Sunday, November 15, 2009

Music video: "Bad Romance" (Lady Gaga)

I wasn't previously a fan of Lady Gaga's: I'd either pretty much missed ("Poker Face") or heard but not cared about ("Paparazzi") her previous stuff, but this I like. A lot of artists would have done three or four costume changes and called it a day: the sixteen I actually count in the video1 would be unthinkable -- and they're also all very complex and detailed: it's not like she threw on a different t-shirt and called it a costume change. Plus remember that most of these are going to require the scene to be relit, her hair and makeup to be redone, and multiple takes for each shot.

I mean, you don't have to like her, or the video, but you can't deny that she's working hard.

Of course, there will at some point have to be a plant profile based on Lady Gaga as the "person,"2 but I'm unable to think of a plant weird enough to withstand the comparison. Not a houseplant, anyway. Maybe Drosera. Any suggestions?


11) Opening gold triangular thing w/ razor-blade sunglasses.
2) White plastic "Slim Jim" outfit.
3) Wide-eyed strawberry blonde in the bathtub w/ translucent white plastic (?) top.
4) All-black outfit with black "Slim Jim" headpiece.
5) Close-up shots of crying blonde Gaga with (sometimes) a snake skull (?) on her head.
6) Diamond crown + white boots + brown and black blanket/coat.
7) #6 without the blanket/coat.
8) Naked with snake-head (cat head? bat head? WTF is that?) in "shower."
9) #7 without the diamond crown.
10) Black mask and lingerie surrounded by diamonds.
11) Silver "gyroscope."
12) Terrifying green iridescent/metallic thing with the shoes. (Possibly appears later looking bluer -- or maybe that's a different outfit entirely.)
13) Floor-length white fur coat with bear-head train and large sunglasses.
14) Red "Fifth Element" bandage outfit.
15) #13 without coat = white lingerie + heavily caked-on mascara + a white rat (mouse?) on her head (!).
16) Sparky.
My favorites are 3, 5, and 14: don't ask me to pick one.
2 After all, I did it for Amy Winehouse. Fair is fair.


Aerelonian said...

I love Lady Gaga! She is just amazing. That video is delightful. Supposedly it was partially inspired by human trafficking. You should probably be a HUGE fan of her (her specifically and the music is great too)!

lynn'sgarden said...

LOL! Actually, I LIKE Lady Gaga and have her song Just Dance in my zumba routine! What a character, though! You'd never know it but she is quite beautiful.
Love the video! I like the plastic doll face with huge eyes...freaky!

Aerelonian said...

Those gigantic eyes are creepy. I love that she can wear whatever she wants and still make it look good.

mr_subjunctive said...

I lost a little respect for her this morning when I saw a blog post about the product placements in the video (this isn't the post I saw, but it actually describes the phenomenon better.); I'd sort of wanted to believe that the props were part of the creativity, that somewhere out there a person was designing products that existed only in the world of Lady Gaga videos. But oh well. It's still a lot more interesting than anything else out there right now.

Claude said...

Not a huge fan, but you gotta give the girl credit for origionality... BTW... the frightening lobster claw shoes were from Alexander McQueen collection 2010... I know this because I used to work for a fashion magazine, I still know some of those people, and they went haywire over them... I think he may have done the frightening irridescent green dress too...

Chuck said...

I don't mind the product placements if they're artistic, and these are. Also, let's remember that she gave this "Bad Romance" video for free to all. It's been officially released on Youtube - with nearly 10 million views - before going to itunes (for inexpensive download). She also is coming out with a lower cost version of her album, and her tour tickets are very reasonable (about $36 at Purdue). If some artsy product placements help pay the bills, I have no problem with that.

Andrew said...

Another fun fact: She is apparently the only artist with four number 1 singles from her debut album with "Just Dance", "Poker Face", "Love Game" and "Paparazzi".

Like her or not that's undeniably impressive!

GAMJC said...

It's a bat on her head. On the "Behind the Scenes" video for Bad Romance, there was a scene they cut or redid where she had the bat thing on her head and they made her look all red and scary. Also, that is a rat on her head when she has the polar bear coat on (which is faux fur, fyi). Also, Claude is correct about the Alexander McQueen shoes/outfit. If you watch his ending show, which will show up in the "related links" after the Bad Romance video. They premiered the song during the finale of his collection, and the last outfit is the one Gaga wears in the video.

Hope this has been helpful and informative.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

The video is visually arresting. Love it. I wish the song were more interesting.

I'm commenting, though, because you're the third blogger I've read whose reaction was, "Well, you might not like her music but she sure is working it." Isn't that damning with the same faint praise as your second grade teacher when she gave your art project an "A for effort"?

I do admire people who go that extra mile, who try something different, who really want to give their fans their money's worth. Still, if that's the only nice thing anyone has to say...And then there's the thought that art should look effortless (even when it's not).

mr_subjunctive said...

mss @ Zanthan Gardens:

The "you don't have to like her but at least appreciate how hard she's working" is more in deference to the people out there who already really hate her, who I was trying to encourage to watch the video anyway. Whether you like her or don't like her, the video is, as you said, visually arresting, and worth the trip.

(I also had sort of had the impression that she was another person like Paris Hilton who got famous for doing nothing in particular, which is why the amount of work it took to make the video jumped out at me: clearly that impression was really, really wrong.)

As far as the song itself, I kind of agree with you: the song doesn't stand up very well to repeated listenings (though I also listened to it repeatedly for a week solid: some pop music I hate the first time, and every time thereafter), and "ga ga ooo la la" aren't really world-changing or profound lyrics. (Though -- who looks to pop music for profundity anyway?) But that's not really the point: it's clearly pop music intended for dance clubs, and judged on those merits, it's damn near perfect.

Maybe I'm just overly impressed with anybody who's actually singing, as opposed to relying on autotune for everything. But even then, she's actually a good singer, right? At least within the radio pop niche?

I actually kind of disagree with the thought that art should look effortless. Or at least I don't see what visible effort has to do with artistic merit. It's a weird criterion.

In short, I guess, I'm saying that now I'd like to hear what she could do with a song that actually was interesting on its own merits. And the video is still very cool.

diacritical asylum said...

She absolutely can really sing like nobody's business, and she plays the piano quite well to boot, as shown in this acoustic version of "Poker Face" performed for BBC Radio 1.

(P.S.—I've still never seen you in daylight.)

mr_subjunctive said...

diacritical asylum:

Hey. Nice to see you. Or not see you, I guess. Whichever.

Glad to hear, about Lady Gaga. There should be some singers on the radio who can sing, I think.