The 2010 Time 100, the magazine”s annual list of people “who most affect our world,” came out today and guess who”s on it? Lady GaGa, that”s who. We bet she”s not a bit surprised.
Her inclusion was a sure bet, given that you can”t turn on the radio without hearing a Lady GaGa song or turn on TV without seeing a LG video. Every move she makes is scrutinized in breathless detail: “Will she wear pants today?” “Is that a lobster on her head?” Every blonde in a pageboy-even ones who wore them long before we knew who Lady GaGa was, like, in 2008, is accused of copying her style.
In Time, Cyndi Lauper says of Lady Gaga: “An artist’s job is to take a snapshot – be it through words or sound, lyrics or song – that explains what it’s like to be alive at that time. Lady Gaga’s art captures the period we’re in right now.”
Three other pop singers made the list: Taylor Swift, Elton John, Prince.
Stevie Nicks wrote the essay accompanying Swift”s inclusion, clearly a vote of confidence for Swift following their Grammy duet that left Swift open to brutal criticism for her performance. Nicks declares Swift no less than a savior for the record industry: “Taylor is writing for the universal woman and for the man who wants to know her,” Nicks writes. “The female rock-‘n’-roll-country-pop songwriter is back, and her name is Taylor Swift. And it’s women like her who are going to save the music business.”
We admit we raised our eyebrows at Prince”s inclusion. He is unarguably one of the most influential artists of all time, but we couldn”t think why he would be included for any activity in 2010. Turns out neither could Usher, who lionizes him in Time and notes that he picked Prince as a role model over Michael Jackson (you could have fooled me) because Prince had a “rawness.” We would never dispute Prince”s role in music history, it just seems like a strange year to name him.
We felt somewhat similarly about Elton John, who, astonishingly, had never made the list before. It”s impossible to say enough about John and the role he played in propelling pop music
forward, but it turns out that director Stephen Daldry praises John for going against the grain and for his courage, not his 2010 musical accomplishments: “He was a pop star who, against the advice of his peers, waded into musical theater. He joined the battle against AIDS when it was unpopular and stayed in long after the cause had faded from the spotlight,” writes Daldry. “He is one of the world’s great artists, and he uses his considerable resources to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable among us.” For that alone, John should be on the list every year. Talk about Timeless.
Among the artists who were candidates for the publicly-voted list who didn’t make the final 100 and Beyonce,T Bone Burnett, Rain, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, Adam Lambert, Kanye West and Patti Smith.