Madonna's sideswipe at Lady Gaga

Miaow. Madonna damned with faint praise when asked her opinion of Lady Gaga recently. Talking to the American TV show 20/20, Madonna suggested that Gaga owed a lot of her act to the influence of a certain Ms Ciccone.

"She's a very talented artist,” Madonna conceded. "I certainly think she references me a lot in her work. And sometimes I think it's amusing and flattering and well done. The songs seem like a statement about taking something that was in the zeitgeist, you know, 20 years ago and turning it inside out and reinterpreting it."

Strip that of the polite language and it sounds like a suggestion that Gaga is rehashing stuff Madonna tried back in the 90s. She was asked specifically about the resemblance between her own track Express Yourself and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

“When I heard it on the radio, I said, 'That sounds very familiar'," Madonna recalled. "It felt reductive." Lady Gaga has previously dismissed the possibility of there being any connection, telling the NME, "If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression."

Lady Gaga is not the only performer looking back to the 20th century for inspiration. Madonna recently announced that her new album, released on March 12 will be called MDNA. This is a heavy-handed allusion to the drug MDMA, popular in the late 80s.

Anti-drugs campaigners were unamused by the reference, but Madonna has never been averse to stirring up a little controversy when it coincides neatly with the marketing campaign for a new album.

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