Saturday, 16 January 2010

Lady GaGa's Dark Muse

Got vertigo?

Can we take a moment to talk about Lady GaGa? I first "discovered" her on Pandora, long after she'd made her actual debut. I'm out of the pop loop, is what I'm saying. And then I was hanging out with a friend, who, like me, doesn't listen to top 40, loves horror movies, and enjoys making fun of people, and we (somehow) got to talking about Lady GaGa. She'd asked if I'd seen the video for Paparazzi. I hadn't.

And now that I have, let me just say: Huh. In spite of the pop music and the glamorous sheen, the video is a short treatise on obsession and revenge. The lyrics themselves are quite dark, telling the story of a fan who obsessively pursues her idol, sure in the knowledge the idol will one day return her love. The video takes these themes and pushes them further, as Lady GaGa herself is living with her stalker.

We don't know exactly how this happened, but we're to assume she fell victim to his relentless pursuit. It's an interesting idea, this notion of pushy, obsessive love that wears down its object to the point of submission. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Lady GaGa's boyfriend, the terrifyingly handsome Alexander Skarsgaard, is a total narcissist and is more in love with the idea of being with Lady GaGa, than he is with the woman herself. The combined pathology of stalker and narcissist creates quite a monster and the inevitable happens when they boyfriend dumps Lady GaGa off the balcony in a glory-seeking fit of anger.

I'll never look at Mickey Mouse the same.

Lady GaGa doesn't die from the fall. No, she suffers a worse fate--her career is over. Holed up in her mansion with her ungrateful boyfriend, who benefited nothing from the attempted murder, Lady GaGa heals. Stripping off her braces, Lady GaGa sheds her innocence and morality, and takes her revenge on Alexander Skarsgaard by poisoning his drink. Though she confesses to the crime, Lady GaGa is found not guilty and, as a final insult to Alexander Skarsgaard, she enjoys new success and fame. By accomplishing all that her boyfriend failed to do, Lady GaGa essentially triumphs over her oppressor, finding salvation in death.

One of the more arresting images in the video is Lady GaGa's dance number on crutches. I don't mean to suggest the disabled are less than human, but the scene in the video presents Lady GaGa as a kind of quasi-human, a woman who is not yet finished being made. The image is creepy, and made all the more striking by the video's outlandish design.

The colours and the music offset the video's dark subject matter. Drawing inspiration from fashion, Lady GaGa's look is one of glamorous excess, and is in total opposition to the story being told. The song and the video work together to create a beautiful world that is rotten at its core, full of treachery and deceit. Though not horror-themed per se, Paparazzi, explores a lot of the same dark territory as horror--lust, obsession, murder--and uses startling visuals to help tell its twisted story.

48 comments:

Andre said...

Ok I swear I'm linked psychically to your mind or sumthin' because while I was doing dishes last night I thought a GREAT post idea would be to look at how Lady GaGa is inspired by horror. This is awesome. I frickin' love that video- and how it's so classic horror looking, even Hitchcockian in some sense.

Have you seen her performance of this on the VMA's? That was my first actual glimpse at the lady and I instantly fell in love. Phantom of the Opera, blood, hanging...yes!

The Divemistress said...

That's crazy, we're totally on the same wavelength. I didn't catch the VMAs (I generally stay away from that stuff) but it sounds like it was quite something. I'll have to check it out.

Andre said...

Don't worry her performance was the only thing worth watching, and I only watched it because I heard she was going to do something crazy. I guess she got in tons of trouble because all those righteous extreme groups said her performance glamorized suicide. Bah.

The Divemistress said...

Okay, I just watched it and thought it was amazing.

Andre said...

Yay! It's soo Argento there at the end. The perfect homage to Suspiria

Tenebrous Kate said...

Great post! This is one of my favorite videos from recent years. The "Sunset Boulevard" gothicry combined with the shiny, shiny Thierry Mugler outfit make me swooooon. I've seen a few interviews with Lady GaGa in which she talks about her enthusiasm for horror movies and monsters, and there's the Hitchcock film name-dropping in "Bad Romance." There's a definite love for horror themes in the NYC Club Kid scene from which GaGa hails, and I love that she honors that in her work. She rules way more than most folks give her credit for!

BJ-C said...

I will admit...I'm fucking obsessed with her. She did a horror photoshoot. I'll post pics and link back to your post since you've inspired me :)

The Divemistress said...

Love it!

Vardulon said...

You know, Kate up there reminded me of something odd - this is a horror-themed blog, but you didn't review Gaga's obviously horror-themed video, 'Bad Romance'. It's the one with filled to the brim with coffins, monsters, and a charred skeleton. Perhaps a sequel to this article?

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