ALEJANDRO by LADY GAGA
This is a track from Lady Gaga's EP, The Fame Monster. In this song Gaga fends off three Mexican lovers. Latin lovers often crop on records - other tracks featuring them include Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" and ABBA's "Fernando."
The video courts religious controversy in a Madonna-ish way by showing Gaga dressed in a red latex nun outfit eating a rosary. It also intermingles other Catholic imagery with provocative shots of a same-sex orgy. Not only Catholic groups objected - Katy Perry tweeted: "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke."
Klein defended the use of religious imagery and symbolism in an email to MTV News: "The religious symbolism is not meant to denote anything negative, but represents the character's battle between the dark forces of this world and the spiritual salvation of the Soul," he wrote. "Thus at the end of the film, she chooses to be a nun, and the reason her mouth and eyes disappear is because she is withdrawing her senses from the world of evil and going inward towards prayer and contemplation."
He added that the scene in which Gaga eats the rosary beads is meant to represent "the desire to take in the holy."
Every track on The Fame Monster represents a "fear" of some "monster." GaGa has said this song was influenced by her "fear of sex" monster.
The song's music video was directed by the photographer Steven Klein. Gaga discussed with The London Times May 22, 2010 it's concept. She explained it is about the "purity of my friendships with my gay friends, and how I've been unable to find that with a straight man in my life. It's a celebration and an admiration of gay love - it confesses my envy of the courage and bravery they require to be together. In the video I'm pining for the love of my gay friends - but they just don't want me."
The song opens with a weeping violin, which incorporates the melody from "Csárdás" by Italian composer Vittorio Monti (1868-1922). "Csárdás" was composed in 1904 and Monti based the violin show-piece on a Hungarian folk dance.
Director Steven Klein said of his collaboration with Gaga on the music video to Rolling Stone: "She likes epics. It fits her personality. We combined dance, narrative and attributes of surrealism. The process was to express Lady Gaga's desire to reveal her heart and bear her soul."
Klein had never directed a proper music video before. However, after seeing Gaga perform live, he felt inspired. "I went to see her show in NYC, and it felt like performance art in the '90s. And I had not seen anything like that in a while," Klein told MTV News. "Lady Gaga approached me about doing this particular song, and in the past, I have passed on such offers, but this time I felt [a] narrative drive you could make interesting, and we both aligned on the vision for the film."
He added: "I had a vision and story for the film, she reacted to it, then we both collaborated ... We shot in Los Angeles on April 30, 2010. My schedule and hers are both complicated, so it took a lot to get the days that we both could work together."
Klein went on to explain the clip: "I was not thinking in terms [of influences.] I saw it more as a combination of cinema and theater," he said. "[It is] about a woman's desire to resurrect a dead love and who can not face the brutality of her present situation. The pain of living without your true love."
TEETH by LADY GAGA
This sexual romp is a bouncy marching song full of horns, looped samples, cossack-like music and call-and-response vocals. It finds Gaga singing of a S&M desire for being tied up and bitten. The tune was produced by Teddy Riley, who was an architect of the late 1980s and early '90s New Jack Swing sound and was responsible for hits by Bobby Brown, Guy, and Keith Sweat. He went on to work with many leading names in the music industry including Boyz II Men, Snoop Dogg and the late Michael Jackson.
Riley's daughter Taja Riley was credited with co-writing the song. However, her father sued her in 2013 for copyright infringement and fraud claiming that she didn't co-pen the tune. The New Jack Swing pioneer said that she lied about the songwriting credit and should not have received a publishing deal from EMI Music.
Teddy Riley also filed suit against Lady Gaga later in the same year, claiming he was promised 25% of writing fees, but has received nothing.
LOVEGAME by LADY GAGA
Moroccan/Swedish producer RedOne (born Nadir Khayat) helmed and co-wrote this track. He also produced Lady Gaga's first two hits "Just Dance" and "Poker Face."
Lady Gaga explained to MTV News that the song's promo, "is a genuine New York lifestyle video." She added: "It's got that feeling of 'gay, black New York,' of inclusion and glamour. I wanted to really bring forth the girl that I was four years ago, and I wanted to put it in the setting of the underground subway. I worked with [video director] Joseph Kahn, and he did an amazing job. He didn't just capture the fashion; he captured the artist."
It was feared that the song's raunchy lyrical content would be too rude to earn Lady Gaga her third consecutive UK #1. As a consequence "Paparazzi" was released as the singer's third single in the UK instead. A source told The Sun newspaper: "For your first two UK singles to go to #1 is amazing and we would like to try and carry that on."
When this went to #1 on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart, Lady Gaga became only the third artist and first American in the history of that tally to collect three #1 songs from a debut album. Just Dance and Poker Face were the two The Fame cuts that preceded this one to the top. The two other acts to achieve this feat were Swedish pop group Ace Of Base, who reigned consecutively in 1993-94 on Mainstream Top 40 with three tracks from their debut LP The Sign, and Canadian artist Avril Lavigne, who repeated the feat in 2002-03 with a trio of tracks from her debut release Let Go.
JUDAS by LADY GAGA
This club-banger is the second single from Lady Gaga's sophomore album, Born This Way. After it leaked onto the Internet on April 15, 2011, the singer immediately released the song to iTunes, four days before the planned release date.
The song is about falling in love with a backstabbing guy and was inspired by Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ. It's not the first time Gaga has written about falling for the wrong man. She previously sung of being attracted to someone who's not good for her in "LoveGame" and "Bad Romance."
Fernando Garibay, who co-produced many of the tracks on Born This Way, told MTV News about the tune: "Judas is produced by RedOne and Gaga, obviously, and it's a statement about, again I can't speak for her, but what I gather is it's about sometimes not choosing the right choice. But you can't deny that the choice is not a part of you and who you are."
Despite the dark lyrics, the song is aimed at clubbers. Said Garibay to MTV News: "'Judas' is a dance song, definitely. I think 'Judas' in the traditional RedOne/Gaga vein. It's great because it's a serious message, it's a little playful, but still serious, but still somehow you wind up dancing to it. That's what's great about her music. You know, like, my favorite songs of all time, dance songs, 'Billie Jean,' is a story you wouldn't think of singing but then you wind up dancing and singing the lyrics. I think that's the holy grail of music for me, which is dance."
In an interview posted on YouTube called "Musicians@Google Presents: Google Goes Gaga," the Poker Face singer explained that "Judas" talks about confronting one's demons. "You have to look into what is haunting you and you need to look into forgiving yourself in order to move on," she said. "And it's really fun to dance to and sounds like it could be a pop priest record."
Gaga plays Mary Magdalene in the song's music video, whilst model-turned-actor Norman Reedus is Judas Iscariot. Gaga and her creative director Laurieann Gibson co-directed the clip after the initial collaborator had to drop out. She told MTV News: "When we got to 'Judas,' it was very clear to me and the inspiration was very clear to her. We approached a director, but then the dates actually got messed up and it was conflicted and her manager and her looked at me [and asked me to direct it with her]."
Prior to its release, the Catholic League condemned Gaga for the video's alleged use of religious imagery and also condemned the singer for seemingly purposefully debuting the song and video close to Holy Week and Easter. Gibson addressed the controversial Christian elements behind the project telling the The Hollywood Reporter she was initially fearful of the direction the visual was going. "It went through several changes and late-night debates because at one point, there were two completely different views and I was like, 'Listen, I don't want lightning to strike me! I believe in the gospel and I'm not going there.'"
According to Gibson, the video's original concept was reigned in an attempt to avoid causing offense. "It was amazing because to have that conversation about salvation, peace and the search for the truth in a room of non-believers and believers, to me, that was saying God is active in a big way," Gibson said. "And the place that it came to is surreal. We don't touch on things that we have no right touching upon, but the inspiration and the soul and idea that out of your oppression, your darkness, your Judas, you can come into the marvelous light. So it's about the inspiration and to never give up… We've created a new Jerusalem. I will tell you now, first off, I'm Christian, and my career is evidence of God in my life."
Gaga discussed this song in one of a succession of "Gagavision" videos leading up to the release of Born This Way. "I wrote it really quick," she said. "I mean, all of the songs on the album, to be completely candid, the creative process is approximately [a] 15-minutes process. It's 15 minutes of vomiting my creative ideas in the forms of melodies, usually, or chord progressions and melodies and some sort of a theme, lyric idea. And then I spend days, weeks, months, years fine tuning. But the idea is, you honor your vomit."
In the final seconds of the video, there is a spoken word sequence about Gaga being "beyond repentance." She explained to NME: "People say I am trashy or pretentious or this and that. This is my way of saying, 'I've already crossed the line. I won't even try to repent.' Nor should I."
Gaga told MSN Canada she didn't intend the song to be a direct interpretation of the New Testament account of Jesus' fallen disciple. "Well, I wouldn't necessarily say that my schooling [in Catholic school] informed the songwriting on that record in particular. 'Judas' is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal and things that haunt you in your life, and how I believe that it's the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you," she said.
"Someone once said to me, 'If you have no shadows then you're not standing in the light.' 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," she continued. "I just like really aggressive metaphors — harder, thicker, darker — and my fans do as well. So it is a very challenging and aggressive metaphor, but it is a metaphor."
The video is a Fellini-esque story depicting Judas and the other disciples as bikers in a modern-day Jerusalem. Gaga as Magdalene warns Jesus about his apostle's impending betrayal, but becomes hypnotized by Judas' allure.
The clip portrays the biblical story with Gaga's distinct visual style and the over-the-top sexual tension. She told E! News: "This video is not meant to be an attack on religion. I respect and love everyone's beliefs. I'm a religious and spiritual person who's obsessed with religious art. I'm obsessed with it.
I believe I was put on this earth to cause a ruckus," she continued. "At the beginning, when I came out with 'Just Dance,' I couldn't get an interview. ... I couldn't get on the radio. I just want to keep making stuff that's great and thought-provoking."
Gaga told MTV UK how unfaithful boyfriends inspired this song. She explained: "I've had lots of ex-boyfriends betray me – a--holes, we all have them – and in particular there was one who loved Judas Priest, loved heavy metal.
Originally I began to write the song about an ex-lover, who betrayed me, who loved heavy metal music and then as I started to write the lyrics, I thought about Judas and the biblical implications and how Judas was the betrayer.
Once the song was finished and I thought about what I wanted to do with the video, in reality of the story of Judas, he didn't really betray Christ because he was part of the prophecy and Jesus knew that he would betray him – it was all part of the destiny of life.
So I thought of a more beautiful and liberating way to tackle the message of the song – we attack the idea by saying my ex-boyfriend betrayed me and this person in my life haunts me but I forgive them and we'll move on to make room for what's good."
Chicago-based singer and songwriter Rebecca Francescatti filed a lawsuit against Gaga on August 5, 2011. She claimed that "substantial original portions" of this song were lifted from her song "Juda," which she recorded in 1999 with her band Rebecca F. & the Memes and re-recorded in 2005 for her album, It's All About You. Francescatti's former bass player Brian Gaynor worked with Lady Gaga on Born This Way.
U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen dismissed the lawsuit concluding that the songs do not "share enough unique features to give rise to a breach of the duty not to copy another's work," and are therefore not substantially similar.
JUST DANCE by LADY GAGA
After writing for various artists including The Pussycat Dolls, this was Lady Gaga's first solo single release. The song finds her getting drunk and disoriented at a nightclub - she tells herself to just dance, and everything will be OK.
This features Colby O'Donis and Akon. Lady Gaga and O'Donis are both signed to Akon's Kon Live record label.
Lady Gaga wrote this song a day after arriving in Los Angeles from New York. The singer-songwriter told HX Magazine: "I was taken very quickly out of my party lifestyle. I wrote it instantly - like it flew out of my body." She explained in the same interview the meaning of the song as "If you've ever been so high that it's, like, scary, the only way you can deal with it is not deal with it, so you just kind of dance through the intoxication."
GaGa told About.com about the song's promo: "That video was a vision of mine. It was Molina the director who wanted to do something, to have a performance art aspect that was so pop but it was still commercial, but that felt like lifestyle."
Lady Gaga took her stage name from the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga." The New York artist's real name is Stefani Germanotta.
GaGa explained on her website that the underlying theme of The Fame album "is about how anyone can feel famous. Pop culture is art. It doesn't make you cool to hate pop culture, so I embraced it and you hear it all over The Fame. But, it's a sharable fame. I want to invite you all to the party. I want people to feel a part of this lifestyle."
After topping the singles tallies in Canada and Australia in 2008, this song ascended to pole position in the same week in January on both the UK and US charts.
This was the first #1 song on the Hot 100 to include the word "dance" since February 1991, when by C + C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" ascended to the top position.
This reached pole position on the song's 22nd week on the Hot 100. It was the longest trip to the top since Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" reached #1 in its 27th week in November 2000.
Lady Gaga performed this at the inaugural NewNowNext Awards, which were broadcast on the Logo network in June 2008. Logo is targeted to the gay community, which comprises much of Lady Gaga's fan base.
This was not only the breakthrough hit for Lady Gaga, but was also instrumental in introducing to the Top 40 a techno-synth sound that had been popular in Europe for the previous decade. Lady Gaga's frequent co-writer and producer RedOne told Billboard magazine that the song, "was essentially a rock track but with synths instead of guitars. Big drums. The vocals were the melody, with a simple chorus. Thank God we were lucky and it was perfect timing. The moment the public heard it, they bought into it."
Gaga included this in the set for her 2017 Super Bowl performance in Houston, Texas.