Autobiographical, sentimental yet still extravagantly Gaga in every way, and you’re wondering how ‘Yoü and I’ just became one of the most important music videos in the rising pop icon’s timeline? Although you may not be immediately awe-struck in the way you felt after viewing ‘Bad Romance’ for the first time, this one will go the distance to reveal itself to those who write off Gaga as merely all smoke and mirrors.
‘Yoü and I’ on the wig-shifting, multiple character-displaying exterior plays out like Lady Gaga‘s self-tribute to all the key performing arts milestones in her career thus far [Editor's note: we'll expand on this in the next breath] but in the centre of it all, the video really is about a rather simple tale of Stefani Germanotta‘s journey just to be back with the one.
You could spot the quick-flick through Gaga greatest hits looks at first glance from the various familiar attires and wigs but it’s only upon closer inspection that you see these looks fall into an autobiographical timeline. And another minute or two before a connection is made as to why it’s all playing out in Nebraska with the man.
Every character you see Gaga play in this video is a depiction of an era in her performance life thus far. There’s the flaxen-haired maiden plinking away in the field (a representation of her innocent piano-based beginnings), the teal-haired vixen in stripper gear (a throwback to her New York club hustling days), the European-couture elegance shown to be bound up feels like a reference to her ‘Bad Romance’ era when she ascended to mega star status, while the mermaid (tellingly one of the last characters she leaves us with in the video) represents the current Born This Way chapter – a complex symbiosis of fantasy and reality.
In the midst of it all, bookending these seemingly disparate visuals, are two crucial scenes that reveal the heart of her journey and the driving force behind her career. The video opens with a symbolic scene of Gaga dressed in all black, a wearied form of half-human/half-mechanics, on a dirt road journey back to Nebraska to find her long-lost love and ends with her reborn, dressed in all white with her hand in marriage. Perhaps there’s a simple and profoundly human concept that behind all these creative extravagance and performance lifestyle, Lady Gaga [read: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta] just wants to settle down and be happy with the one she loves.
It is this soft still heartfelt sentiment packaged nicely in song, dance and all the entertaining and showy elements we crave in pop videos that makes ‘Yoü and I’ special. Multi-faceted, intelligent yet wildly ostentatious – this is signature Gaga and one we’ll no doubt come to recognise more effectively in years to come.
Check out three other nods I have to give the video:
1) The gritty combination of sex, violence and art.
Just when you thought I had expelled all thought and prose I had about the ‘Yoü and I’ video, here comes more. This be that bonus features, hidden track and extra commentary feature no one bothers with but is just there if you happen to be gagging for more.
I found the scenes with the man bounding couture-clad Gaga to the operating table and drowning her to be the most interesting moments in the video. Not that hunting for nipplegate in the mermaid scene wasn’t wildly entertaining or anything but the drama and violence highlighted there is just so typical of Gaga’s videos. Typical, not in the eye-roll-here-we-go-again way but rather, in a signature manner. Check on her classics like ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Paparazzi’ – there’s always that element of torture, death or violence to counterbalance the glossy, editorial visuals.
2) He and her.
Gaga presents her male alter-ego Jo Calderone on film for the first time since his photographic debut in June. It’s really quite sexy seeing the swag he’s sporting sitting on top of that piano and he almost represents a worldlier and darker influence overseeing the blonde, wide-eyed Gaga playing beneath him.
3) Nebraska, New York and the world.
There’s been a lot of commentary thus far fixed on Gaga’s characters and “the journey” but we can’t deny the enriching landscape of Nebraska and how this colours the context of ’Yoü and I’. There’s something about this place, she says. And there truly is as reflected in the barnyard set, the presence of natural lighting, dirt road and crop fields. The wide open country scene carries such deep-rooted representation of the simple life – a far cry from the New York hustle and bustle we know to be true of Gaga. It’s really something seeing the marriage of Nebraska’s natural elements with Gaga’s big city attitude and global popstar costumes.
Lady Gaga‘s ’Yoü and I’ is expected to impact mainstream US radios next week. The track has to date peaked at #36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #89 on the UK charts. It is the most added new song to Aussie radios this week.