When I saw Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video for the first time Thursday, it had about 4 million views. Today, just days after its initial release, it has 7,873,127 views and climbing. Put simply, this video is on fire, both figuratively and literally. Blargus music commentator Rob “The Rocktimist” Wohl wrote in his last post about his belief that guilty pleasures don’t, or at least shouldn’t, exist. To borrow a phrase from Smokey Robinson: I second that emotion. The “Bad Romance” video is not a guilty pleasure, it’s just good.
If you haven’t yet, please watch the magic for yourself: [youtube src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACm9yECwSso”]
I’ll be honest, I’m new to the Lady Gaga scene. To me, Poker Face was that vaguely annoying song constantly played at parties last semester. When my housemate told me about marching near Gaga herself in the National Equality March for gay rights in Washington D.C. in October, I nodded and smiled. And I certainly had no clue what the blond wig and sunglasses were about when my friend explained to me that he was Lady Gaga for Halloween. Seeing the “Bad Romance” video changed everything, however— I’ve gone Gaga and I can’t go back.
One review I found explains that this video is very much an event, and I completely agree. From the costumes to the choreography to the plot, “Bad Romance” is over the top in virtually every respect. Alien-like dancers in skintight opaque suits emerge from coffin pods in the “Bath Haus of GaGa.” A hairless cat silently hisses as Lady Gaga gives a metal-jawed man a lap dance. Lady Gaga is shown being force-fed vodka, lit on fire and walking in 10-inch (!!) Alexander McQueen stilettos. As my friend Jo put it, “it’s like couture porn.”
What I most appreciated about “Bad Romance,” however, is that unlike most pop music videos, this one doesn’t try to make its female star as conventionally beautiful as possible in every frame. Instead, Lady Gaga appears singing through red eyes and tears, writhing in eerie light with an exoskeleton running down her bare back and with her face almost completely hidden in a white latexy headdress. True, for much of the video Lady Gaga flaunts her (rockin’) body in a variety of lingerie ensembles, but somehow this seems to be simply part of an aesthetic— just one piece of a grandiose pop-art production.
Beyond the visual frenzy and potential for feminist debate that “Bad Romance” provides, one last reason I like this video is that it’s responsible for getting the Wall Street Journal to print the following phrase: ““Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-roma-mamaa! Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!”