Take off that pink hat. Give Tony Bennett a goodbye kiss on the cheek (to cheek). Tell Jackson Maine you can’t go on tour with him this summer.
Our Lady Gaga – Stefani Germanotta, an Italian Girl from New York City, as Legends OnlyFans better know her as – is back.
We already know that one of Gaga’s Ga-greatest (and, at times, most trying) assets is her unpredictability: get you a girl who can croon a classy something in a Las Vegas jazz club, then come spider-shimmying down from a stadium ceiling dressed as a shattered disco ball to perform an electrifying set for the Super Bowl, then sing next to RuPaul dressed as a condom for a Thanksgiving TV special, then hop on a dimly lit stage in a (Bud Light-sponsored) dive bar in the wee hours of the morning to belt out some tunes at the piano.
Truly, she is a #vers queen.
But the Gaga that I begrudgingly, ironically, then genuinely fell in love with – the one that got me shopping at Michael’s Arts & Crafts in 2009 to glue together a disco stick and crystal glasses for Halloween, the Gaga that gargled nonsense syllables all over Top 40 radio, the Gaga before a Star was ever born, before there were ever a million reasons to give, and before the Great American Songbook got in the way – is still my favorite Gaga: Pop Star Gaga.
Rumor has it that “Stupid Love,” Lady Gaga’s first non-soundtrack single in about three years, might have been born premature one month early. (To be fair, LG6 has already long overstayed its welcome in the womb.)
Maybe I listened to the leak. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe it’s already been playing at gay bars for weeks. Maybe it soundtracked at least one runway during New York Fashion Week. Maybe the song sounds…exactly the same as the leak. Who’s to say? I wouldn’t know a thing about that.
Regardless, as of Friday (February 28), it’s here. Officially.
“Stupid Love” was co-written by Gaga, French producer Tchami, Bloodpop, Ely Rise, and the Pop God himself, Max Martin, their first-ever collaboration in the studio.
Despite some new chefs in the kitchen, the song is less a departure into new sonic territory than it is a return-ish to form: specifically, to the year 2011. More specifically, Born This Way, a time where I was fiercely fighting against her homosexual agenda by nearly breaking up with my then-boyfriend in a parked car over the title track’s importance to The Community.
The hammering beat is vibrant (chromatic, even) and joyous – something that wouldn’t sound at all out of place sandwiched between cuts like “The Edge of Glory” and “Fashion of His Love” in its kaleidoscopic, pounding pop style. And certainly, there are shades of ARTPOP in the mix, conjuring memories of “Applause,” “MANiCURE” and “Do What U Want,” in its theatricality and, well, unhinged-ness. (The drama in the pronunciation of the word “door” alone…)
Her message is simple, if not one we’ve already heard before: “All I ever wanted was love.” Yes, over a decade later, she’s still pleading for your bad romance, and still down to play a LoveGame. Growth? Maybe not so much. But we (stupid) love to see it, anyway.
To be fair, Mademoiselle Meat Dress has done it all aesthetically speaking, from Kermit the Frog couture to beer chuggin’, gee-tar playin’ Middle America cosplay.
This time around, Gaga’s landed somewhere between Brooke Candy in the Grimes video for “Genesis” (the most obvious, erm, inspiration), and a slew of Japanese pop culture influences (which is also pretty Grimes): throw in her gaming obsession Bayonetta, virtual J-Pop Queen Hatsune Miku, Final Fantasy, Power Rangers, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, plus some vintage female American comic book superheroes, like Wonder Woman and Barbarella. And maybe the Care Bears, too? Sorry, I mean the “Kindness Punks.”
It’s a candy-coated, rainbow-colored sugary-sweet smoothie served up at your local Claire’s. The flavor…
The dramatic epic of a music video that was teased over the past 24 hours, as it turns out, is more like if the next installment of Marvel’s Avengers was to be performed via interpretive dance by an overeager middle school drama troupe, shot on a teacher’s iPhone. (And, in fact, it was #ShotOniPhone.)
Despite the immense cheesiness and cheapness of it all, the amount of choreography is unexpected – especially because it’s essentially all dancing (and flailing as dancing), sans a brief telepathic interference during an unexplained fight sequence.
An Academy Award-worthy performance, however, this is not.
Is “Stupid Love” a grand musical revelation? The song to Save Pop™? Perhaps not, no. But more than the track, or the low-budget Power Rangers home workout DVD of a music video, the most striking part of the whole shebang is that Gaga’s having fun with her music again. Like, finally. Some silliness and brightness, for once. (We’re all gonna have FUN!)
And while I may forever get my kicks pok(er face)ing fun at her over-the-top theatrics and occasionally questionable career choices (Enigma, maybe this music video), that doesn’t mean I’m not genuinely thrilled that she’s returned to make us dance and sing again while doing the absolute most.
Still, there’s a polarizing, Artpop-esque energy emanating from this era already: she’s either going to dance her way back into the hearts of the public, or she’ll be dragged to the depths, and this “Stupid” reverse Warholian expedition will be considered a grave misfire. And, perhaps, even a little bit too stupid in execution to be beloved.
We’ll see. LG6 is only in the beginning stages of birth, after all. Let’s give this baby some time to breathe. (And just remember to T.H.I.N.K. before you tweet, kiddos…)
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