When Lady Gaga released her track Born This Way as a single, a lot of people were underwhelmed. There were cries of it “shamelessly ripping off” Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’, of it being too blatant with its pro-LGBT message (more on that later) or if it being plainly just not as good as her earlier work. Well, if there is one thing we should have learned from her previous efforts, Lady Gaga’s music is nothing without a promo video to accompany it. This fact has never been so true as with the just unveiled video for Born This Way.
Click the image above to watch the video for yourself if you like, but I would recommend you read this first to prepare yourself. Honestly, you don’t want to go in there alone. Ok, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Much like her video for Paparazzi, the Born This Way promo begins with two and half minutes of introduction before the song itself actually begins. Unlike Paparazzi however, which was presented as a Swedish drama, Born This Way takes its time setting up Lady Gaga’s very own mythology. Gaga takes the nickname given to her by fans, ‘Mother Monster’, and runs with it wholeheartedly. Mirrored images set up idea of birth and the womb, images that border on being downright disturbing, but never quite make it due to the layer of glam and glitter over the whole affair. Gaga sits atop a throne with a third eye on her chin (just go with it) in the role of Mother Monster and recounts the “Manifesto of Mother Monster’. She tells the tale of an alien territory owned by the government, known as G.o.a.t, where a new free race of humanity without prejudice or judgement was born. Evil was also born at the same time, seemingly from the anti-Gaga, an idea shown with the imagery of Gaga pulling rifles out from within her (see what I meant about slightly disturbing?) She then sets up that this is what gave humanity the idea of choice. This leads onto the song beginning properly, being filled mostly with Gaga dancing in a glittery bikini with a team of half naked backing dancers, interspersed with images from the intro.
Now that you know what the video is like, the next question is whether or not it is any good. Personally, I think it is fantastic. For one thing, it is hilarious! This is the most absurd video Gaga has produced to date, and it is thoroughly enjoyable seeing how many ideas are shoved in to such a small space. Its almost like the video is a direct response to the critics who said that the song itself is bland compared to her other work, giving it the much needed WTF quality we have all come to associate with Gaga. A lot of it seems like a response to critics, playing up the Madonna similarity accusations at one point (you will know it when you see it, think ‘teeth’), and flipping between ignoring the LGBT messages at points, and throwing them in your face with glittery unicorns at others.
Overall, Lady Gaga is still a true artist within herself, but more importantly, an artist at trolling the pop industry. She is constantly pushing what she can get away with, and every time it seems she can still go further. With the song itself, Gaga seems to be testing whether people (read: conservative America) can accept an in your face message supporting LGBT rights, rather than her just existing as a gay icon through veiled ideas. With the video, she is seeing whether we will let her get away with setting up a prog-rock style backstory to her new album, and her most shocking video yet. Seriously, Rihanna’s S&M got banned for less than a lot of the imagery in Born This Way’s promo. I’m happy for her to keep on pushing, because behind all the facades of eccentricity and insanity, she is still providing us with some of the catchiest, most artistic pop in recent years. I’m happy to let her get away with it, the big question is, will everybody else?
Bottom line, Born This Way is an eclectic and hilarious music video that is also going to fuel her hardcore fans for years to come. No matter your opinion on her, Gaga’s work is always worth keeping up with, either for the artistry or the insanity, and it doesn’t get much more insane or artistic than Born This Way.