Lady GaGa goes dark in the stunning ‘Alejandro’ video

It’s finally here! It seems that with every Lady GaGa video from now on, there’s going to be huge anticipation to see what the crazy yet talented singer will pull out with her next clip, Alejandro being released a few hours ago (incidentally the same date as Christina Aguilera’s Bionic – that should start a nice cyber war now 🙂 )!

Alejandro might sound like a Summery yet light hearted ode to unrequited love but of course GaGa twists it all on it’s head and does the complete opposite. Alejandro is probably her most foreboding, ice cold video yet – at 8.45 minutes, it sees GaGa use the video as a way of showing the Catholic Church’s  intolerance towards gay people as well as the army’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell policy” in relation to homosexuals in military. This video concept fits in lyrically with the song as Lady GaGa expresses her love for gay men but “can’t be with (them) anymore” because of their sexuality which they try and cover up by having orgies with GaGa. Screw my description! Read BBC Chart Blog’s (see Comment 630) regular commenter OddOne’s detailed analysis of what the Alejandro video is all about, for those scratching your heads.

Righto, I’m going to explain this video to everyone that’s either disgusted by this, indifferent, or simply fails to understand it.

BEWARE: LONG POST.

The soldiers in this video are meant to represent the gay, trans-gendered and bisexual men in this society that are ‘expected’ to be aggressive and fully masculine men. Them marching around in synchronized form represents the role that they’re expected to play in society – Always marching in a tight pattern, never meant to branch off from that gender role. However, as the video progresses, you see GaGa in and out of scenes, wearing these religious outfits. Those outfits are symbols for the intense religious Christian-Catholic backlash that the LGBT community experiences from religious zealots and how they say that “gays are going to hell”; “you need Jesus”; “being gay is a sin”, etc.

GaGa is not meant to be the focus of this video. GaGa is simply a symbol for how conflicting religion becomes when a gay man has to emotionally deal with accepting that he’s gay when his religion tells him that it’s a sin. GaGa is a modern symbol of the virgin Mary – a cold, religiously bound woman who cares about serving and satisfying Christ. That’s very blatant and evident in what she wears, the crosses in the background, her swallowing rosemary beads, and so on. As the video carries on, you GaGa being molested by many a man in a scene with various beds. These men are gay and this is why when the video ends, GaGa is praying, looking up to Heaven, and holding the rosary – she knows she’s going to hell because the bible condemns homosexuality and unfaithfulness – both of which she exercised in the course of the video, then we see her rot at the end of the video (presumably Satan coming to claim her).

Those beds are metaphors for what gay men experience when they’re trying to fight their homosexual thoughts from their fantasies when trying to sleep at night. During the day, society pressures them to act a certain way, to truly be the biased aggressive man. But as soon as they’re alone, even if they still ‘look’ manly and assertive, their feminine aspect of their sexuality comes to the forefront and they express their fantasies in the dead of night. Also stands for the millions of gays, transgendered and cross dressers that can only show their *true* selves at night when greater society isn’t watching. These few scenes are increasingly sexual in order to show the massive, heated underlying sexual conflict that gay men experience within themselves. It’s restless, monsterous and almost unbearable because society tells them that they shouldn’t express their feelings towards other men.

“Alejandro” is a metaphor for society’s gender role of the aggressive man that society yearns for.
The Nazi costumes are symbols that we are so bound to fulfill gender roles assigned by society to the point where we are psychologically placed into internment camps. Meaning that we’re forced to act a certain way in fear of being shunned, abandoned, alienated or ridiculed for our sexuality, especially because the Bible condemns it. When gay men get mixed up into that, they portray the Nazis in this video or simply ‘strong military men’ to once again show the roles that they’re expected to play by culture’s eyes to avoid discrimintation.

GaGa is a symbol of how mainstream Christianity and Catholicism religions see the LGBT community. The funeral scene represents the Catholics ‘killing’ men who go against what the Catholic religion teaches, which is why GaGa, as a bisexual woman herself, leads to procession in mourning. She is carrying presumably the nailed heart of (presumably) the man in the coffin to represent the treatment of gays: the Catholics would burn their lovers with in turn would be like nailing the remaining lovers’ heart, GaGa depicts here.

The continuous emphasis on showing one man as ‘Alejandro’ with a scene of a riot playing behind him represents how, despite his throbbing sexuality – he must fulfill his role as a ‘man’ by staying silent as he listens to riots break because if he were to speak out, a huge number of people would discriminate him.

There’s a lot to be learnt from this video, like how many flaws the Catholiuc religion actually has (it’s not okay to be gay [Leviticus] yet when it says you can’t eat meat on the Sabbath [Genesis], it’s okay to ignore that rule), and indeed how hard it must be for gay men to be confident about their sexuality, especially in a society like ours.

But yes one point I can see coming up is “but it has nothing to do with the song…” Well, yes, you’re right but also wrong – the song is about Lady GaGa’s “Fear of Sex Monster”, and so in the song she is proclaiming she wants to love this man but knows she can’t – “Don’t call my name… I’m not your babe”, because he is gay and it’s against her religion (as the Virgin Mary).

EDIT: OddOne has more to say about the multi-layered video.

BEWARE AGAIN: LONGER THAN LAST INTERPRETATION (the first part is just explaining the symbols used. Then it develops into explaning the video again… Sorry… Couldn’t help myself).

The soldier holding the gold gun to his groin, tied up with string:

This is to symbolise that despite being a soldier (probably the most masculine occupation in the world) the man who was borne of Adam’s loins is still the image of God, as Adam was 2000 years ago. But even so, he is yielding this gun: he has the power to ‘be God’ by having the ability to take life with the gun, but he is tied up with string. A large nod toward the fact that Catholics can sometimes just end up as God’s ‘puppet’s.

Lady GaGa swallowing the rosary beads:

Steven Klein has defended this by saying it’s her “desire to take in the Holy”. GaGa probably does this because she is trying to cleanse herself after being unfaithful and homosexual, which is condemned by the Bible so ultimately, she is seeking forgiveness.

The bowl haircuts:

These haircuts were chosen because of their unisexuality. Both men and women ‘work’ this style which is why wee see GaGa with very-short bob and the men with bowl/mullet cut – so the gender roles swapping throughout the video are supported with the unisexuality.

The inverted crucifix around GaGa’s crotch on her cream habit:

An inverted crucifix is a sign of an atheist, or someone who believes they are not worthy of the Lord’s respect (hence why St. John I think, asked to be crucified upside down). By placing it on her crotch, GaGa is implying she is caught between her religious boundaries and her sexual desires. Whilst you could also argue it’s to do with her chastity as a nun.

BIG JUICY BIT: The gradual switching of male and female roles within the video:

At the start, we see a soldier in a Cabaret bar in fish-nets and stilettos. This is an indication of what is to come, would you not agree?

But when the ‘real’ video starts, the men are marching, imitating the marching style of the Nazi Party, – probably a big one-fingered salute to the fact the Nazis condemned homosexuality as well – this shows the men at their most masculine (as I mentioned before, they are soldiers; it is seen as a very masculine occupation which also discriminates homosexuality) and we then see GaGa playing the role of a forlorn woman leading a funeral procession. Female playing female, male playing male.

Later on, we see the roles switch slightly – God would see the men as patrons of himself and woman as a lesser being which is why it is peculiar to see a sexually dominant woman in the scene with the three beds. GaGa is dominating the sex that is depicted by the Bible as the greater sex (which is why at the time of the Lord only men became educated; became priests, scholars, astronomers etc.) this is a seriously mis-understood scene – people just see it as GaGa being a bit promiscuous with three gay men, but as you can see now, it’s much more than that, and a hint that nowadays we live in a society where women can be dominant over males: which goes against the Bible’s teachings; the Bible also discriminates homosexuality, so why do people in today’s society believe a woman can be dominant over a man yet same-sex couples are “going to Hell”?

Continuing with this theme: throughout the video gender becomes erroneous and subsidiary, and sports the theory that we are defined by our soul, not by our body.

Once the video becomes black and white, a sequence where GaGa sports a suit, the men come marching out with dignity in every stride like the beginning, but this time with a feminine flair, as if they were on a cat-walk. Know the scene? Well this is where the gender roles really get mixed up, because GaGa is wearing the suit, and the men are modelling the designer clothes – this is mirroring the swapped gender roles in today’s society and how men are no longer bound to do ‘manly’ things and vice versa. And in that light, it comically exploits the fact that military groups discrimination homosexuals, and were even targeted and killed by Nazis. It’s this play on gender and sexuality that makes ‘Alejandro’ a social message to the masses.

After that scene, a dance sequence follows with the now very feminine ‘soldiers’ with GaGa centre-stage. Many a GaGa hater will see the gun-bra as a healthy nod towards Madonna’s con bra from the 80’s. But it’s now clear that she is not just dominating these men sexually and religiously, she is now dominating them militarily by closing off her woman-hood with air-rifle shafts.

And now, for something a little different… it seems that all this is good and proper and gets the message across after HOURS and HOURS of observing the symbols but GaGa, being GaGa, has to put her own spin on it, which she does. Very, VERY cleverly.

After watching the video a good 50 times, you can see GaGa and Klein set up multiple characters in the video, each one with an important purpose: the Tyrant, the Widow, the Nun, the Rebel, and finally, and most importantly: the Human Being.

The Tyrant represents government, politics, and modern society. The widow is a tragic, mourning woman, perhaps a simple glance to the realities of war. However, it’s through the other four characters does her story and the real meaning of the video come to the foreground.

The Nun is a quintessential figure of maternity, she sacrifices her womb and God-given ability to give birth for a devout religious following of the Lord. She is shown praying and then symbolically swallowing a rosary. While this can be interpreted many ways, I think we can all agree that it’s really quite simple: she is swallowing religion; her beliefs, and what she was raised to be in order to liberate herself from the depths of Satan and the temptations he presents to her in the form of lust. By swallowing the rosary it is not blasphemous in any way, she is just accepting her religion back into her body; cleansing it or purifying it if you like.

There is a sequence within the video that I first thought was completely pointless and would probably end up being edited out for TV viewing. You can definitely quote me now that although the musicality leaves a lot to be desires, the clip is actually integral to the video’s plot.

She repeats the chorus “Alejandro, Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro” over and over again in a near hypnotic way and is seen wearing a leather jacket. As you can imagine, this is the Rebel. This repetitive chant of “Alejandro” is quite simply, a call to arms. Showing clips of revolt and terror in the background enforces her message that as a society we must fight for change; we must all fight for equality of cultures, orientation, etc. because even though it may seem as if homosexuals are more accpeted than they were in the days of Jesus, there’s still a large majority within the world with relatively archaic points of view.

Which leaves us finally with GaGa as a Human Being. In this look, she is androgynous. She is neither male nor female. Her message of equality has changed and developed into simply existing harmoniously and indifferently, as a message that we should all do the same.

Deep stuff.

I think OddOne should have his own blog! 😀

So it the video any good? You bet it is! In fact, I think it’s the best video of her career so far, even surpassing the near flawless Bad Romance video. Alejandro is my second least favourite track on The Fame Monster (my worst being So Happy I Could Die) so the video has really heightened my enjoyment of the song.  Even though, the clip is yet another  mini movie, the song’s flow isn’t interrupted by head scratching dialogue like the Telephone video. Instead we get an ominous yet stylistic intro and the extension of the middle-eight. The cinematography, at the hands of renowned fashion photographer and music video director Steven Klein, is absolutely stunning, dark, icy and cinematic. GaGa’s choreography is also really up to scratch and it’s amazing to see how far the Lady has come since her Just Dance days when she was just like every other popstar on the block.

However, the Alejandro video is not without its flaws. Perhaps Lady GaGa is raising the bar to high, with every video she releases, it becomes more and more of a talking point, more and more of an event. I wouldn’t mind her doing an average enough pop video. She’s touring ’til April 2011, surely there’ll be a time where she just won’t have the energy to a huge video as she continues to promote her music career. That’s a very small criticism though as I appreciate her hard work and will to keep her fans happy.

More major is GaGa’s looks, while she dons a Madonna-esque look (and their elements of Like A Prayer and Vogue), GaGa is just far too skinny. I initially did fancy her when she toned down the costumes a bit but she actually looks rather hideous to me at this present time. Get some burgers in you, Germanotta.

Also – controversy. Naturally she loves it – but do you really have to bring sex into every video while also basically shunning your Catholic upbring. I appreciate the message she’s trying to convey and by no means am I defending some of the hypocritical or intolerant behaviour of the Church (and other organised religions) – but it’ all a bit Madonna isn’t it? A bit too much like her.

Anyways despite its flaws, GaGa is a breath of fresh air in the music industry today and will probably rival Michael Jackson and Madonna in 30 years time! If she lives that long? Anyone else think the Lady’s gone a bit twisted and wants to become iconic like the classic stars of yesteryear she worships, such as Marylin Monroe, and die tragically early? Sorry random musing.

Check out the Alejandro clip below. The single is available for download Worldwide now. What do you think? I think opinion’s going to be very hit-and-miss!

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