Music

What the fuck is Lady Gaga doing?

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Oh Gaga. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s a growing trend by former Little Monsters, but I have been fully uninspired by everything she’s put out related to ARTPOP. Let’s examine why the fuck she’s falling out of weird pop star grace, starting with her latest album release.

ARTPOP is a disaster

There are a handful of great songs on the album like “Aura”, “G.U.Y.”, “Venus” and “Applause”. But there are some REAL terrible things on this album, like “Jewels and Drugs” and “MANiCURE”, which both haunt the shit out of me. Sometimes I’ll just wake up with a riff from “MANiCURE” in my head and I am instantly annoyed. That song is a goddamn leper in her catalog, but she apparently loves it because she just put a part of it in her “short film” of a music video for “G.U.Y.” UGH.

The G.U.Y. ARTPOP Film

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I can’t even deal with this. It was boring! The most frustrating part is that I don’t even know why exactly. Maybe it’s because half the themes are very apparent (fallen angel, industry folks who luv money) and half the themes are WTF but not in a fun way (housewives, Andy Cohen). The fact that she is calling this a film is absurd. I hate to be the kind of fan or person that’s like “why can’t you just release a music video?” but for real girl. Has she never considered that doing something insanely simple would actually be shocking for her brand instead of constantly releasing awkward try-hard grandiosity?

Beyonce’s surprise album and music videos are what Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP should have been if she was actually on the cutting edge of the commercial music scene. ARTPOP was supposed to be a next level game-changer in pop music because that’s what she told us it was going to be. ARTPOP then had a lackluster release, AND on top of that, Beyonce released one of the most exciting pop events of all time a month after AP was supposed to blow our minds. Yikes. Ouch. One more example of LG talking herself up and not being able to deliver. And then this ARTPOP “film” release? Girl, if you’re gonna release something and call it a film, plz make sure it’s actually a film and not just a bunch of pretty ideas that you puked onto a dream board and call cinema.

More than ANYTHING, it just really pisses me off watching rich musicians bitch about the music industry. POOR YOU WITH ALL YOUR MONEY AND NOTORIETY AND FAME. I’m an independent artist and it’s a struggle, but it’s even more infuriating watching big time stars complain about all the people who work for them. I don’t fucking care one bit about the specific woes of famous rich people because life and art are hard for everyone, but not everyone has the world stage and power that they do. While every other artist and person mostly has to worry about paying rent or putting food on the table, Lady Gaga is complaining to the world that her record label wanted her to put out better music and how dare they question her genius. EYE. ROLL.

Lady Gaga’s music isn’t that great

tumblr_static_artpop_promo_003Her visuals are always fantastic, but she straight up doesn’t make interesting music. I’m not saying it’s bad because I really like some of her shit. It is standard in the culture of pop music albums to have a few songs that are killer as fuck, and then the rest of the album is full of B-sides. But the fact that she talks herself up so much, talked ARTPOP up to be this fucking grandiose marriage of ART + POP only sets herself up for more criticism because she can never deliver.

Every time I feel let down by what Lady Gaga claims to be and what she actually is, I think to myself (and out loud nearly every Saturday morning to my roommate) what is she such a great artist at? Really? Sure, she dresses in weird outfits and is a really, really great live performer. But if you just take the recorded albums which she claims is her main raison d’être, they are fucking infuriating. Here’s why:

  • Gaga’s music isn’t that weird or interesting. If you’re gonna sit there in a fucking teflon-inspired mock duck hammock skirt and tell us for like 5 years that you’re the weirdest and best bitch on the block, then fucking deliver. “MANiCURE” is one of the worst songs I’ve heard in my entire life. The second half of The Fame is terrible. Her country-inspired songs, her weird foray into show tune-esque songs like “Hair” and her embarrassing attempts to mix rock and EDM like “Electric Chapel” on Born This Way are all amazing examples of the grandiose mediocrity I’ve begun to associate with her.
  • All of Gaga’s albums have a few good pop songs, but so does every other pop album that has ever been released throughout the history of manIt’s no secret that huge pop genre releases have historically spent most of their money on the couple of big hit singles, leaving the rest of the album to sound like the producer had only 20 minutes in between jerking off and eating a boring sandwich to compose a track (for reference, any of Britney’s first few albums, Backstreet Boys, Xtina, Shakira, Rihanna, One Direction, etc). Gaga’s “other” songs aren’t that bad, but they’re not as great as she would have us believe.
  • Quotes like this about her latest album: “To make ARTPOP there must be an exchange between two auras: one from the sphere of ART, and the other from the sphere of POP.” Bitch what are you even talking about. This isn’t even a question of her being on another intellectual level and the masses having a hard time understanding. This shit just doesn’t make sense. Like, thanks for the definition of a compound word. America really needed that explanation.

Her obsession with the fashion and performance art world

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You know what, it’s great that she likes fashion and performance art so much, honestly. But when she spends so much time in those worlds, she neglects her “first passion”–music. It’s like, that’s nice honey. You go scream in a forest. You do you. And then come back and be our Mother Monster plz.

It’s really neat that she’s modeling in a campaign for Versace, and that she hung out with Marina Abromivic and learned some performance art shit. But what she doesn’t realize is that all of that other malarky is negatively affecting her music career because she’s not spending the time on it that she used to (The Fame Monster was brilliant. Where that brilliance at?). And also, don’t continually ask or expect your music fans to be super engaged with all of your mediums. Please please please express yourself in any way you see fit, but pop music fans are pretty much just lookin’ for some feel good dance hits to get drunk to from people who describe themselves as pop stars. I’m not saying that no pop star can change the game, but there have to be less seemingly desperate ways to do so.

Katy Perry vs. Lady Gaga

from fanpop.com

from fanpop.com

It was a really sad day when I finally had to admit to myself that Katy Perry is a far superior pop star to Lady Gaga. LG was quoted at SXSW saying that:

“I don’t know what the f–k-all I have to do with Katy Perry. Our music is so completely different. I couldn’t be more different, really. I really don’t fit in pop music in a way, but I came through it and I’d like to think I changed it in some way so you can feel like you don’t have to fit into a mold.”

Lady Gaga’s music is different from Katy Perry’s in that on the whole, KP makes really solid pop music and Lady Gaga makes slightly less good pop music. I don’t even want to like Katy Perry, but shit, you can’t knock her pop songs because she works with solid producers and songwriters. Lady Gaga may be way more involved in the production and songwriting process, which is definitely respectable, but does she really make better pop music because of it? LG comes off as a bratty shit head most of the time who complains that people don’t get her art or that she alone is held to ridiculous standards in the world of pop music.

“I’m sorry I didn’t sell a million records the first week. I have before…..When it comes to me, everyone forgets where the music industry is now. You come see me and it’s like you’re time-warped to the 70s.”

There are so many things annoying about this, but above all it’s the fact that she’s blaming the state of the music industry on her shitty album not selling. Lame. Taylor Swift, Adele, Katy Perry, and alllll of her other contemporaries have fine album sales. And does anyone really still hold artists to album sales standards from the turn of the millennium? I know I don’t. I don’t even care. I just want a good album.

ARTPOP part deux (plz god no!)

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What is EVEN MORE frustrating than everything I’ve posted above is that the ARTPOP era is not over. She’s planning a second act to ARTPOP that might actually be good because lucky for her, expectations are already low.

All in all: yes it may be hard to live up to pop perfection standards in the music industry, but nobody is forcing you, Lady Gaga, huge millionaire and world star, to stay in that industry. Nobody is forcing you to be a shit head in interviews and talk up your art like it’s a direct line to God. Do what you want with your body, girl, but PLZ if you continue to want to be a “pop star”, put out a cohesive album that can live up to the ridiculous standards you’ve put on yourself as being some kind of ethereal high priestess of ART and POP. Us lil monsters just wanna dance to some cool tunes from you, and maybe see some cool outfits and fun videos in the process. But if you can’t handle the simplicity of that, then I don’t know where our future together lies. Breakups are tough, but time heals all.

Agree? Disagree? LEMME KNOW BELOW YO. 

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Music, Pop Culture

Pop culture: Is the lyric video the new music video?

Lady Gaga’s lyric video for “Applause”

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Katy Perry and Lady Gaga both released singles this week ahead of schedule due to leaks (duh, welcome to the internet and 2008). Along with their single releases, they both have released lyric videos to go along with their singles. You know, to give the drooling pop obsessed masses (yo what up thats me 2) something to look at while the real video gets made, and so the artist/record label can make official money off the ads from youtube. Holla fo that dolla. But really, have we entered a new era of the music video?

TRL! my heart strings are a-pullin'. miss u 4ever.

TRL! my heart strings are a-pullin’. miss u 4ever.

The first music video to ever grace MTV was The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star.” LOL. 4shadowing FTW. MTV gave music videos a great place to live until they decided ain’t nobody got time fo that shit. They cut down the regularly scheduled music video programming to an hour and a half after school on Total Request Live, or belovedly, TRL. In case you were living on Mars, Russia or a home where your parents banned television (my condolences), TRL was awesome. It was a place where kids got to call in (USING LANDLINE PHONES!!!!!) to request their favorite music videos and hopefully get their Britney or NSYNC vid to the number 1 spot. It was such a big fucking deal. I actually miss it.

Since TRL’s cancellation in 2008 (R.I.P. 4ever and PLEASE bring this show back on the internet. seriously. SRSLY), the music video has had a pretty much exclusive internet platform, because let’s be real: MTV2 couldn’t even keep to its word that it would be the real music video channel, and VH1 LOL. Throw in internet file sharing and the money-losing scramble of the music industry over the past decade, our poor little Music Video has suffered quite a lot in quality, budget and creativity.

first lyric video However, out of a seemingly doomed medium of sonic visual expression came a little thing called the Lyric Video. It’s a modest, bastardly child of the once great Music Video. The first lyric videos started off with horrible fonts and and a gross blue screen. You’ve seen them. They’ve come a long way since Windows 2000 though. Now they’ve got pretty colors and exciting fonts. The joy!

a still of Ke$ha's lyric video for "Die Young"

a still of Ke$ha’s lyric video for “Die Young”

Somewhere along the line, a music exec/artist/manager not completely fucked up on blow realized how many views theses videos get, how CHEAP it is to make them, and how useful it would be to slap ads on an official lyric video and make some extra dollaz.

Good job, music industry. It only took you about 8 years to figure that shit out.

Anyways, it seems more and more with big time releases to put out a lyric video while the actual video gets made, if one even gets made. The lyric video has sort of become a toe in the water to see if a real music video would be a lucrative venture or a compete waste of time and money. But is this creating a greater creative divide between video formats for songs? If the lyric video is the cheap, low-key video version of the song, then will real music videos in turn become something more cinematic? Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.

Taylor Swift released both a lyric video and an official video for her single “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Swift’s lyric video has over 27 million views, and the official video has nearly 175 million views. That’s over 200 million views combined. That’s a lot of fucking views.

T swift and her font-y lyric video

T swift and her font-y lyric video

Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Ke$ha have all released lyric videos this year for songs. If it hasn’t become a huge norm to release a lyric video, it’s going to be. Especially since both Katy Perry and Gaga released lyric videos quickly after their songs leaked. It’s a great way to make a little quick, extra money ahead of a budgeted music video, give the fans something official to watch and deliver a cheaply made but (hopefully) creative video to accompany a new single.

After all, throwing money at something like art doesn’t always make it good. Put restrictions in place, like money, time and scrolling lyrics, and see how creative artists can get within those boundaries. Who knows. We may have our next piece of musical cinematic brilliance in a 2 Chainz lyric video. Maybe not. All I know is, we are entering a new era of videos made for visually enjoying and interacting with modern music. Thank god a new creative platform has come to the music industry, cuz it’s about goddamn time.

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Celebrité, Music

Gaga vs Perry: Life is better when two pop stars reign at the same time

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Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP” 11.11.13

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Katy Perry’s “Prism” 10-22-13

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There seems to be a special alignment of the planets (or corporate music industry strategy. whatevz) when a huge pop star releases an album.  Madonna vs. Cindi Lauper, Britney vs. Christina, and now Gaga vs. Katy Perry. What would be the fun in releasing a major diva studio pop album without some healthy competition?! GOD THIS FALL IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry rose to fame together, both have two albums under their sparkly belts and are slated to release their third albums this fall, respectively titled “ARTPOP” and “Prism”. I have no idea which one I’m more excited for. Dare I say I’m excited for both? Pop blasphemy! Pop music tyrant! To the VMA stakes!

I’m excited for Gaga’s “ARTPOP” because:

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Single art for Gaga’s “Applause”. Me gusta.

  • I like all of the aesthetics so far. Her first single titled “Applause” has a fresh look to it. I’m digging the white a lot. It’s a whole lot better than her “Born This Way” album art, that’s for sure.
  • Gaga lives for art. She puts a lot of effort into her artistic process. “ARTPOP” is said to be a journey through collaborations with famous artists like Inez & Vinoohd (worked with Björk in the music biz and a lot of fashion photography), Robert Wilson, Marina Abramovic (famous performance artist and recently in Jay Z’s latest video release) and Jeff Koons.
  • Girlfriend ain’t afraid to get a little weird, which is always makes for an interesting time.

I’m excited for Katy Perry’s “Prism” because:

  • She is a quintessential pop star. I get the vibe that Katy Perry will (and does) do everything she is directed to do by her label. I like her music a lot, but it is very cut and dried classic pop music. It will be like 200 feet in front of new trends, but won’t stand anywhere near what would be called innovative. She is here for one purpose: Sexy. Hot. Pop. Star. And we love her for that.
  • You know she’s gonna have the best pop song of fall on her new album. She works with the best pop music producers in the business (Max Martin, Dr. Luke) and the best pop music songwriters (Sia, Bonnie McKee). She gets the best of the best of the BEST to help produce and write her music.
  • Her fashion sense is good, even though it’s completely fucking commercial “I’m a sexy lady! Gee whiz! Boobs! Firework!”

“Born This Way” and “Teenage Dream” were both great sophomore releases but totally pandered directly to “troubled” and  “bullied” teens and less towards an artistic, grown up sound. I think both of their upcoming albums will show long overdue maturity, however Gaga probably has more freedom to grow up in the limelight than Katy Perry. Katy Perry is the pop music, number 1 hit maker slave, and Gaga is the weirdo artist but still has to appeal to a wide audience. Life is hard in Pop World, y’all.

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Pop Predictions

All things considered, I think Gaga’s album will be way more interesting and creative than Katy Perry’s. It’s like if Madonna from 30 years ago (holy fucking shit it has been THAT long) split in half, birthing two opposing pop star molds: with Gaga you get the edge, the art, and the cravings for controversy. With Katy you get the “I’m the Queen of Pop now” who releases really great but kind of predictable #1 hits that are about as stimulating as a cold Diet Coke with a really great sandwich. Sure, everyone loves Diet Coke and good sandwiches, but it’s no orange San Pellegrino with a side of classical piano training and a penchant for performance art. Only time (internet leaks) will tell which album will prevail. BRING. IT. ON.

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Artiste, Celebrité, Music

Music: New Order live and my problems with live electronic music

First of all, New Order is one of my favorite and most influential bands of all time. I’m an electro-pop artist (Dennis) and a DJ, and “Bizarre Love Triangle” is one of my favorite songs of all time. ALL TIME. This song is fucking beautiful. This band is fucking beautiful. BUT.

As an an electronic artist myself, it is incredibly difficult to translate the emotion and excitement of electronic music into a live performance setting. As I watched New Order perform one of my fave songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live, I was completely underwhelmed and saddened due to the lack of electronic musical stage translation. New-Order-256e4

I think the lead singer, Bernard Summer, was great vocally; he sounded just like the record did nearly 30 years ago. However, the guy standing in the back of stage perhaps playing a drum machine is the reason this performance wasn’t as good as it could have been. Plus these people are old now. There is something so hard about watching old rock bands perform. I really hate to say it and even admit it to you and myself because these bands are idyllic. But their bodies have grown old. So much of being an alluring artist is a sexual appeal of some sort. Their spirit has changed too. Not worse or better, but different, which naturally causes their performance art to change.

(But then again you can watch modern day Stevie Nicks perform and she still has the passion necessary to keep an audience interested. It’s all a crapshoot.)

I’m not sure how many live DJ sets any of you readers (thank you for reading, i heart you so much) have ever been to. But they are fucking BO-RING. This has nothing to do with the fact that many DJs are SUPER talented DJs and know how to mix some insane, genius-level beats. It has to do with live show translation: it is simply not exciting as an audience member to watch anyone push buttons. (Exception: DJs mixing and pressing buttons for a dance room setting. As openers for other bands DJs tend to always run stale because nobody is drunk and dancing to openers, especially if the set is lacking visual excitement)

This is where electronic bands get into trouble. A drum machine is awesome, but you can’t FEEL a drum machine like you can feel a live drum kit. It gives the audience a mandatory heart beat to the pulse of your music that can’t be recreated through speakers.

Demands of the Modern Audience

Having been to a ton of shows throughout my life and most recently in the Minneapolis area, stage performance is a big part of why many shows are so underwhelming. Where is the creative lighting? Projectors of slideshows put together by the band to represent their aesthetic and therefore their performance art? Anything to keep the audience intrigued?

I don’t know if many artists have gotten the memo, but consumers/audiences are demanding as fuck in this modern age. They want all their senses taken care of. Being a musician isn’t just about making music anymore. You’ve got to give the audience something good to look at, something to feel, something to be, something to strive for. ladygaga-1

Why do you think pop stars dress so wild? That’s how they get attention. Being successful is about how much attention you’re getting. Good, bad; it doesn’t matter. And if that means you have to wear a piece of shit on your face so all the blogs are linking back to poor style choice *AND* your song, so be it. That’s how you get famous. That’s the world we live in now, and it’s not changing anytime soon.

Consumers want to be sold a lifestyle (Ke$ha, The Strokes, Lil Wayne, LMFAO etc.), and if your band- new or old- isn’t able to sell that, then sorry! That’s why you see so many pop stars and celebrities selling fragrances or clothing lines (not to mention the fact that music doesn’t make nearly the kind of money it used to): it’s all about the lifestyle brand. Buy this and be like this person. Buy this and you will be accepted by this group of society. Maybe it sucks, but whatever. That’s life. That’s entertainment. A lot of things suck more than pop artists slingin’ perfume. Its the most cliché shit ever, but LEARN THE FUCKING GAME ALREADY. *drops keyboard and walks off stage*

 

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Celebrité

Die Antwoord disses Lady Gaga in video for “Fatty Boom Boom”

Image via egotripland.com

You know, it’s always a good laugh when celebrities start a public fight. Because really, Die Antwoord using Lady Gaga’s image and likeness in their new music video for “Fatty Boom Boom” is generating way more buzz and attention around a video and a song that a lot of people probably didn’t care about before. Ahh, marketing! Little Monsters are probably watching it and simultaneously placing hexes on Die Antwoord from the upstairs bedrooms of their parents house. All in the name of views, statistics, and ad revenue.

Dems fighten words. Image via twitter.com

It is surprising that Lady Gaga’s ego got the best of her. No wait, it isn’t. The song for the vid isn’t even that good, and isn’t NEARLY as bangin’ as their first big US hit “I Fink U Freeky.” Yeah it sucks when people talk shit, but are you really gonna get upset about a zef jam group from South Africa who dress in black face/body at least once a week, that had surprising, probably temporary world success this year? Dayum. Ego-tastic.

Plus, way to pull an Eminem and talk shit about all the “popular, superficial sell outs”, while you’re using them to become more successful. What an original idea!

This feud is already boring.  NEXT!

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Beauty

Gaga is brunette now, cue self-dyed teenage hair debacles across the globe

Image via littlemonsters.com

Way back when nobody had even heard of a Gaga, our Lady Mother Monster was a brunette. She was running around Lollapalooza in lingerie and big brown hair. But, as fate would have it, Amy Winehouse also had a similar look at the time AND was a bigger star. Gaga needed to change her look, which led to the blonde Gaga with the bow made of hair that we all loved and adored.

She looks so wonderfully Italian and human in this photo, which is refreshing because pop stars’ looks are starting to get very overwhelming (I’m lookin’ at you, Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj). That Gaga, always ahead of the trends! Also, her all-black outfit makes me crave September and all the wonderful fall goodness that comes with the changing seasons.

TIP: If you are a dyed blonde looking to go brown like Gaga for fall, take it to a professional. My hair turned green once at the tips because it wasn’t taking the color. Fucking up your hair sucks, so spend the money and save the emotional distress!

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Activism, Celebrité

In which Lady Gaga tells fur hate-mongers to kindly piss off

 

Image via poponthepop.com

“Furgate Part 1″

“To the fans. i want you to know that I care deeply about your feelings and views, and I will always support your philosophies about life. We’ve been having over-arching conversations about society, equality, and politics for the past five years, and we should continue. I do not however support violent, abusive, and childish campaigns for ANY CAUSE. Particularly one that I respect. “Animal Rights.” I am choosing not to comment on whether or not the furs I purchase are faux fur-pile or real because I would think it hypocritical of me not to acknowledge the python, ostrich, cow hide, leather, lamb, alligator, “kermit” and not to mention meat, that I have already worn. This should already put me in a category as one who appreciates and adores the beauty of animals in fashion, but am not a strict vegan. I have truly always stayed away from skinned fur, especially i have never been able to afford a nice one, but this does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won’t bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat. I have no chains about this. You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance. But I am truly sorry to fans who are upset by this, its a fair and applaudable feeling about the health and safety of animals. I respect your views, please respect mine.
And to campaigners, Save your flour to make bread for the children who are hungry. And Kim Kardashian is fabulous.” -Lady Gaga on littlemonsters.com

Amen Sista! As a fur lover (faux and second-hand real because let’s get real here, real fur is expensive, and rightfully so), it’s nice to hear someone say something honest about wearing fur. And the last part is awesome about saving flour to feed hungry children. Classic. That’s the thing about PETA that has always baffled me, is that they are using threatening behavior and violence to bring about a point of non-violence towards animals. It’s hypocritical to the life they wish all humans to lead, one of non-violence towards all beings. If we can’t stop being dicks to fellow humans, our own kind, will we ever be able to curb our dickery with other species? It’s a question for the ages here people.

UPDATE:

It’s being reported that this is a fake letter and not actually from Ke$ha, but it’s from SOMEONE who wanted to get lots of press from it. And that someone is probably a festering vegan turd over at PETA:

Image via operationgaga.com

“I can be reached through PETA’s Senior VP…” Smug much! And kind of the whistle blower to the whole fake letter theory. Like anyone wants to talk to a higher up at PETA. They’d probably throw red paint on you just for interrupting their lunch of dried oats and frail greens.

Gaga isn’t taking this bashing lightly, and she’s even trolling the press and PETA supporters with this little delight:

Image via littlemonsters.com

Hilarious. This is gonna get real good. Those PETA motherfuckers don’t back down. I will not be surprised at whatever violent tactics they partake in next. Let’s just hope they don’t pass out from too much exertion.

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