With an 82% drop in its second week, from 305,280 to 45,536, “Artpop” is so stiff, you could iron a shirt on it.
And everybody knows.
Nobody wants to go to a show no one else is attending.
Heat. That’s what gets people to go; when your friends are going, when it’s the place to be and you don’t want to be left out. But you’re not missing anything if you stay home. Hell, you’ve already seen it all on TV. And that’s enough for most people.
Lady Gaga needs to reinvent herself. She needs to follow in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera, of all people. Christina’s album was dead as a doornail, so she stayed home, with some lame excuse I can’t even remember, and that’s just the point. Then she burnished her image on “The Voice,” dieted down and went from being the scourge of the tabloids to their darling.
Gaga needs to make a similar transition. She’s got no manager — and not only does a manager run interference, he or she gives you guidance from outside the bubble. Gaga believes if she just keeps spinning faster, doing more, changing outfits multiple times a day, we’ll care. But we don’t.
Fallout for Kanye
Is Kanye West killing his career, or will he be able to recover?
Kanye has an advantage over Gaga and most acts. He was never a man of the people, never on their side. So he doesn’t have to worry about losing their trust so much as being ignored.
He has yet to cure cancer or create Google. But he keeps telling us he’s an oppressed genius. It’s tough being a black man in America, but the last time I checked, the president was African-American, and although racism is still rampant, is that what’s truly holding Kanye back, or is it that he’s not paid his dues and demonstrated skills in areas other than music? Michael Jordan couldn’t make it in baseball, despite being a much better player than the average Joe. Why is it those who win in one sphere automatically believe they can in another?
Furthermore, Kanye’s lost track of the narrative. His album had very little impact, and now it’s all fiancee Kim Kardashian, all the time; she may be rich but she’s a borderline laughing stock. “SNL” skewered her so sharply she’s shish kebab, and almost impossible to take seriously.
Oh, that’s right — we never did. Her skill was being a tabloid train-wreck, a role she plays well.
Now Seth Rogen and James Franco are making fun of Kanye. Used to be he was off limits. Now he’s a punching bag, like Gaga. Then again, who wouldn’t make fun of his inane sex-on-a-motorcycle video? It’s so ridiculous you can only laugh — at him.
Is this the end of Kanye?
Like I said, the public was never on his side. If he releases great music, he can climb back up, especially in the modern era where the cycle is so fast that what happened today is forgotten next week. But trends have changed. Radio and the critics have embraced Lorde, who is not only not hip-hop, but rails against the trappings of blowhard, hedonistic, materialistic celebrities in her monster hit “Royals.” In other words, do we really care about Louis Vuitton, never mind leather jogging pants? Is Lorde ushering in an era of what’s inside as opposed to outside? One that’s no longer about surface trappings but thought?
We’re ready for it.
Not that the public will give up reading the tabloids any time soon. But right now, the only place Kanye lives is in gossipland. And that’s a hell no musician wants to endure.
If you don’t lead with your music, you’re on the way out.