Eight and a half minutes after clicking into the video, you will believe that some teasers, especially ones created by Lady Gaga and fashion photographer Steve Klein, remain the mysterious smoke and mirrors that teasers are born to be. The teaser, just launched not too long ago seems to hint at a slightly more conservative while still avant-garde rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” from her album, the Fame Monster. Why? Because in the teaser, everyone is fully clothed and Lady Gaga was wearing pants. If there is a fashion equivalent, it would be like Raf Simons, Damir Doma or Kris Van Assche– provocative, but nothing offensively controversial. Then, the full length official video with choreography by Laurieann Gibson, completely negates expectations one would have derived from the teaser. Think no one is dying this time as opposed to her previous video, “Telephone Ft. Beyonce” or “Paparazzi”? The video opens with death and continues to bring out images both political and religious to challenge the audience’s thoughts and perceptions.
While the video itself seems more like a mash-up of images that defies traditional narrative trajectory, portraying Lady Gaga as a latex donning nun, an agent provocateur, mourning Gothic lover, an omniscient Abe Sapien, and a war Madonna spotting a conical bra upgraded with big guns, flanked with boys at times naked, at times dressed like Gestapos. Unlike most music videos which are easy on the mind, the collage of images that are at times disturbing, and at times reminiscent of something controversial and disturbing, constantly probes the audience to wonder and question, “Why?”. Especially, “Why is the tawdry latex nun relevant to Alejandro?”.
Under Steve Klein’s direction, the “Alejandro” world is fictional yet every bit real with puzzles we can connect to real life– flimsy rusted single beds that could have been lifted straight from a detention facility, the crucifix looming over a cemetery…are just little snippets that are visually cohesive with the choreography but quite unintelligible to common sense.
Perhaps, like Lady Gaga once said about her music, this video is not meant to point at something deeper, it doesn’t have intrinsic meaning that aims to resolve philosophical mysteries of life. But, it will evoke strong emotions and draw the audience into an alternate state of mind or universe. So, maybe the best way to watch this video, is to just ride along with Lady Gaga. As for the rest of her videos to come…from now on, one will learn to only expect the outrageous from Lady Gaga despite her teasers. Enjoy!