Sarafian provides an analytical breakdown of Lady Gaga’s latest music video, “G.U.Y”, as he defends the pop-stars’ fluctuating trends in popularity.
After weeks of anticipation, Little Monsters were blessed with the music video accompaniment for Lady Gaga’s latest single, “G.U.Y.” Glazed with Greek mythology and modern art aesthetics, the eleven-minute-mini film comes packed with stellar choreography, celebrity cameos, and—of course—plenty of cryptic, yet meaningful imagery.
So, what exactly is the “G.U.Y.” video about? Like most of Gaga’s music videos, “G.U.Y.’s” message isn’t explicitly stated in the film’s plot or even the song’s lyrics. Gaga prefers to drive her theme via imagery and symbolism. Contrary to popular belief, Gaga’s videos are not explicitly random. The song itself is about a mutual share of power in regards to love and sex. The man can please the woman; the woman can please the man.
While the song is about the bedroom, the video takes a different spin on the lyrics by commenting on the power shift in regards to Gaga’s career.
2013 wasn’t an easy year for her. She underwent surgery for a leg injury, had to cancel her Born This Way Ball World Tour, and took time off to recuperate. During her break, Gaga struggled with everything from an eating disorder to a drug addiction. Her album, “ARTPOP,” chronicles 2013. She sings about her love of performance in “Applause,” her relationship with the press in “Do What U Want” and her addiction/recovery in “Mary Jane Holland” and “Dope.” Oh, “Do What U Want” is about the flack she receives from the media (in contrast to what one might think when hearing the song’s title).
During her recovery, the public’s fascination with Gaga lessened. She became a dying star in the Katy Perry-illuminated night sky. As interest in Gaga thinned out, several of her confidants abandoned ship, and bloggers ripped into her for gaining weight and becoming “irrelevant.” “Do What U Want” welcomes the hate and scrutiny of the Perez Hiltons and the fair weathered industry executives. You can do what you want to her; say what you want about her—she doesn’t really give a damn.
“The G.U.Y.” video furthers this message. The first few minutes depict a wounded winged Gaga crawling through a battlefield while men in business suits snatch at money flurrying from the sky. These are the music moguls and their prime concern is engorging their pockets at the expense of the artist.
So, a broken Gaga hobbles to the gates of an ivory castle and is taken in by a group of eccentric men and women. These are her fans and supporters—the Little Monsters that have continued to give Gaga their love and support through her chaotic ups and downs. The castle dwellers lower her into a pool while a shortened version of her song “Venus” plays in the background. She emerges, adorned in a white headpiece and dress. This is her rebirth. Like Venus, she’s emerged from the water. She’s prepared to share her art and message with the world and has finally washed off the pain that had held her down. “G.U.Y” finally commences and onslaught of bizarre visuals follow.
Later on, we see Gaga bring three historical figures back from the dead: Gandhi, Jesus, and Michael Jackson—three men who preached messages of love and tolerance but were martyred as a result of hatred. Gaga revives them and extracts their blood, which she uses to manufacture an army. These “clones” have the blood of benevolent men flowing through their veins. This is Gaga’s attempt to create a new society—one that preaches love and artistic freedom all while shunning the hatred of the world.
In the video, the song serves to illustrate that Gaga doesn’t need to be on the cover of a magazine or have her song at the top of the Billboard charts. “I don’t need to be on top to know I’m worth it ‘cause I’m strong enough to know the truth.” She’s in love with her fans and her art. She doesn’t need to compete with other artists. She’s happy pleasing her listeners and delivering her message and doesn’t need to be on the top to do so. “I’m in charge like a G.U.Y. I’ll lay down face up this time. Under you like a G.U.Y.” She may not be in the position she once was—the top of the industry—but she’s still in control of her life and her career. No businessman or critic is going to tell her differently.
I say we give Gaga a round of applause. She’s climbed from the gravel and is making her way back to the top. This climb is not just towards a financial summit but also the happy pinnacle where she can freely control her life, career, and artistry.