Lady Gaga’s new album, Born This Way, is coming out on May 23. Until then, she’s keeping herself busy ramping up her level of, well, what we’ll call eccentricity. She released a widely-reviled album cover and recently gave a bizarre NME interview where she said that it would be “retarded” for anyone to think she lifted anything from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. (Even though no one who’s heard both songs could help but hear the similarities.)
So maybe, after all that, she’s feeling a little sensitive right now. That’s OK. People are allowed to get defensive about their work, even when their latest single is in large part about baiting Christians.
So, when “Weird Al” Yankovich came to her, asking if he could do a parody of the title track and lead single from her new album, if she wanted to refuse, we could give her that. That’s not the way it went down, though; Exclaim! sums up a blog post Yankovich did on the matter. According to him, Gaga’s camp first asked for the lyrics that he would use, which Yankovich submitted, then asked to hear the finished song, which Yankovich also let them do. It was then that they decided to refuse the legendary satirist permission.
Yankovich doesn’t really need that permission. Parodies like the one he recorded for Gaga, and subsequently posted to YouTube where you can hear it above, are completely legal. From every interview or anything I’ve ever seen of the guy, he’s just a genuine and nice man who wants to be polite. He doesn’t ask because he has to, he asks because he’s courteous. And you should listen to the song: he pokes fun at the lady behind “Poker Face”, but, as it always is with Yankovich, its gentle, good-natured fun.
Instead of taking it as a compliment and a testament to her pop-idol status, Lady Gaga decided to make Yankovich jump through hoops, commit to studio time, and then deny him without giving any reason. Bad move, I say.
UPDATE 1: According to the A.V. Club, there might be some question as to whether or not Gaga ever heard the song.
UPDATE 2: Crisis averted. According to the same article linked right above, Gaga will now let Yankovich release the song on his album.