The world premiere for the video for Lady Gaga’s latest single, “Alejandro” has come and gone as of yesterday morning at 12:00 pm EST, and not even 36 hours later its views are steadily approaching five million.
It is not news that Gaga knows how to stir up visual attention. Some would say it was the video for “Bad Romance” that drummed up interest in her as a performance artist of sorts – but let’s not forget “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi”. In fact, it could be argued that all her videos – which, if watched in order, will chronicle the budget made available to her from The Fame era to current The Fame Monster era – have been artfully done. That she makes sure you notice her “playing” piano with her bare feet in the video for “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich”, for example, should speak volumes.
That said, the video for “Alejandro” was to not be any different. With a huge budget and a willing creative team at the ready, Gaga was able to take her minor-toned “La Isla Bonita”-esque pop tune and invert the colors and theme. The video sends home a message about love, homosexuality, political and religious freedoms, sex, and death – interestingly, nearly all the touchy subjects that are “never” to be talked about in polite conversation. It’s no wonder people feel so openly uncomfortable about it. Anyone who’s seen it by now is either immensely pleased or disturbed. However, one thing is for sure: the public should not be surprised. From the moment that she bled to death onstage during the 2009 MTV Music Awards, it should have been known that it was not to be a one-time thing.
For story-telling purposes, the just over four minute-long single has been extended to just over eight minutes, but surprisingly doesn’t feel its length. It might very well be the repetitive “Alejandro” throughout the latter half of the video, and Gaga’s marching in black-and-white punctuated by flashings-back of what seems to be simulated consensual sex (you can never tell with Gaga). That said, some scenes seem to be left for personal interpretation – or rather/perhaps Gaga’s alone, and that is appreciated. For everyone else, here are some morsels for discussion as raised by this video:
Religious and military imagery surrounded by men in fishnets and high heels. This seems to beg the question of why religion and the military must suppress the individual in order to fit in what very well might be considered to be man’s perfect arrangement? The views of this writer or others aside – from strictly a third party point of view, can it not be at least seen by some, if not felt by others, that the motivation to keep such institutions “clean” and “pure” has required the denying of some their rights as fellow human beings? The struggle to find balance and peace within self while at the same time trying to be accepted by God and government – these themes seem to be expressed by the many visuals others are deeming “blasphemous”. (Yep. Looking right at you, Katy Perry.)
Gaga in a latex habit brings to mind none other than latex bondage, and perhaps the conundrum involved – of being confined and of being torn. Where do you draw the line of love for your fellow man – do you pray for them that they don’t go to Hell? Or do you accept them for who they are and attempt to understand, not merely tolerate? Is she asking this of us?
Listening to “Alejandro” prior to Gaga’s explanation of the video and single itself would make one think of a someone refusing love, period. But with her stating that both have to do with a strong love for her gay friends, that she is “pining for the love of my gay friends – but they just don’t want me”, it all makes more – at least the lyrics do. Her refusal of “Alejandro”, “Fernando”, “Roberto”‘s affections are so she won’t be more in love than she already is.
The supposed simulated orgy between numerous men and Gaga with a cross on her crotch. While some might say it’s strictly for shock value, but it also addresses the idea that Gaga as a gay icon and the way the majority of fans relate to her. Perhaps like a religion? Whether in jest, inside joke, or otherwise, phrases such as “Lady Gagalupe”, “Praise Gaga”, “Oh my Gaga” are used in forums between her “little monsters”. The fact that she takes off her clothes in the video and allows herself to be vulnerable with the men surrounding her, loving her, makes us think this is her way of telling everyone not to raise her on such a pedestal. She is human, as all of us are.
And as far as the machine gun bra is concerned, it seems that it’s right up there with the one that belches sparks in the “Bad Romance” video. Strictly aesthetics.
More than ever, it’s really interesting to see what perceptions are coming out of the woodwork as far as what is acceptable/unacceptable, what makes people comfortable/uncomfortable, and really – perhaps we’re reaching here – calling asking viewers to question their religious, political, and sexual views. Not to mention that this video is eyeballs deep in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. There’s a lot to digest considering the sensitive subject material, probably more so than any other video she’s put out. Whether the public likes it or not, Gaga has officially hurled the doors open for discussion.