Friday, 1 April 2011

What Should Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' Video Have Been Like?

We're writing this post just after the release of Lady Gags' video release for her comeback single 'Born This Way', a Madonna-esque gay-power anthem which owes itself entirely to disco. The video can be seen below. Please watch it so you can draw your conclusions as to how effective it is as a piece of "art", which is almost certainly how Gags herself wants it to be seen. Well, it's B-Movie Art, in the sense that it's value as art is only due to it's camp value and exploitative themes being... well, exploited. But enough GCSE-Level Art analysis! (Talkin' bout a C Grade, y'all) Watch it now:

Isn't it a poor video? Not in the sense that it isn't well-directed and the dancing is poor, but in the sense that it pays no attention to the themes of the song itself. Gags' most popular video is by far Bad Romance, which featured a fluorescent sex-bunker in which she sold herself to a man in a half-mask for money and a polar-bear dress. The video ties in to the song, in at least the barest of ways (bearest of ways, heh). Her next video, Telephone, was about being distracted by her boyfriend when she's out having a drink. So she did a Tarantino tribute video about going on the run with Beyonce and killing a load of people. The shock value was what kept all that working. The song is so trivial and the video so over-the-top, that they worked together.

Then came Alejandro. Alejandro's video was at odds with the song once more, but this time the song itself was a somewhat sweet ballad about summer love... with three men. But still, summer love. The music was upbeat and optimistic, which is why Gags recreated the bra dance sequence she performed in Telephone, sang in front of a dark, dank backdrop, and generally looked moody and creepy. If the song had been "Dance in the Dark" or one of her genuinely off-beat tracks, this would've been all well and good. Against a relatively simple song melody like Alejandro, however, this seemed like a complete disconnect between music and video. It was, at the time, by far her weakest effort- and for a performer who pushes herself off the back of her creative output, that was a big blow.

As you can see above, Born This Way does much the same as telephone. Out goes the stalag camp of Alejandro, but the bra dancing is retained and lengthened, while the intro goes absolutely nowhere and leads only to one or two shots of Gaga giving birth to clones. There's some stuff with her and a male dancer grinding on each other while they have skeleton face-paint on, and at one point she fires a machine-gun leg lifted straight from Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse movie. So her videos have become tame, that's all very well and good. A tame Gaga song is still leagues ahead of the wildest thing Pink could dream up, right? Well yes, that's true, but at the same time let's just point out again that the song is about empowerment.

We're meant to be seeing a display of gay-power so strong and terrifying that the US Government will immediately drop any remaining homophobic policies as they run screaming from the mob of bears and twinks led by their platinum-headed Goddess Gags. Considering we're meant to be seeing a video which is abotu empowerment, why has Gaga instead decided that a better tactic for her video would be to blather on about some kind of dull alien story when she could instead be directly addressing what her song is about... What's the point of shying away from her own song in order to hide in genre and alien cloning stories. It seems like a massively wasted opportunity. Instead, we here at Wilftonville believe that the new video should have gone something like this:

Now you're scared, right? NOTHING CAN STOP THE FORCES OF GAY. Maybe someone needs to reign Gags in a bit more, so she can start leading her audiences astray again.

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