No Happy Ending: Bad Romance – Lady GaGa

These days there is no way around Lady GaGa. Her song “Bad Romance” was titled “best song of the year” at the 2010 MTV Music Awards. Whenever I listen to the song on the radio I cannot help singing and dancing along, it is such an earworm, has such a catchy tune. I know it’s not so much about the lyrics but more the tune, the rhythm, the whole concept of the artwork “Lady GaGa”. Her videos, her costumes, her performances, everything is so professional. She really seems to know what the audiences are waiting for. I admire her for that talent and intuition.

But, then again, the song has got its lyrics. Not as if I would understand everything: I couldn’t find „Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-Roma-ma-ah!” in any dictionary, but I guess that doesn’t matter…

The song seems to be about a relationship- a “bad romance”. There are indeed some passages that sound romantic in a conventional sense: “I want your love, I want your drama, the touch of your hand. I want your leather studded kiss in the sand.” But these same words already imply the darker side of this romance. It’s all about vengeance and violence: “All your love is revenge, you and me could write a bad romance.” The lover is not being depicted as the classical romantic type: „I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your horror, I want your design ‘cause you’re a criminal as long as you’re mine.” He is a bad boy, threatening, ugly and seems to be suffering from an illness. She wants him nevertheless, or maybe that is why she wants him. “I want your love and I want your revenge. I want your love I don’t wanna be friends.” She is not looking for friendship or romantic love. She wants lust, subordination – this is her way of exerting power. This is shown very drastically in the official video for the song. She is victim and culprit at the same time. Hitchcock’s films are quoted in the video scenes and in the lyrics:  „I want your psycho, your vertical stick, want you in my rear window…“ At the end a burned skeleton is lying in


bed next to her. There is no happy ending in a bad romance.

Despite these hard and at times shocking words and scenes the song was very successful. Maybe that is WHY it was so successful? There are so many songs about love – songs which are sometimes boring and one-sided – just the other way round. As if love was just sunshine and fun. As if there was only real and true love to be experienced.  Many would be able to tell a different story. Even when the facade looks all ok, tragedies might be happening behind closed doors. I dare say: there is a bit of “bad romance” in all of us, a fascination with the bad, the dark and the inexplicable. I have heard that most violent crimes are being committed by people related or at least known to the victims, not by complete strangers. There is more bad romance in our daily lives than we want to believe.

Maybe that had to be said – or sung. Maybe that is psychologically healthy. Thanks, Lady GaGa!