Critics and media people alike aren’t getting it. There’s a lack of understanding about Lady Gaga’s new video, Alejandro. Luchinda Fisher from ABC News sees it as a rip-off of Madonna’s Like A Prayer or her video Vogue. She couldn’t be any more wrong.
Anna Pickard with the Guardian in the UK writes a witty piece, who’s most offended by Lady Gaga’s Alejandro? Ultimately, however, Anna doesn’t get it either, but sees it only as filler Jell-o pudding, and such a waste of her precious time!
Au contraire, I believe there to be a good amount of art and craft herein, subtlety of theme and evocative metaphors mercilessly pounce down on your face. Some harmless teasing of Catholicism is detected, and a scintilla of historical foreplay disguised as fanaticism, via Nazi S & M channeling, or otherwise, chimerical theatrical filtering pipes through my caustic carcass.
With regard to the Madonna-worship canticles, nothing could be further from the truth. I saw ne’er a reference to Like A Prayer or to Vogue for that matter, but did catch a whiff of Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, with swinging dance routines, darkly lighting, and a throbbing bunch of butch-boys swirling ’round surreal stage sets.
For a full nine minutes, Expressionist action, with a dash of Nazi bravado, androgynously toss us around like the limpest Raggedy Ann dolls (you’ve ever seen) lost at sea, and bumpily bouncing hither and thither by whirls of wayward wind.
To candidly evoke a bucket of precision-laden-frankness, Alejandro is a much better written song than Like A Prayer ever was, or could ever hope to be. Moreover, Gaga has a superior singing voice to Madonna, with a nasal tone that resonates with waxing wonder.
To hammer the nail into the coffin, The Lady is a far superior dancer also (than Madonna) and the message of the lyrics and celluloid images reverberate deeper with a pulsating profundity, jiving society at every turn, or scolding religion and sexual archetypes, that tend to horribly haunt us or waterboard us, artistically speaking. Don’t need to portray her preeminence with careful reasoning, ART is intuitive, people!
The lyrics express a rejection of the anti-hero in the song, Alejandro, or at times she refers to him as Fernando. “Don’t wanna kiss, don’t wanna touch. Just smoke one cigarette and hush. Don’t call my name. Don’t call my name, Roberto.” It’s not just rejection of his sex that’s implied here, it’s rejection of the stupidity of the Napoleon-esque actor in the video, and the cesspool of violent Fascism that circles his stodgy world. It’s a political shunning too.
As such, the lyrics are a subtle endorsement for the Gay community, as she so informed Larry King. The male dancers are mere props in black and white contrast to Gaga, who look oh so stupid and act oh so stupid, grimacing and wincing about the set like a bunch of baboons swinging on a jungle-laden Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie set. I interpreted this as a hetero-put-down and a lesbian reaffirmation.
As far as having Steven Klein as the director of Alejandro, this was grand slam, because the sets look great, things are framed fantastically, with a photographer’s sharp eye at work. The fake black and white (with some bleached colors) tone of the screen adds a lot; Fascist metaphors and Mock-Nuns are worthy objects for this oblique, bleak tone. This world is Wan, Weird, and WICKED with a capital W! Good job, Steve.
The only way I can describe the images is: KALEIDOSCOPIC! A barrage of projections bombard the eye against the fragrant warbling of soothing sound bites. Weimar Republic bits, Expressionistic Marlene Dietrich clips, or quite possibly, Spanish Inquisition dancer boys acting as props, a topsy-turvy twisting about of sex-roles, such as the Days of Old, when Dean Martin would sip whiskey with a ‘cache of golddigger chicks’ in his midst, and closely within grasp.
Folks, these are hallucinatory flashes used to reinforce themes of the ‘iconoclasm of societal mores.’ At time this might include Gaiety, or rather Gayness in its isolated arcane format. Gaga is poking fun at these shallow prototypes, which would include the sequences of S & M handcuffing and belligerent bullwhipping horseplay.
The automaton twirly-boys, with boopsie-bowl haircuts ala Larry, Moe and Curly (The Three Stooges) and ballooning Undercrackers, remind me more of a Saturday Night Live parody, than they do of some serious dance-routine out of Cabaret. Hopefully Gaga paid these chumps a healthy stipend, for their futures as working actors is, for sure, moribund ’til the end of time! Doomed mop-tops frozen in time, in the most mocking-est celluloid that ever passed through a motion picture camera.
Forget Madonna or Bob Fosse, and think Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porter (1974). This was the first thing that came to my mind in my initial viewing of Alejandro. It’s a kinky S & M affair for Lucia and Max; scenes take place in a concentration camp, then later on at a Vienna hotel where Max is a night porter. The sadomasochistic business resumes in this setting, after the war. Watch The Night Porter soon and see what you think, an electric circuit-connection is in store for you now.
So people (critics, media, fans) are not getting it at all. What we have in The Night Porter is known as the Stockholm Syndrome-where a victim starts to enjoy the kinkiness and the transgressions of their abuser-thus, in Alejandro the heroine thinks back on her lover, and begins to recognize how awful a Nazi jerk-off this guy really is. Yet, for some odd reason, she still digs him dearly; this is where the Stockholm Syndrome comes into the picture.
The Bird (This Bird Has Flown) morphs to religion as a form of escapism, and evaporates into a foggy vapor in the final frame. Absurdist Theater is utilized to spoof religion, Macho-Fascism and heinous Hetero-archetypes that crowd the historical galleries of our recent past. Gaga is above the fray, and endorses nothing here, nothing but an arty display of iconoclastic parody parades (blurs) the screen.
A Freudian duality of Id and SuperEgo are at odds with one another, and a subtle bantering, a verbal volleyball of sorts, filters through the audience. There’s a 360 degree turning of the head at each and every point; in the end, a Two-Faced Janus is all we get to see. Yea, NOONE GETS IT WHATSOEVER? *Five Plus Stars!