Ever since the premiere of Lady Gaga’s controversial video for “Alejandro,” news outlets and fans alike have been furiously debating the pros and cons , Gaga-as-Madonna imagery and, perhaps most of all, the religious symbolism.
“Alejandro” director Steven Klein told MTV News via e-mail that the religious symbolism is not meant to denote anything negative. “[It] represents the character’s battle between the dark forces of this world and the spiritual salvation of the Soul,” Klein 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.” Klein added that the scene in which Gaga ingests the rosary beads is meant to represent “the desire to take in the holy.”
The reaction to his statement by MTV News commenters — who were by and large overwhelmingly positive supporters of Gaga — has been mixed. Most praise the Lady for always pushing the envelope but found the religious elements of the video confusing and, in a few cases, too over-the-top.
Bill wrote, “Absolutely AMAZING video. So long as you leave behind all your prejudices and allow yourself to be immersed in the artistry and statements made, it should be easy to see why Gaga is at the top of the game. Absolutely brilliant work. Kudos to all involved in the production of this video!”
Drayke said the video was “a bit long, but overall I absolutely loved it. Both for its messages (some clear, some vague and open to much interpretation), its artsy ’20s feel, and the fact that for ONCE it’s the men who are paraded around like sexual objects (the heels are a perfect touch lol.) It’s sure to piss a lot of people off, but not just for the sake of it. The video challenges people’s notions about what is offensive and what’s just free expression and for that I think it’s a rare, important video. Good job Gaga!”
According to commenter Nick, “The biggest issue with this music video is its use of arcane and confusing visual elements,” he wrote. “Even though they are of a religious nature, it’s not so much that she is using them blasphemously, but rather the video doesn’t configure an argument about [how] the symbols should be perceived. Bottom line is that Gaga and Klein should have done better editing and constructed a better narrative so the idea that Gaga becomes pious and is fighting good and evil is as easy to understand [as], oh, let’s say the Pussywagon [featured in Gaga’s “Telephone” video ].”
Kyle wrote that while he “loves the Gaga,” her videos and her crossing lines, he had problems with several elements of the video: “The biggest problem was it tried way too hard to ‘make a point.’ I was watching LKL ['Larry King Live'] and she said this was a dedication to the gay community. Please tell how having stereotypical gay guys and her dry humping one of them is standing up for the gay community. Secondly, the religious thing is too much. I almost got sick when I saw her swallow the rosary and I’m not even practicing anything. Slow down Gaga. Truth is, she hasn’t even put out her sophomore album. What’s the first video going to be, blurred out sex? I like her music and I just don’t want to see her fizzle out, because she put it all out there without a natural progression.”
Derek Vickers took issue with his fellow commenters’ narrow-mindedness: “People need to open their minds and look past the obvious ‘sexuality’ in the video. I don’t doubt that she is trying to push limits and get people talking, but that’s not all she is doing! If you actually watch the video with a little openness, you’ll actually see what she and the video’s director are trying to relay. It’s an over-the-top representation of the battle that most all religious people go through on a daily basis. Who cares if it’s ‘over the top.’ It’s music, and it’s supposed to be artistic and eccentric. I really admire that she completely understands what it means to be an entertainer. She’s the only one in a long time to totally embody music and art as one.”
Do you think the imagery in Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” video goes too far? Let us know in the comments.