. It is a very dark song – even darker than many people think it is. And yet, it comes off as a very smooth listen. “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,You better run, better run, outrun my gun.All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

5 – Rolling In The Deep – Adele

Let the Adele domination of whatever remains of this list begin. Her first single of her smash of an album (or whatever you call selling over 15 million copies worldwide of an album in one year nowadays) is also one of the year’s biggest hits everywhere. “There’s a fire starting in my heart reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark.”

4 – Someone Like You – Adele 

Because no other breakup song can be this good. Someone Like You is chilling. Someone Like You is captivating. Someone Like You is a song almost every other artist out there wishes they had written. “Nothing compares, no worries or cares. Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made. Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?” (My review of Someone Like You).

3 – If I Die Young – The Band Perry

Although released to country radio back in 2010, I’ve decided to include this song in this list because 1. I didn’t have a blog in 2010 and 2. It was released to other radio formats in the US in 2011. There’s just so much I can say about this song and I would still be able to say more. You only need to look at how many people were affected by this song to know exactly the magnitude of its reach. It may not have become the smash hit that Someone Like You or Rolling In The Deep became but it is a song equally worthy, if not more. What song can get a sixty year old woman to stand in a concert in the scorching sun and hold a banner saying: “She died young.” You can’t listen to If I Die Young without being contemplative. “If I die young, bury me in satin. Lay me down on a bed of roses, sink me in the river at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song.”  (My review of If I Die Young).

2 – Set Fire To The Rain – Adele

My favorite song off Adele’s 21. This song is about her breakup – as is all her album, obviously – but this song treats that breakup in a very different light than the other songs. It’s a confusing song in the sense that the beat is there so you’d expect the song to be happy and yet the lyrics are devastating. “My hands, they were strong. But my knees were far too weak to stand in your arms without falling to your feet. But there’s a side to you that I never knew. All the things you’d say, they were never true. All the games you’d play, you would always win.”

1 – Remind Me (feat. Carrie Underwood) – Brad Paisley

The bonafide country hit of the year. Remind Me, the fourth single off Brad Paisley’s new album, is a song about a couple wanting to rekindle their dying romance and it resonates with almost all couples who have been together up to a point where they’ve become so used to each other they take their significant other for granted. The song beholds a stunning vocal performance by Carrie Underwood who’s set to release her fourth album sometime in 2012. “Do you remember how it used to be, we’d turn out the lights and we didn’t just sleep? Remind me, baby remind me.” (My review of Remind Me).

Nancy Afiouny: My Meow – Lebanon’s Lady Gaga/Britney Spears/Other Pop Trash Wannabe

It seems the concept of beauty queen wannabes, models, actresses, etc… wanting to become singers is still selling to some overly wealthy producer like hotcakes.

How about having a former beauty queen contestent, an actress and a model all together in one package? I’m sure the producer who paid for Nancy Afiouny’s foray into the singing world must have thought he hit a gold mine. And what’s more, this actress/beauty queen/model was willing to take it off in her music video in a region where the word conservative would be considered a gross understatement for its sociological description.

In all honesty, I have no problem in watching a video like this, as long as the music behind the video is actually decent enough. Who would mind something like this actually. Don’t start the whole feminist “women stereotyping, sexual image using, etc…” talk. If the women don’t want it, it doesn’t happen. But with horrible pronunciation, obvious Lady Gaga antiques and an atrocious song to top it all off, Nancy Afiouny is just horrid.

I’m not criticizing the overly suggestive music video. In fact, I think this uptight region needs more liberal arts to let it loose a little. After all, the Salafis and the Ikhwans are scoring major wins in Egypt’s recent elections. The Islamists have already won in Tunisia and Morocco. God knows they need to let loose a bit.

But when it comes to Lady Gaga, her music videos have always had – whether you like the song or not – something to back them up musically. Her music videos and music are definitely over the board but they work for her. Lady Gaga however doesn’t work as a costume for Nancy Afiouny – not even Britney Spears or any other pop star/trash for that matter.

Perhaps miss Afiouny is giving the world a gift for St. Barbra’s day this weekend. That kitty costume would sure get lots of horny Islamist men to go meow before they start shouting: “BLASPHEMY.”

As for my ears, they’re still bleeding. The stray cat outside is still meowing in pain.

Proceed at your own risk:

Yoü and I (Single Review) – Lady Gaga


Yoü and I was just announced as the upcoming fourth single off Lady Gaga’s newest album “Born This Way.”

The song continues in the sound departure Lady Gaga has set for herself this era: more Edge of Glory than Judas, if you want – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The soulful, piano-driven, 80’s rock-influenced ballad is about going back to see an old love and not wanting to let that love go. It starts: “It’s been a long time since I came around. It’s been a long time but I’m back in town and this time I’m not leaving without you.”

The lyrics leave nothing to the imagination. It is a highly personal song. Lady Gaga’s fans can easily name the person to whom this song is dedicated: her nebraska guy, who has a bar in New York. “Something, something about this place. Something about lonely nights, and my lipstick on your face. Something, something about my cool Nebraska guy.”

The song is the story of a relationship that started with a long chase: “Something, something about the chase
(Six whole years).” And ended with Lady Gaga not wanting to let him go but had to. Now, two years later, she’s back to her hometown and she’s not leaving without him, despite the relationship being tumultuous. However, she can’t get over the small gestures she loved: “On my birthday you sang me a heart of gold with a guitar humming and no clothes.”

Lady Gaga’s vocal performance on this song is one of her best. She injects the lyrics and melody with energy that takes the whole song to another level. The song could have easily been monotonous, but her nuances and injections here and there elevate it into a breathy and easy-to-listen to track.

The interesting thing about the choice of Yoü and I as a single is that, even though the album has other electropop songs that would become faster and surer hits on radio, Lady Gaga chose this “unconventional” song for pop radio. It could be that seeing the runaway success Adele is currently having, Lady Gaga has realized the electropop age is fading and is slowly trying to get listeners to get accustomed to her new intended sound. If that’s the case, I have hope her upcoming music releases would be even better and show true artistry, not just flashy gimmicks to grab attention.

Deviating away from trends is Lady Gaga’s niche. Yoü and I continues this trend and this time, it just works. The song is great. Whether radio embraces it and turns it into a big hit is another matter entirely. But it’s Lady Gaga so you know the hype will be big. And at the end of the day, a true artist knows they have a clear path to self-expression. I’m glad Lady Gaga is not worried about the risks that her path involves. But the fact of the matter is, Yoü and I wasn’t the only song off Born This Way to go top 10 on iTunes without being a single for no reason. There’s a lot of appeal behind it. Hopefully it will translate into a successful single that will continue in steering Lady Gaga in this direction.

Listen to Yoü and I:

Lady Gaga Unbanned in Lebanon

It looks like our lovely General Security peeps have put their paws up because they were born this way – and that is bipolar.

Mere days after they banned the release of Lady Gaga’s new album, Born This Way, they have revoked their decision and released the album at various Virgin Megastore outlets, the country’s leading music retailer.

While I am all for the decision since I’m against banning the album in the first place, regardless of content, I have to wonder what changed their minds. Could it be the overwhelming pressure from bloggers and social media users? I hardly think so. It might have simply been a case of them looking at the tracklist, seeing the words: Bloody Mary, Black Jesus, Judas and deciding that this is offensive – which is exactly how Lebanese censorship works, by the looks of it: scan the outside, it if doesn’t pass, cut it.

Well, I, for one, am not buying the album simply because I’m not willing to cough up a ridiculous amount of money for it – money that I’d rather spend elsewhere. But for Gaga’s Lebanese “little monsters” as they call themselves, they are already flocking down to Virgin Megastore to buy the singer’s album, as reported by twitter user BilalWH.

And as Lady Gaga would tell her little monsters: just put your paws up, because round one goes to you.