According to Billboard, Lady Gaga is on a comeback trail of sorts, by reminding everyone that she can "really, really sing." Of course, her Sound of Music medley at the Academy Awards was a highlight -- that is, unless you ask Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of How to Get Away with Not Having This. And Gag's jazzy duet album with Tony Bennett was a brilliant step and introduced her to a new fan base, while all but relegating ARTPOP to the American Life/Damita Jo/Glitter phase of her career. But is she in need of a comeback to begin with? Already?
Coming up on eight years in the game, Gaga has had her share of ups and downs, but it's hard out there for a pop diva these days. The Taylor Swifts, Katy Perrys, and Rihannas of the world are all vying for pop supremacy while Beyonce relaxes in a House of Dereon sweatsuit, polishing her 20 Grammys with an Ostrich feather duster. It's how she relaxes. Gags has always separated herself from the pop pack with her considerable chops and a cavalier flirtation with "art" and the fourth wall of this thing we call fame.
If she is mounting a comeback, appealing to as mass an audience as possible by paying homage to a beloved family musical on Hollywood's most innocuous night is one way to go about it. Here are five other ways Gaga can get her groove back.
1. Variety Show
The variety show died a slow painful death in the '70s and attempts to revive them have fallen terribly flat. The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour anyone? Didn't think so. But Lady Gaga and The Muppets' Holiday Spectacular was kind of perfect. Give her something along the lines of The Cher Show, with just an inordinate amount of costume changes -- Bob Mackie's still alive, after all -- and Gaga hamming it up with other famous guests and the variety show genre might come roaring back to life. But keep it to a half hour -- no one has an attention span to sit through an hour of shtick these days.
2. Just Dancehall
It's time to pick up that disco stick and start swinging away, girlfriend. For whatever reason, I want to see Gaga doing a dancehall album. Just getting real turnt up. We're slowly, and thankfully, moving away from all the Ibiza-ready EDM jams that Gaga helped popularize, but why not take a private jet down to Jamaica and learn to not only drop down, but also subsequently get your eagle on. Also, it'd be a great platform to address the rampant homophobia in dancehall and Gaga loves nothing more than a platform. Heel, or otherwise.
3. Let the Lady Go Gaga
Lately the Lady's been taking the spotlight, and the Gaga laying low. These halves of her persona are constantly at odds, with the more outre elements coming out in her style of dress and her performances, not necessarily in her music. Gaga's theatrics often distract from rather than enhance her musical accomplishments, which may be where ARTPOP failed. Nothing was as interesting as her ambition around it, though the music didn't live up to the hype. No one puts on a spectacle like Stefani Germanotta, but she's gotta find a way to make her Gaga as refined as her Lady.
4. Work Halftime
If she really wants to broaden her appeal, there's no bigger audience for an entertainer than the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Katy Perry and her dancing sharks almost made me overcome years of bored animosity compounded by genuine puzzlement at her success. And that's saying a lot.
5. Diva Duets
Gaga's had success with duets in the past -- "Video Phone"/"Telephone" are still the best call-based duets in history. The duets album is usually reserved for later in an artist's career, when they don't care and can just show up in their home studio in between firing people, but Gaga's been hanging out with Tony Bennett so she's distinguished by association. Recruit Bey to complete the Ladyonce trilogy, get duet maestro Babs Streisand to revive "Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)" and give me a shout-out when you win Album of the Year.
Les Fabian Brathwaite, constantly caught in a bad romance.