news

Lady Gaga studies? University of Huddersfield academic looks at icon's Telephone hit

Dr Lisa Colton has contributed to Lady Gaga and Popular Music - Performing Gender, Fashion and Culture

Her research has seen her explore the heavenly music of medieval mystics and delving deep into ancient archives.

But now University of Huddersfield lecturer Lisa Colton’s research has struck a contemporary note – the provocative pop and outrageous style statements of Lady Gaga.

The star is pictured above in Manchester last week.

Dr Colton, who is subject leader for music at the university, will publish her new book, Angel Voices: Medieval English Music in History shortly.

But her latest publication, out now, is a contribution to a volume entitled Lady Gaga and Popular Music - Performing Gender, Fashion and Culture.

In it, she examines the Lady Gaga song Telephone.

Lady Gaga - Telephone

It charted around the world in 2009 and was accompanied by an ambitious promotional video, virtually a mini-movie, that features an appearance by another female pop icon, Beyoncé.

“I was approached by the editors of the book because they knew I was interested in pop music as it relates to issues of gender, identity and sexuality,” said Dr Colton.

“There are lots of things I would have been happy to write about Lady Gaga, such as her attitudes towards disability, empowerment or queer theory.

“But I thought that her song Telephone would be a good opportunity to explore technology as well - that is, the technology that makes the song work, such as microphones and sampling, and the telephone itself.”

When she began her research, Dr Colton decided to establish how many popular songs were themed around the telephone.

“It turned out that there were well over a hundred songs where the telephone figures prominently.

“Sometimes they feature conversations that are clearly on the phone and sometimes the telephone is really important in the drama of the song.”

Huddersfield University lecturer Lisa Colton
View full mobile page