Editor’s Note: The following is one woman’s take on three of the most dynamic new music videos in pop music.
Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”
Lady Gaga’s new music video tries really, really hard to jump on the current 1980s revival but it’s the worst kind of awkward sci-fi. The whole thing feels clunky, overdone, and manages to make orgies seem lame. Three strikes and you’re out.
I didn’t think it would be possible to ruin Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” theme but Mother Monster manages to make it seem positively silly. Maybe it’s because she combines it with the unicorn-as-a-motif-of-individuality and what appears to be a sparkling rainbow.
My first real point of contention is the really unsubtle use of the LGBT pink triangle radiating out of Lady Gaga’s vagina. Then there is the weird feeding tube coming out of her chin; is that a Japanese porn thing? It’s also impossible to ignore the fact she creates a mythical planet named “Ongoat.” Really? Ongoat? Isn’t this video supposed to be in support of the sexuality spectrum and not equating it with bestiality? And am I the only one who detests the swirl of rotating lotuses? Maybe I would get the profound symbolism if I were tripping, but right now it just seems like a lame attempt at multiculturalism.
I don’t even know where to start with the ongoing fisting montage in a kaleidoscope, which is supposed to suggest an “infinite birth.” No matter what way you spin it, that is gross. Far more vending machine than MILF, which is made all the worse by the narration that “this is the eternal mother in the multiverse.” Say what?
Next we are bombarded with the worn-out imagery of evil represented as a black-and-white 1920s cabaret singer wielding a Tommy gun. This seems like a lukewarm rehashing of the foxy Nazis in “Alejandro.” Weak. The voice over of “how can I protect something so perfect without evil?” Worse.
Do I respect the aerial view of crouched sex-gremlins as Lady Gaga/Eternal Mother/Mother Monster walks around in hot underwear? Yes. What I don’t understand are the weird sharp cheek implants that make her look like a soft-neutral-lipped Marilyn Manson with surface piercings. Peculiar. Almost as peculiar as the video’s end with her wearing Michael Jackson-esque fringed gloves while sporting Lara Stone gap-teeth and a peroxide blonde Mia Farrow haircut while crying in front of an alleyway on fire.
Simulated masturbation: 8 times
Misfits facial makeup? I call copycat.
Unicornometrics: rainbow opening + in front of a flaming city = 3/5 stars.
Writhing in a faux placenta? Hot.
Nude body suit with zipper nipples? Not.
Overplaying the 80s gay kitsch? For sure.
Other wise known as: a visit to a transgendered gynecologist while dropping acid.
I really have no words to describe how awkward this video is except: this might actually be serious.
Where to begin? It opens with “no mythological creatures were harmed in the making of this video,” which seems quaint until the rainbow glitter bloodbath scene.
But before that, we are introduced to Ke$ha regaling her unicorn-headed but people –in-formal-wear-bodied guests about how she got elected to the Parliament of Uzbekistan, via “grabbing a bear and making it put its pants on.” Which, all right, I’ll admit it, I’m into until… she takes an ectasy-like tab of what is apparently a piece of Munster cheese on a miniature Triscuit.
Then she grinds up on a unicorn, and licks it.
I give her props for this weirdness and originality until she starts French kissing an eye-patched unicorn. That’s where you really have to draw the line. From then on it descends into lameness with the Jennifer Love Hewitt facial expressions, (head-tilting, side glances, just general dramatic limpness), awkward crotch grabs (oddly unisexual coming from Ke$ha), and an awful pelvic-thrust-walk slow-mo of the main love interest in the video.
I did enjoy, however, the bra scene where Ke$ha pulls hers out of her dress and then, wait for it, the dude does the same thing out of his dress . . . shirt! No one expects that, no one. The best part is her look of confusion and his sexual smirk as he sassily tosses away the undergarment. Really, who comes up with this? I mean, the man does have definite pec definition but the bra was really an unexpected twist.
The dialogue of the man and Ke$ha is also pure ridiculousness. Played by Dawson’s Creek’s James Van Der Beek at his self-deriding best, he and Ke$ha discuss the merit of Munster cheese, which is determined to be “edible lactose gold.” Ummm?
They then agree to dance but it turns out “dancing” is really a euphemism for a deadly rainbow laser tag that kills the dinner party of unicorns. Of course.
Finally, the video ends with a lovely touch of the absurd as Vanderdouch becomes a wall-mounted head, like a trophy, titled Vanderdead, which is accompanied by a pan around the room of surviving Unicorn faces, a cackle from Ke$ha, and then a sudden BLACKOUT.
Which is I guess how I would summarize this video: it’s like when you blackout. It seems like an awesome idea at the time and then you wake up the next morning covered in honey and broken glass and realize what a horrible mistake you just made. Oh wait, that’s from personal experience. Well, this video is like that, but instead of honey its unicorns and instead of broken glass it’s a weird neo-Medieval rave, and instead of a hangover its just Ke$ha cackling. So basically, it’s the same thing.
Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”
I LOVE that this has an epileptic seizure warning. (Which was only added a day after it was released.)
I LOVE that this starts with surprisingly heart-wrenching black-and-white footage of an adorable child walking through a city alone.
I LOVE the typography. It’s a wonderfully modern take on 1980s neon. So well timed, so many subliminal messages.
I LOVE how the phrase “Ghetto University” is repeated. And pantomimed.
I LOVE Rihanna’s bra/suspender contraption. She makes side-boob look fierce.
I LOVE how Kid Cudi doesn’t show his face until a minute into his singing.
I LOVE how all the guests on this track that you don’t hear, like La Roux, Alicia Keys, Fergie, John Legend, Charlie Wilson, The-Dream — all get buried under the verbal credits while Kanye’s name is repeated again and again.
I LOVE how low-key and different this video is compared to Runaway.
But I also LOVE Kanye. So I might be biased.
But really, I am really into this video. You should embrace it, live it, love it.
I would even watch this if I had epilepsy — I think the seizure would be worth it.