Vice vs. Virtue: Judas – Lady GaGa

http://www.myvideo.de/movie/8122937
Lady Gaga — Judas – MyVideo

Lady GaGa visit Sweden at Sommarkrysset, Gröna...

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Here’s the recipe for success: take a bit of love and sex, mix with religion and sin, add a little bit of a “message”, stir well and promote with a dashing and dicey video – there you go – here comes Lady GaGa’s new hit “Judas” from her new album “Born This Way” (you can read the lyrics here)– she can be sure to have the world’s attention!

The song has provoked some harsh criticism by church groups in the US, but Lady GaGa presents herself as a philosopher: The song “Judas” is …“ about constantly walking towards the light in my life, but always clutching onto the light while peering towards the devil in the back.“

So I think it’s well worth having a look. In this song Lady Gaga sings about Mary Magdalene’s love for Judas and Jesus: „I’m in love with Juda-as, Juda-as… When he comes to me, I am ready, I wash his feet with my hair if he needs.

The bible tells us the story of a woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. In this song, it’s Mary Magdalene who offers this act of love to Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus in the end. She knows what type of person Judas is, he certainly belongs to the side of evil and treason. Nevertheless, she feels hopelessly attracted to him: „Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain – even after three times he betrays me.“

She is torn between Jesus, whom she also loves, and Judas, promising to take revenge: “I’ll bring him down, bring him down, downa king with no crown, king with no crown.”

She knows that love can not only rescue but also destroy a person’s life: “I’ve learned love is like a brick, you can build a house or sink a dead body. “

However, there is something that is more powerful than sin and damnation – forgiveness: „Even prophets forgave his crooked way“ – so there might be salvation for her, the „fame hooker, prostitute, wench“, too.

She is really torn between the two men: „I wanna love you, but somethin’s pulling me away from you. Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to.”

But it’s not only about Mary’s story – this is everyone’s story, as Lady GaGa emphasizes:  “So the song is about washing the feet of both good and evil and understanding and forgiving the demons from your past in order to move into the greatness of your future… I keep going back and forth between the darkness and the light in order to understand who I am.”

I like this way of picturing human nature much more than the certainty with which some people seem to know what is good and what is evil.

As Lady GaGa points out: “If you have no shadows then you’re not standing in the light.” She is so right!

The official video has certainly bothered some sensitive religious people. Jesus and his disciples a band of bikers,  Mary’s bath in a beer-whirlpool with Jesus and Judas, well, that is  provocative and very GaGa-like, isn’t it?  ;-)… “and it’s really fun to dance to.” (GaGa).

At the end Mary Magdalene, all dressed in innocent white, is lying on the floor, stoned to death. Is Lady GaGa anticipating the reactions to this video?  Or has she decided to walk the road of virtue and does this always lead to death? GaGa as a martyr? Hmmm…

Still, there is the constant task in everyone’s life to balance the Fool and the Holy within us – thanks, Lady GaGa, for reminding us of this! 😉

(all quotes according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_(song))

Do Lyrics Matter?

That’s what I have been asking myself since I started writing this blog. Does anyone care about lyrics? Well, obviously I do. For me, they make all the difference.

Of course, the first thing that strikes when listening to a song is the melody, the tune, the instruments, the rhythm. The singer’s voice might also catch your attention. You either like all these in a song or you don’t. There is such thing as “love at first sight” – or better: “at first hearing”, don’t you think so?

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If you just want to dance the night away, you won’t pay much attention to the text. There might be a chorus that is easy to understand and remember so that everyone can sing along – that certainly adds to the fun. Looking at the songs I have dealt with in this blog, “In my head” by Jason Derulo and “Bad Romance” by Lady GaGa as well as  30 Seconds To Mars’ “Closer To The Edge” and “We Are  The People” by Empire Of The Sun would possibly belong to this category. I guess not many people, especially in non-English-speaking countries, do understand the lyrics at all. Still, these songs are highly popular, for example in Germany.

Other songs which might be considered as ballads, with a slower rhythm, a calm melody, attach much more importance  to the lyrics. They have a message they want to get across – like John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning”. Others tell little stories: “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette, Eminem’s “Stan” or Jay Brannan’s “Housewife”.

There are songs that can be seen as poems set to music–like Hey Rosetta’S “Red Song”, they are not really easy to understand and leave a lot to the interpreter’s imagination.

Of course, if you are in love, you’ll like to listen to love songs, if you have been disappointed, “Grenade” might be the song for you. So sometimes it’s all about the lyrics, isn’t it?

To my surprise I have found rather poetic verses in very popular charts-songs, like “Closer To The Edge”  and “We Are The People”. Maybe they are not meant to “mean” anything and just sound poetic, but then again: you could say the same thing about some modern poems which are sometimes really hard to “understand”.

And even songs such as “Bad Romance or “In My Head” deliver a message, take up a certain attitude, morale, idea. This is what I try to discover and analyze in my blog. As long as a song has lyrics, it conveys an idea, and be it only unconsciously. We should be aware of that.

That’s why lyrics DO matter, in my opinion.

I’d love to hear your opinion – please feel free to comment and discuss.

Do you listen to the lyrics of a song? Do you care? Do you try to understand them?

Let me know about your favourite song – I might have a closer look at it in this blog some day!

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

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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!