Category Archives: lady gaga

Perform this Way – Weird Al’ Latest

Weird Al is still alive and kicking, apparently.

Weird Al released his latest music video parodying Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”.

I enjoyed this crass display, a little hard to watch his face on a woman’s body, but as the music video moves along, it gets more funny, I like the Madonna reference.

I hope Weird Al keeps releasing music videos.

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Lady Gaga “Edge of Glory” and Katy Perry “Last Friday Night” and Julie Feeney’s “Impossibly Beautiful”

I have to admit, I didn’t like “The Edge of Glory” when I first heard it. It’s grown on me, I think I just like singing it more than listening to it, to be honest. I’m already planning on doing an acoustic cover of it.

What’s great about the music video, is that it’s just Lady Gaga, no back-up dancers, no other tricks. Just her make-up and clothes posing on a fire escape. I like the 80s/90s vibes. It reminds me of Janet Jackson in “The Pleasure Principle”. It works and has to be one of my favorite Lady Gaga videos. It feels stripped down and real.

Also, fighting in the next corner in this Pop battle, is Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”. A huge nod to the 80s. Kenny G, Hanson, one of the “Corys”, Debbie Gibson and several 80s references bring back this blast from the past. It’s like the movie, “She’s All That” and “Sixteen Candles”. It’s cute, entertaining and Katy Perry is charming.

I mostly just like the music video. I think like the audience for this song are teenagers, but the video can be enjoyed by anyone and should be watched. What’s funny is that in both of these videos, there are saxophone solos. Is the saxophone the new summer sound? Both of these videos have 80s elements, saxophone solos, and that’s where the comparison ends. Lady Gaga’s lyrics are more meaningful and Katy Perry’s is fun and light hearted. Can’t really compare the two videos, but they are both fun to watch.

I also had a chance to interview Julie Feeney, an Irish singer/songwriter/composer. Her album “Pages” just released in the U.S. and she just wrapped up a mini tour in the U.S. She was a pleasure to talk to and my interview with her will be up soon on my music Examiner page.

Check out her creative, “Impossibly Beautiful” music video.

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The Fall of Gaga

I have stated previously in this blog, that I wanted this blog to be about good music, and not to be like Perez Hilton and rip apart artists, condemn musicians and the like. I rather put out positive posts and instead of ripping apart a well-known artist, to use that time to talk about a lesser-known artist.

I don’t want to rip apart Lady Gaga, and I won’t, but I did want to comment on the reactions I’ve seen lately on her music. From personal Facebook fans to anonymous people on Vevo and Youtube, there is a backlash against Gaga that I’m wondering will garner steam and take down the eccentric Queen of the Pop Universe from her throne.

Lady Gaga’s latest songs seem like reincarnations of her previous hits, but not only that, the production doesn’t seem the same as the Fame Monster album. Lady Gaga’s first single, “Born this Way” was a disappointment. The lyrics were great, and amazing for the gay community. The song itself, not up to par as her previous hits. “Judas” came out, and just reminds me of a copy of “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro”. Then, “The Edge of Glory” came out, and it almost seems unrecognizable as the same artist that was so groundbreaking and poppy in the beginning of her career.

The fans have definitely noticed and are lashing out. What surprises me the most, is how quickly they turned on her. They loved her with a fervor, then they turn around and hate her, all over the internet. Denouncing her, saying they won’t be fans anymore. I can’t really say Lady Gaga sold out, she’s the most artistic she’s ever been in her career and her lyrics are more button-pushing than ever before. She is actually talking about issues in these songs, which is commendable, although the delivery isn’t coming across the same. With easier songs to stomach, dance songs can go straight into catchy dance hooks. With these issue-pushing songs, it’s not as catchy, and the songs are darker because the lyrics actually reflect the mood of the song.

I’m not a die-hard fan of Lady Gaga, my Queen of Pop will always be Madonna. Although, I respect Gaga’s artistic integrity and her messages she cultivates with her music videos. She’s the only “artist” as of this moment. Katy Perry and Rihanna are just regurgitating whatever images the major record labels want them to do, and we all know what happens if that goes on for too long (*coughs* Britney Spears). This is what I think, and I’m not sure what is really going on behind the scenes for all these artists, but sometimes it’s just plain noticeable when an artist is really relaying a message, or just playing dress up.

Those are my two cents on this Pop music battle, and as far as Lady Gaga’s future, hopefully she picks up with some original catchy songs, lest I fear the fans will bury her alive…

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2011: The Year of the Female Pop Star

I’ve been wanting to say that for a few months now, but I wasn’t sure if I was too hasty in making that remark. The year isn’t over yet, and hip hop is all over the radio station, so much it’s nauseating how much I can switch back and forth from Eminem to whatever the hip hop artist of the month is.

Not to bash hip hop, I do like good hip hop and Tinie Tempah is definitely refreshing, also Diddy and Kanye West have made good hip hop albums, and Eminem did make some good hits, what’s playing on the radio… just feels like I am losing brain cells just listening to it.

But, what IS happening in music, and on the charts is the female pop star. Hip hop may be dominating radio, but the girls are dominating the charts, on iTunes, every time I look, I see Adele, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Lady Gaga with their latest hit. Even Jennifer Lopez, Black Eyed Peas (ok, not, a solo pop star, but Fergie does get a lot of attention), Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Ke$ha, Jessie J, Taylor Swift are making the charts and making a team of female singers not to be messed with.

This year, the number one artist seems to rotate between Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears and Adele. The Fab Five in 2011. Their singles get leaked, or audio only samples are shown on Vevo before the official music video is released and their latest dance pop hit can’t help but make number one or a lot of noise on the internet.

What’s so intriguing about these artists? They all have an edge, their music is catchy, danceable and they all have some kind of scandal in one way or another. Maybe not so negative a scandal, as Katy Perry, with a wedding to Russell Brand, but definitely interesting and gossip-worthy, and Adele is too new to the scene to have any scandal. She’s also the credible singer, and not a dance pop star, but her music is making waves.

New starlets are crawling into the cracks, it seems like daily. Kerli, Adele, Oh Land, Clare Maguire, Ellie Goulding, Skylar Grey, Naomi Scott are these new up and comers that are making a splash in their own way.

I decided to do a little experiment. For today’s iTunes 200, I counted up the hits of all the female pop artists (excluding Country, so Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood aren’t in this recording, but should be noted as they each have a position on the iTunes 200 as of today), and I wanted to calculate who was on top as of this moment.

Female pop solo artists make up 20% of the iTunes 200 as of today.

Adele and Katy Perry both have 6 songs on the charts, making them the leaders as of this moment. Adele, Katy Perry and Britney Spears round up the top 3 positions. Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry and Britney Spears all together have 21 songs in the Top 200.

It’s interesting to see the numbers, I thought I would see more of a percentage, but when you think about it, just for female pop stars alone, it’s a big percentage. There is also a lot of country and hip hop and Glee songs (Glee has 7 songs on the chart).

Which Pop Star will reign supreme? Wait until the end of the year to see how it all goes down. For now, I’m enjoying this pop explosion, and looking forward to following up all the newbies on the music scene.

Remixes of the Top 3 Songs right now.

Katy Perry’s “E.T.”

Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”

Adele “Rolling in the Deep”

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Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and What it Means for Indie Artists and the Music Business

I remember reading on Twitter and Facebook about Rebecca Black. Social media was blazing about this horrific song/video. Like one of those police car chases they show on TV from time to time, I was intrigued and had to look.

This article is about my two cents about the music video and more about the plight of the indie artist and what it takes to get noticed.

In the past, let’s say, about twenty to thirty years ago, in order for musicians to get their music out on a national and public scale, they needed to get signed by a record label. There was no getting around it, you needed to play the clubs, hope for an A&R man (Artist & Repertoire) to scout you, meet the head honchos, then they would brand you, or “develop” you. Create your look, prepare you and get you ready, and then you would make albums, tour and become a star.

The name of the artist game has changed significantly in the past few years, and it’s still changing this very moment. What’s going on? The internet. The internet kind of gave the public their own right to pick and choose the music that they wanted to hear, from all over the world. The public didn’t want to pay $20 for an album of one or two good songs and the rest crap. They wanted to buy that one or two songs (or download for free) and ignore the rest.

The record labels crumbled, but wait, not so fast, it’s not what you think it is.

In a way, it was good for indie artists and musicians. Indie artists, if they were good enough, almost in an American Idol fashion, could be voted into the mainstream if they got enough hits on Youtube or Facebook. A&R guys changed their game, instead of being discovered in a club, they’ll look for the next big thing on the internet, if you’re already generating buzz, then you’re a surefire hit, and probably a gain to the company. But, for the first time, indie artists who didn’t make it big, could make a living touring, making music without becoming huge names. If you hit the right niche market, you could tour and use social media and the internet to gain fans, you can release music yourself and do it all yourself.

The DIY Musician was born. But, again, it’s not what you think it is. The DIY Musician can only get so far. Without a record label, the DIY Musician cannot get national, or international stardom without the big marketing campaigns the record labels have under their belts.

And then, there are those who are lucky enough to get national attention with that ONE Youtube video. Greyson Chance, the Lady Gaga covering kid, got major attention after a flawless cover of one of Gaga’s classics, “Paparazzi”. Rebecca Black, an indie artist also found fame, for all the wrong reasons. Rumored that her parents paid $2,000 for a demo (the going rate for a demo is $1,500 per song from producers, believe it or not), Black made a song that was called one of the worst songs ever made. Her tone is flat, even aut0-tuning couldn’t really fix this song. The lyrics might as well have been from a Dr. Seuss book. It was a train wreck that everyone had to watch.

In spite of that, it was such a mess that it made her famous, she got into the iTunes Top 100 charts, and that $2,000 investment her parents made was the wisest choice they probably have ever made.

I heard from someone on Twitter, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t write it down, but they basically said you have to be really good in music or really bad, you won’t get noticed if you’re in between. Rebecca Black was really bad, and it paid off. Social media helps indie artists, the really good ones do get through and unfortunately, so do the really bad ones. There is a way for indie artists to get out there, do-it-themselves and follow their dreams. Instead of the record labels controlling what we hear, more and more the public is taking what they hear, and dictating what they like, even if they don’t like it, and making it popular.

An interesting time in the music business.

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A Special Blast from the Past Friday: Ace of Base Meets Lady Gaga

All right, readers, I have a special Blast from the Past Friday for you today!

I’ve been wanting to write a post about how Lady Gaga uses references from Ace of Base, so for today’s Blast from the Past Fridays, I’m going to show you some of my favorite Ace of Base songs and show the correlation with Lady Gaga’s music.

I remember falling in love with the Swedish band, Ace of Base back in the 90s on an airplane. I was listening to the airplane radio and I heard “It’s A Beautiful Life” for the first time. I loved the pop, the dance and the synths. I later bought my first Ace of Base album, The Bridge back in 1995. I still whip out that album from time to time. There are a ton of good songs on that album. There’s great song writing. The lyrics are great, very poetic, “your tears are like pearls (Experience Pearls)/you’re as reliable as wave-wet sand (Wave Wet Sand)/when I was your age I was working my ass off, your generation’s soft (Blooming 18)“.

And no, I was never a fan of “The Sign”.

I heard from the grapevine that Lady Gaga was influenced by Ace of Base. It is extremely evident. When I heard “Alejandro” I heard the same exact rhythm/beat from “Blooming 18”. You can also say, “Alejandro” sounds just like, “Don’t Turn Around”.

I love that Lady Gaga is influenced by Ace of Base. In my opinion, Ace of Base was one of the most original pop acts in the 1990s. Their lyrics and song writing still hold up to today. Unfortunately, the synths now sound outdated, but I think a remake of the songs would be brilliant, and in essence, what Lady Gaga has done. She’s taken the upbeat, dance rhythms from Ace of Base and has made it modern. Ace of Base also had very original lyrics, ranging from religion, utopias, coming of age, dating guys that disappear, it goes on.

Ace of Base later came out with Cruel Summer in 1998. That album was good as well, they had an improved pop sound, with some throwbacks to the 50s. Although, The Bridge will be one of the best albums in my pop musical library, and it still inspires me to this day. Not bad for an album 16 years old.

Ace of Base “It’s a Beautiful Life”

Now check out Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” then listen to “Blooming 18” and “Don’t Turn Around”

 

 

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The Art of Lady Gaga: Born This Way Music Video

Lady Gaga’s latest single, “Born This Way” exploded on the music charts. Lady Gaga tweeted that she had to release the song early because she was so excited about the track. She performed the song at the Grammy’s, emerging out of an iridescent egg and wearing latex to promote safe sex.

Last week, the music video for “Born this Way” was released online, topping Vevo’s charts.

The music video starts off like a 70s Sci-Fi movie, with 70s sounding music to boot. The purple triangle and the rainbow are gay symbols, and I think the unicorn also adds to the symbols. Unicorns are also known for purity and innocence. Gaga explains that she is the Queen of an alien territory in space, and she is an eternal mother. She promotes goodness, and there is also another mother of evil in space. Lady Gaga has explored feminist theories, images and also pushes the envelope with homosexuality.

With the explanation of a Queen Mother, Gaga is promoting the most feminine thing of all, being able to give birth. She sheds light on giving birth as a sense of control. Since she can give birth, she has control of the universe. A very strong message and image as well, as we see through a double mirror of babies being born. This is something not really explored in music videos, and it feels strange to see such an image, but it is also very interesting that Gaga has embraced her femininity and also takes the strength that being a woman has enormous control and power.

There is also a starry outline of a uterus, again giving power to being a woman. Lady Gaga shows a production line of Gaga heads, explaining that she has giving birth to a race of peace. Although, with peace there is evil, and Lady Gaga explores the duality, and also is wondering with such perfection (such as the human race) how could there NOT be evil? How could there NOT be duality in life?

In the lyrics, Gaga explains that every human being is born perfect the way they are. The music video and song both complement each other giving the message that human beings are perfect the way they are, and that we should love ourselves and others because of this perfection. It’s a good message, it’s a deep message and apparently a message that is resonating, being a top selling hit on the charts. The song has, in a way, turned into a gay anthem. With the lyrics, “don’t be a drag, just be a queen” a heavy reference to gay people. Also, the lyrics, “born this way” is it also referring to being gay isn’t a choice, it is something that you are born with. I like the images in the video, the skull painted faces, the monster looking figures, etc.

There has been criticisms that Lady Gaga was copying Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. Being a HUGE Madonna fan myself, I was mystified what comparisons others were claiming. I really didn’t hear anything similar. The only similarities I could gather is the drum beat is similar, which isn’t copying, and that Lady Gaga “talks” in the beginning of the song similar to “Express Yourself” when Madonna talks in the beginning of the song. There is also talking in the middle of the song, which there really isn’t in “Born This Way”. “Vogue” had talking and a sort of rap in the middle of the song, but again, this is just song structure, it’s not copying the song. Lady Gaga already has done talking in songs, such as in “Dance in the Dark”. Regardless, I don’t see the similarities and if someone wants to point it out more clearly to me, please do.

What did you think of this music video? What do you think of the song? Personally, I wasn’t blown away by the song when I first heard it, it’s starting to slowly grow on me.

Also check out my blog’s on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”: https://elenamusic.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-art-of-gaga-lady-gagas-bad-romance-music-video-explained/

Lady Gaga’s  “Telephone”: https://elenamusic.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/art-of-lady-gaga-telephone-music-video/

And refresh yourself with Madonna’s “Express Yourself”: https://elenamusic.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/blast-from-the-past-fridays-madonna-express-yourself/

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Art of Lady Gaga: Telephone Music Video

Finally following up on my Lady Gaga music video critiques. I am sure I will also talk about the “Born This Way” music video when it is released.

For me, the Bad Romance and Telephone music videos had an impact on popular culture, displayed Lady Gaga more as an artist and had strong messages about feminism. Check out my previous blog about Bad Romance here: https://elenamusic.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-art-of-gaga-lady-gagas-bad-romance-music-video-explained/

Lady Gaga’s Telephone music video starts off in a prison. Well, let’s rewind a little bit more, the song itself is about Gaga in a club, getting annoyed with getting several phone calls. She’s busy dancing on the dance floor and doesn’t want to answer the phone. Simple and vain at the same time. The music video isn’t really much about telephones at all.

Now, back to the prison, Gaga is admitted into her cell and she is stripped of her clothes. Two meanings there, we are reminded again of her being stripped in the Bad Romance music video, is she being stripped because the public wants more of her? She is more raw in this video, and she retaliates by jumping on the bars naked, thus, showing that is is a woman, and not a man or various incarnations the public has mapped her out to be. She’s saying, “this is me!”

Next we are introduced to the Exercise Yard, where we see a lot of butch women working out, trashy women, etc. You can overhear someone saying, “you ain’t gonna make it, baby”. I’m sure that’s a reference to people in Lady Gaga’s past who have told her she would never make it as a singer. She’s trapped in this prison, and she’s going to make it out, or “make it”. She is also “chained” to show how trapped she is. She kisses another masculine woman, showing her bisexuality and displaying a gay kiss that isn’t really seen in media often. Usually, lesbian kissing is with two hot girls, for the pleasure of straight men. This was a butch woman with a feminine women, for the pleasure of other lesbians, not men.

Gaga gets a phone call, and she has coke cans in her hair, previously in the Exercise yard she has cigarettes for sunglasses. Perhaps vices that Lady Gaga avoids or is hard to avoid? During the fight scene, right before Gaga answers the phone, there is a girl with sunglasses and long dark hair, and she looks like Lady Gaga in some way. A relative, perhaps? I just find that scene a little odd.

Lady Gaga is later busted out by Beyonce AKA “Honey B”. She is dancing her way out of her cell, and Beyonce greets her in the “P**** Wagon” which is the truck from the movie “Kill Bill”. That movie displays a woman taking revenge on those who tried to kill her. This music video follows the same formula, Gaga and Honey B will take revenge.

Honey B tells Gaga right away she’s been a “very bad girl”. I think that’s a tongue-in-cheek way of referencing her musician career as an outspoken artist. They also talk about two jokes. “Once you kill a cow, you gotta to make a burger” and “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broke, but you can still see the crack in the mother-f**s reflection”. Both references to Quentin Tarantino’s method of writing screenplays. Also, it means, to commit to something and trust, once broken, will always show in a person.

They both end up in a cafe, where they both put poison in honey and in the food at the restaurant, thus killing the boyfriend and everyone in the restaurant. The boyfriend shows his sexist behavior, by getting up, slapping girls on the butt, arguing with people and taking all of Honey B’s honey. Which I think represents money. The revenge in Gaga’s Bad Romance music video, is continued in this music video, further blending femininity and masculinity by making women the killers, taking revenge and being violent, which is usually known as a masculine trait.

Beyonce also furthers the blurring of the lines when you see her dressed as a soldier in her bedroom. After everyone is thoroughly dead, Gaga and Honey B are dressed in American grab and begin a big dance number. This scene is showing the freedom of Americans, that things can change, and also mocks the absurdity of the situation.

One of the reporters, is one of the guys from the previously popular TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Eye”, another nod to the gay community.

In the end, Gaga and Honey B drive away, looking like widows, in a Thelma & Louise style, further asserting their femininity, and the last thing you see is the female symbol ending the scene.

A lot of messages in this music video, some very blatant and some you need to read into a little bit, but definitely very interesting and something different from music videos in the past.

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The Art of Gaga- Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance Music Video Explained

Lady Gaga is an artist.

What is an artist? Musicians have blurred the lines between artist and being godly, being a role model and having something to say, or someone who is just famous for the sake of being famous. But, what is an artist?

An artist is someone whom their creations conveys a message. As the observer, we are the ones to decipher the creation and come to our own conclusions of what the message is. The message and the medium, however creative they are, contribute to how interesting the artist is.

Lady Gaga is an artist because she has a lot to say, and a very colorful way of saying it as well. I would overhear people saying, “she can’t sing” and I think that’s ridiculous. Of course she can sing, she has an amazing voice. I respect Lady Gaga as an artist because in my own interpretation of her music and music videos, I get a message that wants to change things. She sends messages to express female frustration, and is changing art to shake things up in the world.

Even though these music videos have been out for a while, I wanted to write my own interpretation of these music videos. I would talk to my friends about the importance of “Bad Romance” and “Telephone” and my friends would say it was garbage. How could I have such a different opinion about these videos than my friends? Didn’t we see the same music video? These music videos make the observer think, you have to think critically of what the message is. Here’s my interpretation:

Lady Gaga- Bad Romance

In Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video, we are subjected to different scenarios. We have the the coffin scene, where Gaga is coming out of the “closet”, so to speak, as a monster. I think this music video was kind of the birth of Gaga’s journey as a true artist. She was coming to make a statement. Also as a self-proclaimed “monster”, she is also telling the viewer that it’s ok to be different.

We also have the scene where Gaga is in a sheer, skin colored outfit. She has pink hair and she is being tied down and being forced to remove her clothes. In this scene, the big eyes represent innocence to me, and the people that are taking off her clothes are taking away her innocence, forcing someone against their will. Also, the fact that they are taking her clothes away, they are stripping her into a sexual figure.

One of the biggest scenes to me is when she is in the diamond outfit, dancing in front of all the suitors while they are bidding on her. She is a courtesan, a prostitute, being forced against her will to be sexual for these men. She is reduced to a financial figure for her sex. She obviously resents the fact at the end of the video. Where you see Gaga strutting to the bed to the suitor who was the top bidder. She kills him. An act of revenge against everything that happened to her. Her being stripped away of her innocence, being reduced for a sexual figure to be bid on by men.

It’s a very feminist video. There are also images of her as a “monster” and it’s very obvious that her shape has been altered in the video. Her spine is protruding out of her skin, and her curves are accentuated. Has she turned into a sex monster? This video is retaliating against men. It is showing how women are shown in the media, and in real life as sexual objects, only there to tantalize and satisfy men. It has made women into sexual monsters, both wanting to be sexual, but fighting against the stereotypes men put upon them. And in the end, Gaga is taking a stand, that she is not going to be ruled by a man, that she is her own woman.

What about the violence? Is that called for?

There is a lot of violence in movies, men make the violence and now it’s tolerated as a male thing. It’s also tying into the gender stereotype that only men can get angry. When men get angry, they get violent. Women are not supposed to get angry, and hence, not be violent. The violence is a masculine trait. Gaga takes on this masculine trait to express her revenge, and assert her independence from men. The lyrics “I want your loving and I want your revenge” fits in perfectly with the images portrayed. There is definitely confusion in today’s age of what is a strong woman. Is she sexual and successful? Is she desired by all men and at the same time making a lot of money?

Why do people question Lady Gaga’s sex? Is she a man or a woman? She is taking feminism head on, using masculine traits to assert her womanhood. She really has picked up where Madonna has left off. Madonna started a lot of controversies with her sexual videos, questioning women’s roles in society. She wanted to show women could be successful and  sexual at the same time. Gaga is sending her own message, and using violence and intense visuals to assert her femininity, and masculinity at the same time.

I think it’s brilliant what Lady Gaga is doing to bring the music video back. There is so much open to interpretation and people can conclude their own vision of Gaga’s music videos. What does she say to you? The fact is that she’s shaping a new era of how women are looked at. Am I just reading in between the lines too much? I know I’m not because that’s the point of art, to take away from it your own interpretation of the art. To question, think and make the art mean something to you.

I will also review the music video “Telephone” because we open up even more cans of worms.

What does Bad Romance mean to you?

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