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Published:May 20th, 2011 08:39 EST
lady gaga madame pompadour

Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga, Let Down Your Hair!

By John G. Kays

As I listen to Lady Gaga`s new single Hair, a kaleidoscope of grab-bag ephemera whiffs past my head and into the thin air. A Brothers Grimm portrait of Rapunzel is with me. And I hear echoes of the late 1960s `American Tribal Love-Rock Smash Hair.`

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Then a litany of characters stream-forth on the stage of my mind " Samson from the Old Testament, the long-haired William Shakespeare, and The Beatles all produced better art because their hair was friggin` long.


Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga, let down your hair. The retro-`80s disco pump-princess diva does just that, by paying homage to this cherished tradition, the idea that strength and freedom is derived from the strands of hair on top of your head.

Not that Gaga`s take on this well-oiled (a little dab will do you) tradition is in any way original, but rather that it boosts, regenerates, revives, resurrects an interesting recurring theme.

As I listen, I find myself swinging an imaginary mane, not one rented from a costume shop, when in reality I`m practically bald. I long for the freedom of mellifluous Goldy Locks, but it`s just aint there. This is testament to the pulsing disco beat of Gaga`s song, and the hook that`s a sonic boom bouncing off a disco ball: "Uh Huh, Uh Huh."

Rapunzel connections were made in terms of seeing Gaga`s parents, who make her cut her hair off in the opening stanza, as equivalents to the mean witch Dame Gothel, who chops off Rapunzel`s golden locks so as to prevent her from letting her prince-boy from scaling her lonely tower, where she withers away in misery and isolation.

Gaga wears beaucoup wigs which act as surrogates for the freedom of hair that she so longs for. Or is she emulating Cher from the 1970s, who would don every conceivable wig imaginable from the shelves of Halloween costume shops, whose gags contain surprises of Madame Pompadour or `Let Them Eat Cake` hairdos of Marie Antoinette?

Back to the song. Gaga`s voice is more like Cher`s in If I Could Turn Back Time than any Madonna tribute. Bruce Springsteen attributes are noticeable, but not too intrusive. Saxophone lines of Clarence Clemens are mere texture, not full-blown leads. The sampling of as free as my hair is a nice touch, followed by hairy hairy hair. Or sumpin` like that.

Okay, how `bout Hare Krishna? But it`s chant-like, just like Aquarius or long beautiful hair in an Anti-War Peace Generation musical that swept our nation many moons ago. Our Lady soaks up Americana like a sponge hungry to reinvent and re-vet these familiar themes, that need a new skin in our Cloud Computing Age of social media and viral piracy of a reworked belief system.

It just so happens Gaga finds her home in 1980s disco, which picks up where Donna Summers and Cher or even Madonna leave the stage for greener grass. And the torch is passed to a new generation of Americans.  But it`s not plagiarism, it`s recycled, reprocessed pop that recalls many more moldy trends, that won`t ever go away.

Realized freedom through the strands of your hair is still just as timely today as it was when long hair was used (mid-1960s) as a weapon against our parents. You`re wrong, I can grow my hair down to my butt and still get a day  job!

This is getting stupid, I need to climb up that spiraling fairy-tale tower and visit lonesome Rapunzel and spin Gaga`s new single Hair one more time.