Listen, I’ve got no beef with Lady Gaga. I’m not attacking anyone’s right to like her or her music. I think a bunch of her songs are catchy, and I’m sure they make people go crazy in dance clubs. All of that’s awesome for her. Everyone gets excited about them and anticipates the next one and within seconds of their release there are hundreds of new uploads on YouTube claiming to be “the official” video, so there’s clearly a market out there and a dedicated fan base. (I challenge you to go to You Tube and find the actual video–not a fan-made parody or a commentary on the video–within three tries.) Despite the fact that so many fans of hers praise her creativity and imagination and style and all that, the truth (as I see it) is that her videos are rather formulaic.
How to Make a Lady Gaga video in 15 easy steps:
- Start by watching a bunch of Madonna video and steal what you see. For the Alejandro video, for instance, make sure you watch Madonna’s videos for “Erotica,” “Express Yourself,” “Justify My Love,” “Human Nature,” “Like a Prayer,” and of course, “Vogue.” In fact, put “Vogue” on repeat and watch that 20 or so times in a row. (Hint: If anyone accuses you of trying to rip her off, tell them it’s an homage.)
- Go black and white or rely on silhouettes when possible; the shadowy looks hide your flaws.
- Have lots of shots of you in underwear.
- Have lots of other people in their underwear, especially men with hairless chests.
- Never underestimate the value of latex suits.
- Go steampunk or future-tech.
- Have a gang of semi-threatening men rough you up a little, but then dominate them later.
- Insert some meaningless religious imagery, e.g. wear a red leather nun’s costume.
- Ways to distract attention away from your large, rather unfortunate nose: (1) wear big goofy sunglasses, (2) wear big goofy wigs or hats, (3) cover your face in masks, (4) use extreme eye make up, (5) have videographers use MySpace angles, and (6) if you absolutely must have a shot of your face without any of these things, either keep the clip very short or make sure your hands are moving around your face in a distracting manner.
- Try to include scenes of bondage, S&M, psuedo-gang rape, and/or hot gay action.
- Play around with gender roles, but in a limited way. (You know, have guys wearing fishnets and girls wearing suits, that kind of thing.)
- Get psuedo-political by making vague allusions to Nazis that don’t really mean anything, without admitting you just really like the costumes.
- Keep the music repetitive: this is best done by treating verses as choruses and separating them with other choruses.
- Put lots of technical effects on your voice.
- Try to appeal to audiences of gay men and young women who mistake sexuality for empowerment.
And, please, before you tell me I’m wrong, watch a few of her videos and see how frequently these things appear.