Pop music – like it or not – 3

Posted on April 7, 2012

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Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

The song starts with the harpsichord playing a tune in baroque style making me associate to a seventeenth century aristocratic court. For a few seconds we can see Lady Gaga, as the mistress of the party, sitting motionless in an exuberant outfit surrounded by dancers. At a press of a button by her fingers (complete with elaborately decorated fingernails) everything is set into motion and we are introduced into a futuristic milieu where extravagant mixes with the bizarre, flat-screen technology with gothic ornamentation. In continuation we are exposed to a mixture of visual and acoustic features.

The video is saturated with elements that suggest symbolic meaning, telling the story of a woman being captured by dark forces, apparently forced to dance and expose her body in front of some vodka drinking (Nemiroff) shady characters (could be gang or cult leaders, I’d bet on the first). But even when forced to dance, she does that in a passionate and dramatic way. Monsters with no eyes come out of their capsules (we know what they are as it is written on the capsules) and we can see the Lady with her eyes enlarged – it must have some symbolic meaning which I fail to grasp from the clip. Not to worry though, as in the meantime one can enjoy the sight of a great variety of glittery outfits, interesting body shapes and lady lingerie of various colour, shape and transparency, some of which I suppose are meant to be shocking / bizarre / extravagant.

From the lyrics we pick up words like “love”, “revenge”, “disease”, “criminal” embedded between the hooks of forceful chanting like “rah-rah”, “roma-roma” “ooh-la-la” which make little meaning to me, but sound like some occult ritual chanting. The song she sings seems to be about a romance, a sort of dramatic, decadent relationship in this case, a power struggle between man and woman based on fatal passion and spiced with mutual exploitation and voluptuous sexuality.

The music is using elements of pop music that reminds me to the music of the eighties. It has a structure of hook – verse – pre-chorus – chorus repeating a couple of times, boosted with an interlude and bridge before the ending. The rhythm is generated by a drum machine. Overall the music sounds to me pretty much like a standard summer hit, stuff that we used to enjoy in birthday parties during primary or early elementary school, in contrast with the wealth of symbols and crazy and bizarre ideas scattered around in the video.

I don’t know whether the large audience really captured the meaning of its occult symbolism or just got caught by the lady lingerie exposed, but the song was a hit on the charts and even won a Grammy Award. Speaking about music, I don’t see any great innovation or extravagance in it. One thing I really appreciate though – that Lady Gaga  didn’t put on her notorious meat dress this time.

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Posted in: Part 1