This week’s song of the week is Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” the first single off of her new(ish) album, The Fame Monster. Here’s the video, which is crazy amazing:

Since watching the video, I’ve been reading various online reviews of it. Partly, I thought this might help me try to understand it a little more — I think Lady Gaga is a brilliant performance artist, but I don’t always think I’m “getting it” as thoroughly as I’d like to. And I was just interested in what other people had to say about it.

Critics agree that the overall message of the video is to critique various aspects of fame. As Christopher John Farley explains, “The theme of the video seems to be something about how fame seduces, addicts and perverts those that attain it.”

The best part of the video, of course, is the visuals Lady Gaga creates. As Marina Reed points out, “Only Lady GaGa could make getting kidnapped, drugged, and auctioned off to the Russian mafia look this good.” My favorite parts are the crazy eyes while she’s in the bathtub, the use of back lighting in several parts of the video, the hot Russian mafia guys’ bare chests and shoulders and tattoos (they can kidnap my ass any time they want!), the grotesque image of the nude Lady Gaga as deformed and emaciated captive, the hairless cat (totally brilliant), the floating jewels part, Lady Gaga’s white thong (she’s smoking too!), and, of course, the video’s final image. I guess that means I love it all!

Farley similarly writes that “The singer-songwriter-pianist-provocateur seems to be one of the few pop stars these days who really understands spectacle, fashion, shock, choreography—all the things Madonna and Michael Jackson were masters of in the 1980s.” I totally agree with this. Lady Gaga is for me the most interesting video artist producing music right now.

Several writers note that this video gives us a closer look at Lady Gaga’s face than we usually get in her videos. There are several shots that feature close-ups of her face with very little makeup (or at least with makeup that is more understated than her videos tend to feature). As Farley writes, “The ‘Bad Romance’ music video, which takes place in the ‘Bath Haus of Gaga,’ shows us a new side of the singer-songwriter by actually showing her more clearly and closely than we’ve seen in some of her past clips—there are lots of intimate shots of her naked face, unveiled, unobstructed.”

I think E! Online sums up the general consensus of reviews I’ve read:

In the past, we’ve found her relentless ploys for attention pretty exhausting (“Ugh, can she try any harder?”), but this music video really makes us appreciate everything Gaga actually brings to pop music.

She’s exciting to watch, plain and simple. Sure, her theatrics might cause a few eye-rolls, and she definitely isn’t breaking any pop music conventions, but while Britney’s out there making the same old boring video, we need someone like Gaga to really bring it. To put actual thought and care into her product so that it feels alive.

So keep on being a weirdo, Gaga. Will it bother us? Yeah, sometimes. But other times we really do need a pop star in tranny makeup to wear a polar bear rug/cape and start some stuff on fire.

Although I don’t agree with the part about her being “pretty exhausting” sometimes, I do think her video demonstrates just how lazy some of today’s other pop divas have become in their videos. I watched Britney’s video for “3” this week and was really surprised by how boring it was. I’m not a fan of hers to begin with, but I had expected more after hearing about the song and its theme. One thing you can definitely say about Lady Gaga is that she’s not going to be boring any time soon!

It also seems to me that her shorter hair look near the end of the video (when she’s dressed in red) seems vaguely reminiscent of early Madonna. I think that Lady Gaga has taken up Madonna’s mantle like no one else in the past few years. She’s also taken up (and surpassed) Madonna’s advocacy for gay issues, which is great since we gave Lady Gaga her first passionate group of fans.

It’s true that this song isn’t the most lyrically interesting, but I think Farley is correct when he writes that “It’s particularly hard to resist the Jabberwockian catchiness of the ‘Bad Romance’ hook: ‘Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-roma-mamaa! Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!’”

So, I think this is an amazing video and a really catchy song. Once again I have to say that Lady Gaga is brilliant!

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