Going Gaga Over Rilke

by Kiko Matsing

Lady Gaga showing off her new tatoo from Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”

Confess to yourself in the deepest hour of the night whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. Dig deep into your heart, where the answer spreads its roots in your being, and ask yourself solemnly, Must I write?

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Nice. Better than the usual tramp stamp. I’ve always liked Gaga’s self-conscious fakery. She is unabashedly all about surfaces, so admitting to be a fan of the early 20th century contemplative German poet is quite a surprise. Or is it? After all, Letters‘ theme of artistic self-discovery appeals most to anxious adolescents–her solid fan base. Lauren Hill’s character was inspired by it in Sister Act 2.

Lady Gaga takes Glam Rock and 80’s pop as her primary stylistic influences. I’ve always thought her baroque flamboyance channels Elton John, especially on the piano. It comes as no surprise that the two would eventually share the same stage, at the Grammy’s at that.