What Happened to the Old Lady Gaga?
After Lady Gaga released her music video for “Million Reasons,” I wondered: Is that it? I sat in my office chair and realized that, for the first time, my favorite popstar didn't wow me. The single’s message of finding the good in heartache, of picking yourself up when you’ve fallen, is lovely, but the video? Eh—not my jam.
One co-worker tried to console me: “I mean, listen to the song," she said. "It wasn’t about to be a rave.” Subject matter aside, the Lady Gaga I fell in love with was always ready to host the world’s most fabulous, gay, funny, outrageous party imaginable. This was something else entirely; it was, dare I say, dull.
The opening sequence was alluring. It picks up in the same dusty desert field where “Perfect Illusion” left off and offers a picturesque, cinematic feel. And while the song itself is a mournful ballad that reflects the singer’s own struggle with fame, family, and her romantic relationships, the remaining scenes lack the fearless energy that made me fall for Gaga in the first place.
I like to think of myself as one of Gaga’s steadfast supporters. Her under-the-radar Cheek to Cheek jazz-inspired album introduced me to a new genre of music I never knew I loved. Her third studio album, Artpop, which many fans referred to as #ArtFlop, was, hands-down, my favorite. The woman could belch atop a mechanical bull while performing—yep, she’s done it, and it’s NSFW—and I’d figure out a way to defend it. In fact, when it comes to listing all the reasons she’s the greatest performer of our time, I’m game.
But truthfully, she’s not inspiring me in the way that she used to. I'll admit it: A part of it has to do with the fact that I’m stuck in the past. At least once a day, I’ll watch and study one of her vintage music videos—“Applause,” “Alejandro,” “Judas,” “Marry the Night,” or anything from her 2011 Thanksgiving special.
She was a different artist then, focused on pushing messages of inclusivity for anyone she considered to be disenfranchised. We were all born this way! Right? Well, I need some of that angry passion back. I need another meat dress. Another night spent as her 2011 alter ego, Joe Calderone. Another outfit I’d want to wear on Halloween, like her barely-there seashell bikini (below).
Gone are the days of her showing up for the Grammys encased in a giant egg. Gaga used to say she’d “rather die” than be seen without her heels on. Girl, I get it, heels hurt—but I miss the moxie she wore with them. It’s not as much about her fashion as it is about throwing caution to the wind and making the crowd go nuts. Her most recent performance of “John Wayne” at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was so good, it made Gigi Hadid throw her hands up in celebration. There's no doubt that Mother Monster’s still got it.
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So, her sleepy single aside, I'm holding out hope for 2017. Her Bud Light Dive Bar Tour killed it, and I know her upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show performance is destined to be iconic. Rumors are swirling about an impending 2017 tour, which will bring us new performances, daring costumes, and maybe even a little bit of that old Gaga outrage. Fingers crossed.
Until then, maybe I’ll give "Million Reasons" another shot.