Gaga’s ‘G.U.Y’ Video Trades Substance For Spectacle

Smiley face

Lady Gaga’s new video “G.U.Y.” is a lot like the artist herself. There’s a lot of spectacle, a lot of glitter-along with some confusion with what it all might mean. Confusion isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it’s an engaging type of confusion. Gaga’s “G.U.Y.” is surely engaging to some, but alienating to most.

“G.U.Y” effectively runs for seven minutes-that is, if you don’t count the five additional minutes tacked on for the credits-which should give you an idea of the video’s sheer spectacle. The video, directed by Gaga herself, has a welcoming, auspicious beginning, but then gives in to the conventions of a pop/dance video.

The first half of the video can be considered “engaging confusion.” Sure, Gaga’s crash-landed bird-woman is seemingly a rip off Kanye West’s “Runaway” bird-woman, but Gaga fills the frame with an earnest, seldom overbearing enthusiasm. She includes crucifixion and baptismal imagery that’s easily spotted but not right in your face. The stop and start quality of her music in the first half matches her uneven visual pacing. The first half isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but it’s stimulating.

Gaga’s second half (the half that actually plays the track “G.U.Y.”) is also not necessarily enjoyable and  is anything but stimulating. Here, she swaps her bird form for full Gaga. She’s always enjoyed surrounding herself with throbbing, shirtless males, and in “G.U.Y.” she doesn’t disappoint. The second half is essentially Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with the genders flipped and the dancers clothed. To her credit, Gaga can stage and execute a dance sequence-but after the ambitious beginning, it’s not exactly where we wanted it to go. Maybe there’s more in store for the aforementioned bird-lady, but most of us are still wondering where the heck she went.


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Ryan Dowd was the Arts & Review Editor. He's amassed 16,323 (at last count) unread emails. He'll work on it tomorrow. Follow him on Twitter @RPD_1993.