Yeah, it was released all the way yesterday. Yeah, it's a giant target. But, like it or lump it, Lady Gaga is worth taking a look at. So we are.
The criticism tossed at Gaga's "Express Yourself" redux upon its release was not all that surprising, nor was Madonna's subsequent bestowal of support. Gaga and Madonna are a symbiotic creature; Gaga uses Madonna's template and Madonna piggybacks on the Mother Monster in order to further cement her legacy and hopefully move a few units out of tributary curiosity. The remainder, the split difference between them, is just a differences of ages. The Material Girl and her Age of Trickle-Down, Germanotta and our Age of Too Much or Not Enough.
Madonna's relatively obtuse image stayed pretty much consistent through the '80s, where we couldn't imagine Gaga's image staying the same for a year, much less a month. Her message, however has been relatively the same since zeroing in on her constituency -- the young, the gay, and the restless. Which is sort of the problem here.
The Universe: a Gaga-penned voiceover and gorgeous mirror-birth montage that awkwardly if interestingly (sci-fi!) crafts a space opera genesis myth of alien-born open-mindeds, all apparently crazy cut with awesome tattoos. I can't deny that it's a movie I would watch. Then the music, and the dancing, and the lyrics. Oh, the lyrics. Disco facile and empty-meaningful.
For a song as all-in-together-now as "Born This Way," it's a sad fact that Katy Perry's video for "Fireworks" was more radical in its loving treatment of fatties, spazzes, and nerdos than any decontextualized take from the lithe, chiseled bodies of "Born This Way," Gaga's most so. And it's also worth saying that Gaga was most definitely not born that way, and didn't get to where she was because of it. Beth Ditto should cover this song and invest in a clone army.
The video could have been amazing if Gaga had kept up the nerd conceit and just went completely off the edge. I suppose to many she did, but to these eyes the promise of the first minute is disemboweled and forgotten by a sadly rote back-and-forth of posture and dance.
Gaga's recent theme of germination and birth is encouraging to happier spirits, but what's unsaid but shown is equally as important as what's crafted and committeed.