While the religious imagery in Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" video has gotten a mixed reaction from fans, many in the music industry are anything but surprised by the images in her dark, moody clip for the track.
Much like Madonna did in "Like a Prayer," Gaga co-opts Catholic symbols, dressing like a nun while performing sexy dance routines and ingesting rosary beads in the video, angering some members of the church. And several music journalists see it as a move calculated to cause a stir.
"I think it's funny there's obviously a lot of religious imagery," Entertainment Weekly correspondent Simon Vozick-Levinson told MTV News about the clip. "Gaga wants to offend people. She's a provocateur. Gaga would probably be disappointed if no one was offended by her latest video. She's doing that stuff for a reason."
But it may not be provocative enough to grab as much attention as the incredibly colorful, decadent video Gaga made with Beyoncé for "Telephone." "For Gaga, it felt muted. The risks that she was taking, the taboos that she was breaking, were easier targets, so I think it's tough when you're an artist like Gaga," Vozick-Levinson explained. "It's a little bit been there, done that."
And it's easy to say that the woman who has been there and done that for decades now, Madonna, is heavily paid homage to in the Steven Klein-directed video. New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica noted that it also looks like Gaga is making a play for the Queen of Pop's throne.
"I think she's claiming that territory," Caramanica said. "I'm sure she'd say she loves Madonna ... but I also think she's saying, 'This is mine.' And also, like, 'I'm murdering you with my own style. I've learned this. I know how to do this ... And look how flawlessly I do it.' "
Caramanica agreed that Gaga's attempt to create controversy with the religious imagery was a bit obvious, but that's not the point. "It almost doesn't matter if it's lazy; even the worst provocation is going to succeed," he said. "She got what she wanted: People are mad about the video. I'm sure she wanted that. ... She's doing that to participate in that almost meta-narrative."
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