Rah rah ah-ah-ah
Roma ro ma-ma
Ga ga ooh la la
Expect to hear that incantation a bunch this fall. Lady GaGa's new combination of Madonna music ingenuity and Bjork's critic dividing fashion is here. It must be said that GaGa has gone out of her way to express herself as a multi-dimensional creature: it's never JUST about the money, JUST about the stardom, or JUST about the sex--it's all about all of it at once for true euphoria. And it's all fashion.
As memorable as Madonna's proclamation that she is a Material Girl or Gwen Stefani that she is not a Hollaback Girl, GaGa has shouted out what will likely be associated with her for the rest of (non-PG newspaper writ) career: a free bitch.
There will probably be many an individual put off by such upfront and interpretable degradation, but GaGa does not deign to insult herself; it's not even reclamation; it's just clamation. Accept it and let's go.
A sweeping chorus, gorgeous background vocals (the "ohhhh"s outdo any "dah-doo-doo just dance" or "puh-puh-poker face") and electropopish music blend of epic win, "Bad Romance" has laid the groundwork for a completely new GaGa.
While I don't expect the Money Honey to go away (and who's to say it should), Bad Romance is beneath the surface, an accepting and affirming love song. "I want your horror, I was your disease" may get itchy activists concerned that GaGa is after twisted sexgames (and she is) but the general warmth and whole-heartedness of "Bad Romance" is palpable. She wants you--all of you, regardless of what you're bringing. She takes the long way around, but it's actually a pretty sweet sentiment.
Wrap that all together with a beyond fashion forward video that comes off as science fiction dance porn, and you've got GaGa making an indelible mark on music. If "Poker Face" was her "Lucky Star," GaGa's just made her "Material Girl" -- and it's fantastic that she's just getting started.
FYI: DJs are already spinning club mixes, including a lengthy but catchy Chew Fu mix and a less impressive Starsmith mix that features little of the charm of the original. If "Just Dance" and "Paparazzi" are any indication, they will be followed by a wealth of others.
Bad Romance Grade: A