The last 12 months have not been kind to Stefani Germanotta. Once the indisputable champ of pop music, Lady Gaga now seems unsure who she wants to be or where she wants to go. Her latest album, ARTPOP, was 2013’s biggest flop, a tedious listen that lacked the spark and creativity of her previous efforts. Rumors suggested that the album’s asisine marketing campaign cost her label upward of $25 million and turmoil within her camp followed soon after. Then, for the cherry on top, Beyoncé released her new album at moment’s notice, with no publicity, and sold four times as many copies as ARTPOP did in its opening week.
Needless to say, Gaga is struggling right now, and that was particularly evident during her performance at SXSW last night. How else do you explain having a human intentionally vomit on you not once, not twice, but over ten times? I get the connotations behind “Swine” (being treated with no regard), but last night’s performance reeked of desperation, to be shocking for the hell of it. Elsewhere during the set, she tied herself to a giant roasting spit, doused herself with beer, and had a woman eat sausage on stage.
“Fuck you pop music!” Gaga shouted toward the end of “Swine”, perched atop a giant mechanical bull on the Doritos’ Bold Stage. I couldn’t agree more.