After months of being exposed to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (a song that contains what I consider the single most annoying hook of 2009) via its endless plays on the top 40 radio station every store I enter seems to be piping in, I was reasonably certain I had no pressing desire to further explore the work of pop music’s current It Girl. Ah, but nothing demands attention like a zeitgeist-capturing hit, the sort everyone around you seems to have already heard dozens of times. Given the massive attention afforded to Gaga’s latest single “Telephone”—a duet with new millennial R&B diva Beyoncé Knowles—I took that as a sign that I should probably see what the fuss was about. So I caved and watched the video for the song on YouTube (which, it must be said at every opportunity, is so much more a fitting vehicle for the music video medium than any cable network currently is).
And, well… the song didn’t impress me. A rather routine modern dance-pop tune that demands attention based more on its volume than due either to its hooks or its groove. Not bad, but not outstanding either, and also not as effective as Gaga’s previous singles. But to be fair, it isn’t necessarily the song I’ve been hearing everyone yabber about. It’s the epic nine-and-a-half-minute video directed by Jonas Akerlund that’s really demanding the public’s attention.