[12 November 2009]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
What is the most WTF moment that Lady Gaga has brought about? Was it the lyric “let’s have some fun / this beat is sick / I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” (from “Lovegame”)? Was it Christopher Walken doing a dramatic reading of the lyrics of “Poker Face”? Was it the TV interview she did where she wore a dress made entirely out of Kermit the Frog dolls? Oh no, dear reader. Those moments have now been usurped by Francis Lawrence-helmed, Kubrik-indebted clip for “Bad Romance”, off of the forthcoming re-release of Lady GaGa’s unbelievably-successful debut album The Fame.
Here, Gaga exists in some futuristic world where women are placed in tight latex suits designed after Max’s wolf costume from Where the Wild Things Are, and are then forced to become Neutral Mask-wearing dance patrons for men with gold-plated chins, all (somehow) resulting in not only one of the most bizarre Gaga get-ups to date (what I shall affectionately call the “gold-studded crab pantaloon”), but also in the delightful reappearance of one of Gaga’s most notable fashion accessories: the “firework bra” (which she wears next to the charred corpse of a certain lover of indeterminable evilness [we think]).
All of these elaborate visuals, however, manage to distract us from a very simple truth about the lead single from The Fame Monster: it’s kind of ... bland. Although Gaga wisely re-teams with RedOne—the brilliant producer who engineered her #1 hits “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”—the sexy electro sheen that has become his trademark just doesn’t feel as powerful this time out, the chorus feeling like somewhat of a tired retread of the verses, the whole thing just lacking that extra spark that made her previous hits so guilty-pleasure cool. Instead, the song is best defined by its video, featuring slow-motion diamond drops, druggy supermodels, and one very turbulent use of fire as a way to get revenge on a certain man with a gold-plated chin.
So what does it all mean? Why does she bless herself at 3:18? Why is the dance choreography only partially in sync? Is there a “Thriller” homage mixed into those dance moves or is this just another excuse for Lady Gaga to wear the most weirdass outfits ever designed by mankind? It’s hard to say, but for the time being, why don’t you sit back, relax, and enjoy yet another Gaga-fueled visual assault that she does only too, too well.