[artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] promised that her Nebraska-based video for the power ballad "Yoü and I" would be about the "torture" of being away from the one you love. And, man, based on the bruising final product, she wasn't kidding.
Packed to the (pardon the pun) gills with yet another array of fetish objects and references — from mermaids and steampunk to S&M — the clip opens with a quick-cut array of Gaga in a series of outfits. In one, she wears a Princess Beatrice-style oversized black saucer hat with what looks like chicken-wire detailing, black high heels and a black wedding dress while strutting down a deserted highway and picking skin off her seriously sunburned legs.
That image is intercut with pastoral views of cornfields, as well as other looks that include a mermaid in a metal bathtub, a naked Gaga in a giant water tank, a topless Gaga, a white-wedding-gown Gaga and a créme-dress-wearing Gaga being manhandled by a sexy tormentor.
Gaga shot the video in Nebraska last month and explained that it is about taking a journey to win back the one you love. "The [video is about the] idea that when you're away from someone you love, it's torture," Gaga told an Omaha radio station last month. "I knew I wanted the video to be about me sprinting back and walking hundreds of thousands of miles to get him back."
The him, in this case, is her old pal Luc Carl, who helped inspire the location and story line. "It was so sweet, and I looked out and it's so beautiful, that tall corn. ... Then all of a sudden you start to see these monsters pop up," she said of Nebraska. "I love this place so much, and it really comes from a genuine place. The person who I wrote this song about has been my buddy and my best friend since I was 19 years old, and he's from here."
With a simple message of "You must love all + every part of me, as must I, for this complex + incomprehensible force to be true" on Tuesday (August 16), Gaga unleashed the six-minute clip unexpectedly via Twitter. The video makes its television debut Thursday at 7:49 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and Logo during "MTV First: Lady Gaga," followed by a live Q&A with Gaga herself on MTV.com.
As the music kicks in, Gaga poses in her black dress on a Nebraska highway, her face and hands covered with steampunk-like circuitry. But as always with the singer, whose style changes seemingly on the hour, she shows us a few more looks, including one of her most striking: a makeup-free Gaga seated at a piano in the middle of high corn stalks pounding out the song's indelible riff. Looming over her is Gaga's male alter ego, Jo Calderone, who smokes and sneers atop the keyboard while wearing black pants, a dirty white T-shirt and a greasy pompadour, trying to look James Dean cool.
Gaga looks relatively happy in her white wedding dress, but in the following scene, it's hard to tell if she is frightened by or in love with (or both) her buff, shirtless captor as he straps her onto a metal board, puffs some unknown mist up her nose, injects something into her neck and administers electric shock.
There is also, of course, a big dance number. In this case, it's a blue-wig Gaga dressed in a strappy leather ensemble moving on the dirt floor of a barn alongside her dancers — kind of like if "Footloose" were directed by Tim Burton.
"Yoü and I" is the fourth video from Gaga's chart-topping Born This Way. She has already dazzled fans with high-concept clips for "Born This Way" and "Judas," then kicked it more lo-fi in her video for "The Edge of Glory," which co-starred the late Clarence Clemons.
As promised, the final product also makes room for Gaga's mermaid incarnation, Yuyi. We see her come to life about halfway through, complete with scale-covered breasts and gills on her neck and face, when a tattooed hottie pours water on her writhing body.
The rest of the clip moves through a montage of Yuyi getting busy with her water boy; Calderone spitting some tobacco juice and smashing beer bottles with attitude; unadorned Gaga doing a cornfield shuffle; and torture Gaga spitting out a broken tooth. Oh yeah, and Calderone planting a serious open-mouth kiss on the singer.
And there's the one quick scene that immediately raised eyebrows: a brief image of Gaga, who is almost always seen wearing shoes that make it virtually impossible to even walk, running across the cornfield while furiously pumping her arms.
What does it all mean? We're not sure, but MTV News — and you! — will have the chance to ask Gaga herself during a live Q&A following the TV premiere of the "Yoü and I" video on Thursday.
Don't miss the television premiere of the "Yoü and I" video during "MTV First: Lady Gaga," Thursday night at 7:49 p.m. ET on MTV and Logo, followed by a live Q&A with Gaga and her fans on MTV.com. Tweet your questions for the Mother Monster with the hashtag #MTVGaga.