The Lady Gaga music video scale

Hi Folks,

I’ve been writing small little texts on this blog for the last decade. However, as all of my texts are in German, I think some of my potential readers do have some problems with that. Therefore, I had the idea to translate some of my older texts and update them a little bit to today. The first of the bunch will be a text that I wrote in 2011 when Lady Gaga was in her Imperial phase as Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys would have said. According to Neil, an artist is in their Imperial Phase when every single content that’s been released in a certain time frame is a guaranteed number one. Imagine Michael Jackson in the 80s and early 90s, Madonna in the same time frame, Taylor Swift in the 2010s. And of course Lady Gaga around 2009-2011 before her transition to a more serious artist and of course before becoming an Oscar-nominated actress now in 2019. So without further ado… The Lady Gaga Music Scale. 

We all know that Lady Gaga is somewhat… slightly… gaga and she used to show this a lot in her videos. Therefore I had the idea of creating a Lady Gaga scale for her absolute brainfuck videos that she did over the years. This scale is constructed in such a way that any music video could be rated and classified with this rating system on the terms of brainfuckery. The rating will be done in the range from 1 (normal standard video) to 10 (absolute demented brainfuck).

And here’s the Top 10:

1.) Eh Eh (Nothing Else I can say)

Back in the day, Lady Gaga used to be sorta normal. Although she did run around half-naked through the city of New York (Not that I’m complaining…), she does show her italian roots, hangs around with her (possibly fake-) friends, annoys ingenuous pedestrians that walk through the Bronx and lies in bed with high heels and a white bra. Why the hell not… 🙂 

(Insert from 2019: Back in the day this was the most innocent and „normal“ Gaga video, but this has changed drastically over the years and now I would be using 2016’s Million Reasons as the most „sane“ music video. It does have a framing story of Gaga having a breakdown in the middle of the desert and some of her friends or managers try to follow her and bring her back to a video shoot until she finds a present from her sister that gives her back the strength to perform the music video. A straight-forward story around a performance video for a country-style song. 2011’s Kai would have never imagined such a normal video back in the day…)

2.) Just Dance

Lady Gaga: The absolute party queen. Actually, nothing happens in this music video, too. You still have the feeling that this is basically one of the very first videos of hers and she hasn’t found her style yet. Even though she has this Ziggy Stardust-like flash on her right eye and the fact that her party guests are vandalising the entire appartment, there’s not much strange things going on here.

3.) Pokerface

Now we’re talking. Gaga emerges from a pool with a disco ball mask on her head, wears basically Borg utensils on her face and plays Poker thanks to blatant product placements by bwin and beats headphones. Which maybe turns into strip poker in the latter parts of the video. It’s the beginning of a pretty disturbing and wacky music video career. Oh and there are LCD glasses that show „Pop Culture“ which is super-2010-ish.

4.) Paparazzi

Let’s be honest. Pokerface is still somewhat of a performance video. Paparazzi, however, is the first video with a story albeit the fact that it is mad as hell. It begins with a love scene (in swedish!) between Gaga and her swedish lover (by the way, it’s Alexander Skarsgård), who lets himself being photographed by a paparazzi while he’s smooching with Gaga and throws her off a balcony. From now on, Gaga has to sit in a wheel chair with a diamond-covered toby collar and dances with crutches in a very Metropolis-esque outfit. Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend has been on a killing spree and probably killed a bunch of women in his big villa. In the end, Gaga goes back to her ex… but kills him with a deadly poison (that for some reason has no killing effect on her…). Then, she calls 911, admits killing her boyfriend and gets apprehended by the police… And you get a first taste what kind of crazy illegal drugs Gaga must have taken in that time to come up with such a crazy video…

5.) Love Game

Gaga’s half-naked covered in glitter.

Gaga in New York’s subway.

Gaga on Time’s Square.

Gaga swinging a glowing stick as if she was Gaga-Gandalf the White.

Gaga with a netting wire as glasses.

Gaga in a parking garage.

Gaga having wild sex with a police guy that becomes a threesome.

I could make another joke about taking a ride on a disco stick… but I’m leaving it like that for now.

6.) Telephone

The direct sequel to the Paparazzi video. This time with Beyonce. Tyrese Gibson. A big influence of Quentin Tarantino movies. And lots more WTF moments. First of all, Gaga gets imprisoned to a women’s prison, where she immediately gets stripped down, while one of the guards comments on her disappointment that Gaga has no dick at all (Friendly reminder from 2019 that there was a pretty consistent rumor before that music video came out that claimed that Gaga was transgender and this was more like a funny comment on that rumor). A short time later, Gaga is outside showing off her newest accessory: smoking cigarette-glasses. Why the fuck not? This seems to attract some of her inmates interest… especially that of transgender performance artist Cassils who starts kissing Gaga and steals her fancy slidable LG phone from Virgin mobile… that she somehow still possesses in that prison. Short time later, Gaga is back in the prison facility (together with her actual sister) while she’s wearing diet empty coke cans as fucking perm weavers during the obligatory inmate prison fight scene. It’s still more comfortable than her police tape outfit that she wears a couple of moments later. After a short, yet completely pointless dance routine inside the prison, Gaga somehow gets out of prison (Oh, did I mention the blatant product placements for beats, HP laptops and the online flirt community PlentyOfFish?). Outside the prison facility, she finds someone waiting for her in the actual Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill (that was actually provided by Quentin Tarantino). This someone turns out to be Queen Bee herself, Beyonce and the both of them start on their path of annihilation. The music video now gets more dialogue with Arnold Schwarzenegger-type oneliners like

Once you kill a cow, you gotta make a burger.

or 

Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broke – but you can still see the crack in that motherfucker’s reflection.

Both then drive to a diner while Gaga keeps making photos with her shiny new Polaroid camera. For whatever reason. I mean, come on, Gaga has been murdering around in the last music video, so why does a big company like Polaroid want to associate itself with a murderer. Oh… This must have been 2019-Kai that’s writing an addendum to the text. Guess, toxic public relations hasn’t been invented yet in 2010. (Fun fact, Lady Gaga became „Creative Director“ for Polaroid in 2010 where she was supposed to become the quasi new face for Polaroid… so take it with a grain of salt with those product placements). Anyways, at some point during their trip, they stop at a diner, where Beyonce has a date with Roman Pearce himself, Tyrese Gibson. He slaps the bottom of another woman and has an argument with another customer, while Beyonce has poisoned his coffee… which transitions into a short Making Of of the poison. Lady Gaga is in the kitchen. With a helmet based on telephones and telephone circles. While she’s making a Sandwich with Miracle Whip and Tiberium. TIBERIUM. YES! The evil, deadly fucking green thing from the Command & Conquer series. WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING! WHY? Apparently Gaga is a sister of NOD. She put so much Tiberium in this poison that it not only shows Tyrese the Wrath of Kane but kills the rest of the diner as well (except Gaga and Beyonce). It apparently kills the translator as well, because for some reason the subscription reads as „Ein…Zwei…Drei!“ (It should have been „Eins…Zwei…Drei!“). In the end, Gaga and Beyonce are dancing inside the diner in an all-american dress in front of dozens of dead bodies. Before they run away and flee before the police is arriving. The manhunt begins and both are swearing each other to never come back… but Gaga will return… with much more WTF…

7.) Alejandro

I do love this song very much with its big Ace-of-Base-kinda feel. The video however… It all starts with a bunch of Pseudo-BDSM-Nazis that march downwards a steep passage. Lady Gaga is currently close to becoming the Borg queen. And there’s a funeral where some reddish goo is supposed to be buried. Apparently a heart, I guess. Then Gaga watches some Nazi-BDSM-henchmen dance around. Just why? Then, she’s seen sometimes wearing some kind of leather BDSM nun costume with crosses on her bed. This is constantly intercut with herself being cuffed to a bed while wearing a bra and stockings and dancing on top of some random dude in briefs. She does look like a blonde version of Mireille Mathieu though. Which then results in Gaga wearing a machine gun bra. At this point, the only thing that comes into mind is: What the actual fuck? How do you do a logical jump from some random spanish latin lover to Nazi-BDSM-sex games? Just How?

8.) Judas

But it gets better. Gaga is sitting on the back of a motor cycle in a highly stilised motorcade scene where most of the colors are muted and only Gaga’s colors are predominant. She’s driving together with the head driver of this biker gang… which turn out to be the 12 Apostles. It’s probably the Jesus’s angels. Or the Banjesus. Something like that. Anyways, Gaga is actually driving with Jesus who turns out to be Ben from the short-lived TV series Reaper (Yeah, that’s a super deep cut from 2011. That show ran between 2007 and 2009 on The CW and I liked it quite a bit, anyways today, you can recognise Rick Gonzalez from Arrow where he’s Rene Ramirez a.k.a. Wild Dog). However, Ben-Jesus is pretty much a cuck, because Gaga is actually still in love with Judas who is played by none other than Norman Fucking Reedus! Fuck Yeah, Daryl! Technically speaking the song is straight forward, Gaga is together with the best man in the world, but she secretly loves that bad boy that keeps hanging around. You know, the usual story. You have to be an asshole. Well, apparently Jesus has become Gaga’s cuck as he probably cannot satisfy her anymore. Or something similar. But let’s leave the disco stick references in another song. Anyways, Gaga keeps dancing with a couple of different dance groups. She keeps dancing and gives Saint Peter a little pad on his back. Then the situation drastically worsens by the seconds when the entire group starts a fight. And Gaga keeps on dancing… until my favorite part of the track kicks in. Gaga is supposed to kill Daryl-Judas with a golden Desert Eagle. Because… Plot? Why the hell? The biblical parallels have already gone awry. Anyways, she aims the Desert Eagle, pulls the trigger… and some red lip stip comes out of the pistol and she starts putting lipstick in Norman Reedus’ face. WHY? But it gets weirder. Probably the weirdest scene of the entire video. Gaga is getting splashed by a large water wave, has a foot bath with Jesus and Judas in a bath tub and the entire wild mob has to be calmed down by Jesus. What follows then, is also unexplainable. Gaga takes the knee in front of Jesus, Judas empties an entire bottle of beer on Gagas ass, and Judas gives Jesus and Gaga the evil brotherly kiss of death curtosy to the Corleone family. And then Gaga gets stoned by the raging mob with the underlying assumption that she may have been Mary Magdalene. How. Do. You. Come. Up. With. This?

9.) Bad Romance

This masterpiece of weirdness about the Bathhaus of Gaga has to be very high on this list. So where shall we begin. We could begin with the Wi-Fi speakers by Phillippe Starck that appear relatively early in the video. Or the Nemiroff LEX vodka bottles. Or the Carrera sun glasses. I have no idea. Some kinde of resurrection, cloning, some kind of brainwashing with additional Nemiroff drinking. What the fuck is happening? At some point, it seems like Gaga has somehow managed to become the newest attraction in some kind of hyper-futuristic bordello that’s located in some kind of post-apocalyptic world and she has to dance in front of several strange pimps. Oh, and Gaga has some very large Manga-eyes for some reason. As if she was some kind of Alita – Battle Hoe (I think I have to watch  Battle Angel soon, I heard good things about it). Anyways, Gaga’s dancing the entire time and gets sold for a million P’s (whatever currency that is) to the highest bidder. Then she goes to bed with her bidder while wearing a friggin polar bear coat… and literally sets him on fire. In the end his burnt skull and the remaining bones lie in a fully burnt down bed… and Gaga’s lying next to the carcass smoking a cigarette. You have to see it to not believe it. What the actual fuck…

10.) Born this way

We have arrived Peak Gaga. „This is the manifesto of Mother Monster“. It’s the beginning for a two minute monologue about a strange fucked up Sci-Fi world. Something comes into the world that could be evil … and good as well. Some new race within humans. Some eternal mother in a multiverse. I have no fucking idea. It’s a wild collection of Technobabble that even Wesley Crusher cannot fully explain or comprehend. Then Gaga has some big gun in her hands and … finally starts dancing… but this time with some disturbing make up prosthetics that replace any roundish body parts by weird corners in the faces and shoulders. Well, let’s just say it doesn’t look very sexy. Even if she’s born this way. But that’s the message of the song. Even if you look different, you’re sexy in your own way. You’re born this way. But what the hell is happening in this video… I still have no idea about that.

Application

So. We have now created a fine looking Top 10 of all the weird Gaga videos. This shall be the reference to categorise any other music video.

Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory: 2

Yes, Gaga can still produce videos in the the „normal“ section of the scale (especially in the last couple of years, especially since Joanne and A Star is Born). In this video, Gaga is dancing alone in some random back alley. In the middle of the song she just gets disturbed by a saxophone solo by the late Clarence Clemons. And that’s it. For me this is basically on a Just Dance-level of weirdness on the Gaga scale. 

Scooter – Friends Turbo: 4

For some reason, Scooter appears in some kind of combat uniform in the middle of fucking Maaskantje, the capital of the New Kids idiots. Apparently, there’s so much going on in that town that Scooter has to appear in fighting gear. HP starts doing his shout-outs and then the unthinkable happens: he gets overrun by the car of one of the New Kids guys. Heiligeili. Well, the New Kids guy does the best he can do in this situation. A selfie with his famous victim while he’s lying in his own blood and slowly dying. Great content. Then some scenes from the movie New Kids Turbo are cut in, while HP is seen driving the same car that just overrun him or sprays sand out a kid’s sandbox with the rotating tires of a motor bike. It’s total nonsense.

But there’s still a question open: Is there an artist, that is able to reach Peak Gaga levels?

Katy Perry – E.T. : 9

This mostly forgotten song begins with Kanye West, who is flying in space while rapping double entendres and that he likes being called an alien or an astronaut that gets ass a lot. Well. That was before his MAGA era. In the meantime, some Roswell alien is drifting in space that somehow transforms to Katy in a wild Alien Queen make up. She keeps drifting in space until she lands on a planet… and finds some kind of robot that she quickly resurrects. And Kanye’s back trying to alien probe someone with some kinky alien sex. Then suddendly this robot turns into some kind of albino person (who kinda looks like a black dude that’s covered entirely with baby powder). Then Katy alien finds some remains and this whole wasteland seems to be a scorched earth after some apocalypse where pigeons have become extinct by 2030 and some sunglasses from Vogue in 2011 are put in a museum… Until we can see the lower body of Katy… and it looks like horse’s legs. WTF? SRSLY!

Pet Shop Boys – Heart: 6

This is a classic one. One of my absolute favorite music videos. Of all time. Ever. The premise of the video is as follows: Neil Tennant marries a late 80s super model, that’s probably a foot larger than him (sure!). Chris Lowe is his driver and both drive towards a Slovenian castle. Everyone’s happy when they arrive. Especially Gandalf… or Magneto… I mean Sir Ian McKellan… who’s running in the dungeons of the old castle quite happily as if he wasn’t Gandalf but rather Gollum. Oh. And Gandalf is actually a vampire. Who also falls in love with said super model. (suuuuuurrrreeeeee!) And she’s also actually two feet larger than him. In the end, Vampire-Gandalf dances with her and it’s actually pretty helpful that he’s only smaller than her: her neck is in perfect biting range at that height. For some reason, Chris becomes a total creep and browses through the entire underwear of the honeymoon couple. And he creepily watches Gandalf dance with her while he smiles constantly. In the end, Neil is remaining alone in the castle, while Vampire-Gandalf and his freshly turned super model vamp drive away in a horse carriage. Storywise this video has less of a story than Telephone, but this total ridiculous love triangle between Neil Tennant, Ian McKellan and a super model is so funny that you can place it in that range. And in a direct comparison, I prefer Gandalf to Beyonce. Which sounds strange. 

So let’s jump back to 2019 and get some contemporay examples

Mark Ronson – Nothing breaks like a heart (ft. Miley Cyrus)

The music video starts with a small child that plays with some rifle ammunition and we hear some police sirens in the background… Miley Cyrus is on the run. For some reason. This has caught the attention of the media and is being live broadcasted on Wolf News (That’s a great joke on Fox News actually). While Miley is driving on the highway with half a dozen police cars and helicopters following her, lots of her fans are standing on the sideways cheering her on. For some reason. Then she’s driving through a strip club. Back on the street she gets to the back seat and lets the car drive itself. After that she drives through several brick walls until she’s inside a firing range where the kid from the beginning is shooting at some targets in the back… and Mileys car. We even see one bullet doing Matrix-like bullet time in front of Mileys head. Then the car crashes in some other house next to a Yakuzi with two Gmilfs starting to kiss each other. At some point Mark Ronson appears, drives parallel to Mileys car and jumps through the window into the car. They continue on their drive… until the car takes off and does a deadly 180 spin, while Miley’s still sitting in the back (are those all parallel universes or what?)… In the end Miley stands in front of a car that’s standing on the back with the doors open… and it looks like a crucification with the car being a cross and Miley being some kind of Jesus figure? What? That one’s definitely an 8.

Sisqo – Thong Song

Well it starts with The Dragon being on the phone while his girl friend lies on the bed and his daughter appears… with a red thong in her hand… and he is going to have some problems explaining this. Well it’s just the beginning. Because it’s Sisqo Spring Break Time. You know time for finer things. Busses are coming to town from New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore. I think the San Francisco busses are still somewhat missing at that time, because if this music video would have been produced in 2019, the entire Kinda Funny crew would be walking out of that bus. And it would have been driven by Johnny Ace! OK, Sisqo’s driving to the beach and walks across a beach full of incredibly hot looking women. He’s so happy, he’s doing multiple backflips! Some guys are eating hot dogs while the rest of the women are playing beach volleyball. Fun and Games in Paradise. Super soakers are spraying water everywhere and after what felt like hours, some additional guys leave the bus from New York with some… let’s say smoke clears the bus as well. The background color of the entire scene kinda looks like turning more green and darkish throughout. Sisqo and his friends do a fun and sexy dance routine while it turns out that when their feet hit the floor in unison, this makes the exact same noise as if Thwomp crashes down in front of Mario in any Bowser castle. By the magic of green screen and digitally removable cable work, Sisqo jumps high in the air, does multiple backflips and forms a human triangle… that is standing on top of some other dudes arms. It’s like a human Combiner Transformer. And then for some reason the sun explodes with a big shockwave and every dances in neon colors… and through the power of chord change the intensity of the song even increases. This is humanity’s swan song being played by an entire orchestra… and everybody dances in neon colors. It’s like an end of the world party. At least I think this happens in the music video. I hope so. But with that superhero dance moves I would rank Thong Song in the Love Game category… i.e. a 5.

Psy – Gangnam Style.

Come On. It’s a 10. There’s no discussion here. You could argue when does it hit the 10. Is it Psy doing the dance routine inside a horse stable? Is it him dancing inside a bus with disco balls and a travel group in the background? That sudden explosion with some dudes jumping away from it like it was a bad Turkish action movie? For me it’s that weird elevator scene that somehow has burnt inside my brain when I think about that video. What is going on in Korea? What the hell? Oh… and he’s sitting on toilet in another scene at the end. There’s no argument here, ranking it lower than 10.

Ariana Grande – Side to side ft. Nicki Minaj

Cardio is good. Cardio is important. This video is obviously a celebration to one of the most boring tasks that you do in a gym. It’s clearly a celebration of the gym lifestyle… until Nicki Minaj appears and sings about a dick bicycle. Wait. What was that song about? WHAT? THE HELL? Apparently the entire song is about fucking. Fucking so much, that someone cannot walk normally the next day. Ahm. OK? Well the video has four major set pieces: The cardio bike, the changing rooms, the sauna and the showers. But video wise for the Lady Gaga scale it’s a 3 for me. 

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow

As a performance video, the video is a 1, maybe a 2 at best. But seeing Gaga without any makeup and with natural brown hair instantly puts this back in the 9-10 region. I haven’t seen Gaga before in such a … natural human form. Is this real life or is this just fantasy? I need some kind of pallet cleanser…

Lady Gaga – I want your love

It stars of with a pretty standard fashion show, with everyone dancing and having a good time. Until Gaga appears and changes her clothes a couple of times and walks down the catwalk the of times. The other models do the same as well. At some point, Gaga is basically naked and … yeah… nothing weird is happening… it’s a 2 for me. 

Nah… that’s a boring ending … I need a final kicker…

LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem

The music video starts with Redfoo and Sky Blu in a coma for 28 days after some partying. Well worse things have happened. But it turns out, the world has gone to the apocalypse in those 28 days. They leave the empty hospital and … nobody’s there and cars are abandoned on the street. It’s like Fucking Walking Dead everywhere. But there is some random dude with a turtles backpack… doing the shuffle. Then suddenly Redfoo and Sky Blu are being pulled down by some frightened guy that tells them about the potentially daily shuffle routine that has brought humanity down to its knees. The only way to keep away from that deadly routine are some costly beats in-ear-buds. The only way to survive now … is to blend in… and do the shuffle as well. Everybody’s shuffleing and everyone’s losing their mind as well. For example they see another non-shuffleing guy going to the street… until he gets surrounded by the shuffle zombies… and he becomes a shuffle zombie himself. It’s a fun twist on some old-fashioned zombie tropes. After a strong start the video basically becomes a shuffle dance contest and … we actually don’t get a resolution for that riveting story. Damn. The video does have the potential for a 8 or 9 but doesn’t continue with the weird story… so it’s just a 6 for me. 

Beastie Boys – Body Movin’

OK, a final one. This music has everything. Weird wigs. Ridiculous fighting scenes. A recipe for cheese fondue as a MacGuffin. Fight scenes. A severad head. A severed head that is put back on the body with some bandages. A guy getting thrown off a building with a catapult. A security officer that looks someone from the 17th century. A bird that brings down an entire plane. And everything in a ridiculous 60s theme that looks like an old episode of Batman. Or a James Bond movie. It’s so awesome in its rediculousness. That’s a perfect 10 for me.

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