May 16, 2011


Decoding Lady Gaga's Judas


Judgment has been made. Lady Gaga is sacrilegious!  But being a faithful little monster that I am, I didn’t just settle for that.  So I probed.  I loomed through the fire where the smoke came from that led me to near-death exhaustion and almost killed my fascination with the Mama Monster. Don’t you love how metaphors sound? Since I’ll be discussing about the metaphorical Lady Gaga, might as well do it in style, metaphorically!  (wink!)

When I first saw the video, I was brought yet again to a trance as I fidgeted whatever parts of my body I could conjure the moment the initial trademark Gaga incantations began. Judaahh! Juda-aas Judaahhs!  It was raining, and I felt I was brought back to the Woodstock marshland to celebrate rock and roll for the first time. (How’s my metaphor so far?) Ok, that’s a little exaggeration, I’m not even that old to witness the Woodstock pandemonium, but I’m sure the feeling invoked is pretty much the same.

Judas! Juda-as Judas!
Judas! Juda-as Judas! GAGA! (then I felt the urgency to strike a pose, as Mama Monster would have imposed!)

Image credit: http://www.thedollsfactory.com/2011/05/lady-gaga-judas-video-fashion-credits.html 
At this point, the leather-cladded Fellini biker boys rolled down the road.  Then came Lady Gaga riding at the back of the MOB biker club leader, who oddly wore a thorn-like headdress.  That’s when I started to feel a little uncomfortable.  Could it be… Jee… nah! Then I counted the bikers- 1, 2, 3… 12! And how could I miss the name plates in their leather jackets (Read: Thomas, Peter, Joseph...)! Oh no, Gaga! You can’t go there! As if Alejandro is not enough!  This is me like a brooding father for her wayward daughter who has miscalculated a quantifiable risk and plummeted herself into a possible career suicide.  But any father would know, he needs to let his daughter be what she’s gotta be. Metaphor sustained! (wink!)

Then came the first stanza.

When he comes to me, I am ready
I'll wash his feet with my hair if he needs
Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain
Even after three times, he betrays me

Since Gaga claimed to use these Biblical anecdotes as metaphors to reflect betrayals of her past lovers, I'm going to decode it in a romantic notion that this is actually a "love song". She considered herself submissive to her lover, always forgiving despite his incessant lies, philandering and unfaithfulness.

I'll bring him down, bring him down, down
A king with no crown, king with no crown

But as any aggrieved woman’s clamor, there came a point that enough is enough. So she avowed vengeance. 

I'm just a Holy Fool, oh baby he's so cruel
But still I'm in love with Judas, baby
I'm just a Holy Fool, oh baby he's so cruel
But still I'm in love with Judas, baby

Just as many people’s dilemma when violated by their loved ones, it seemed so hard to just let go and move on.  Sometimes it is much easier to stick around and be a fool.  Hmmm… sounds familiar?

I couldn't love a man so purely
Even prophets forgave his crooked way
I've learned love is like a brick you can
Build a house or sink a dead body

I guess, this is every hopeless romantic’s fault to believe in the purity of love in every encounter.  Sometimes, our reason failed us and we just let things be.  But in the end, we’ll all realize that along the way, there is a crossroad. A choice, whether we allow love to serve us or destroy us.

In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offenced,
Or wear an ear condom next time

Sometimes we allow ourselves to sink entirely beyond repentance whether in love or other aspects of our lives. And through it all, we are often succumbed into the vanity of seeking an audience as we experience the bittersweet journey of love.

I wanna love you,
But something's pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
And Judas is the demon I cling to
I cling to

But when reality sets in, we realize that there is “good” within us.  And clinging into what’s right for us can be our own salvation from self-destruction.

Image credit: http://www.thedollsfactory.com/2011/05/lady-gaga-judas-video-fashion-credits.html
This is my linear and sanitized interpretation of the song about love, betrayal and forgiveness, as Gaga so daringly and metaphorically put.  I am not totally comfortable with the symbolisms and imageries used in this video, but the song incorporates redeeming values about loving appropriately and morally.  The song even transcends its love metaphor to reflect our internal battle between good and evil.

The video is highly conceptual. And just like any of Gaga's past works, it provides us with a very luscious visual treat. Sure it rocks us off our seat occasionally.  But isn't it how a work of art should be?  And let’s give Lady Gaga a credit, as she figured, if she’s going to get stoned for this video, she’d already stoned herself first!  Guess who's got the last metaphor? Me? Nope.. it's Gaga(!) in her last video scene as Mary Magdalene being stoned to death in her fabulous bridal gown. Genius!

Do you agree with me, or you think I'm crazy 'coz I seriously disagree with anyone who thinks Gaga is just a cheap Madonna wannabe? Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can leave your comments below.

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Image credit (Lady Gaga top image): alexlovesmiley


Disclaimer: The images used in this article do not represent the views and opinions of the actual photo owners (some from flicker.com) for this blog. The author assumes full responsibility attached to this blog. The photo owner is protected by Flicker's Creative Commons' Copyright Policy.

9 comments:

Arvin said...

Well, I'm not a Gaga fan. But I admire her love for her craft. Nice interpretation Karlie.

Karlie Bradshaw said...

Ei Arvin! Thanks! It's my sanitized interpretation...who knows what Gaga really meant by the song! hehe I've actually misread the comment thread in your blog... thought you're the one who commented about being a fan! hehe Thanks for visiting my site.

Anonymous said...

bravissimo!!! Judas! Gaga! Karlie!! more more more...

-- glenn here

Karlie Bradshaw said...

Thanks Glenn! :) I'm working on a new post now! ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice one Karlie! I had a few laugh with your metaphors! and when you had that urgency to strike a pose!!! You are indeed a little monster! Let's raise our paws up! To the Mama MOnster!

mariannecells@yahoo.com said...

Genius Sir Karl, so GENIUS!! I like it superb ;)

Anonymous said...

the audacity, my friend, the audacity!!! :)

goldi said...

used to like lady gaga but after seeing this and alejandro, I had enough. nice metaphors btw.

Karlie Bradshaw said...

Thanks, Goldi! :)