Tragic kingdom, indeed

You know, when dudes do stuff like this, it’s perverted. When Gwen Stefani does it? It’s “building a brand.” But hey, when you’re seemingly incapable of producing a hit song that doesn’t bite from a schoolyard chant or Broadway musical, you take your ideas where you can get them, I guess.

Speaking of her “brand,” her backup singer’s names are also Love, Angel, Music and Baby? I never thought I’d hear stage names that were stupider sounding than The Demon, Starchild, Space Ace and The Catman, but there you go.

Image via Getty.

5 comments for “Tragic kingdom, indeed

  1. April 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I think you’re missing something. While I’m not a big enough fan to <>buy<> her music, let alone listen to it regularly, I appreciate it. Stefani has become a producer of pure pop. I think her art is to demonstrate the brand as art. It is a conscious reflection of the corporatization of music. You cannot appreciate what she does unless you take into account the over-sugary, schmalty crud of today’s corporate rock. Samples from “Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof”, two musicals that are paragons of corporate manufactured innocence by the way, only make her point stronger. Can you imagine samples from “Porgy & Bess” or “Makado”? It wouldn’t work, and it wouldn’t be meaningful.There’s good stuff here. Now, I wonder what it smells like.

  2. April 5, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Vouchey: In that post, I meant to say “I really like her music, but…” since I occasionally enjoy mindless pop tunes, and hers in particular. And you have a good point about Stefani’s art being her brand. Over the last two albums, she’s gone out of her way to lower expectations by saying things like “It’s a party record” (the first one) or “I didn’t really feel like doing another album” (the second one). So by her own admission, the music is (at best) secondary.So we have to consider her are as a pastiche of pop effluvia. On that score, her songs do pretty well as they take pieces of something and create a greater whole. But this Harajuku line is fetishistic. It’s like a sentence with no subject or verb: just an object. Gwen’s music – and her brand – works best when it’s reflective of a teenager’s scrapbook: pictures, mementos, stickers and scrawled words that capture a moment or comment on it. But a perfume named after an anonymous fantasy object…just stinks.

  3. April 5, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Right on about the “pastiche” part. You’re so hot.But the perfume part? Aren’t all perfumes are taken from anonymous fantasies. How about Chanel No. 5?

  4. April 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    You have to admit, though, that, as a brand, the Demon, Starchild, Space Ace and Catman embodied their personas as thoroughly as John, Paul, George and Ringo, the Glimmer Twins moniker of Jagger/Richards, or the Toxic Twins (Steven Tyler and Joe Perry).Put a gun to my head and I’d take Gwen’s brand over Beyonce’s “House of Derriere” or whatever any day.

  5. April 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    late to the game … the *moment* i first heard about her harajuku girls, i was appalled. they grossed me out. i was of the same mind as you … weren’t there tons of guys with strange asian fetishes already? and when taken to even more extremes, guys who wanted to keep asian women as their very own ‘pets’ of sorts?i just assumed this was a phase for one album and would go by the wayside. i was horribly mistaken.

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