Three Things Lady Gaga’s VMA Performance Tells Us About ARTPOP

Mother Monster's show-opening 'Applause' did more than just stroll down memory lane.

Lady Gaga will be spending the next few weeks teasing jams off her November 11 ARTPOP release. However, MTV News noticed that Mother Monster already tipped her hand during her show-opening performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards, giving us some brief glimpses into themes that have been manifest leading up to this epic release.

At the VMAs, Lady Gaga gave us a pretty spirited walk down memory lane with her debut live performance of “Applause,” during which she executed a series of costume changes that took us through the oeuvre of Gaga. All in all, we were familiar with many of the singer’s looks — her signature mermaid/Venus look that she most recently sported in the video for “Applause,” the yellow wig she wore during The Monster Ball tour and in the upcoming flick “Machete Kills,” the list goes on. Still, there were a few looks that were more fresh than others — looks that we later saw on album covers and at shows. And, of course, there was at least one look that has yet to be explained.

Lady In Black
When Lady Gaga stepped out on the red carpet at the VMAs, she wasn’t wrapped in meat or anything of the like — she was attired in a simple black dress and sunglasses, a demure look by Mother Monster standards.

Little did we know that that look would be echoed during her iTunes Festival performance and in promo pics giving fans a sneak peek at what she called “Swinefest,” after her single, “Swine.” During many of Gaga’s performances, she sported simple black — and dark hair — and in at least one photo promoting the fest and single she stepped out in the same glasses she wore on the red carpet.

Yup, with Gaga, there’s no such thing as “basic black.”

Gazing (Ball) Into The Future
We already knew about Lady Gaga’s affinity for Jeff Koons from her jam “Applause” and the lyrics: “One second I’m a Koons fan/ Then suddenly the Koons is me.” During her VMA performance of the song, however, Gaga gave us a sneak peek at the Koons-designed ARTPOP cover when she and her dancers busted out the gazing balls, shiny lawn ornaments that Koons features in his work — and between Gaga’s legs on the cover of her record.

Her Assets
After completing her show-opening performance at the VMAs, Gaga spent the rest of the night in thong underwear, giving viewers and celebs alike a rather intimate view of her, er, assets. That was not the end of the story, however: Gaga also flaunts what she’s got in the single art for the R. Kelly-featuring “Do What U Want.”

What’s In the Box?
Perhaps the most bizarre — in a wonderful way — moment of Gaga’s VMA performance was the opening, in which she’s kitted out in what looks like a white nun’s outfit and a box-shaped hat. We have yet to see that image made manifest again during the lead-up to the album’s release, however, except as what could have been a veiled mention during the iTunes fest.

“When I was making ARTPOP, I was thinking to myself — I was thinking about what I truly wanted,” she said. “What was the intention of the album?….I also wanted to make music that would set me free…. What I mean is I wanted to set myself free of this box. This box they put you in in pop music. It’s like I have to stay inside the box and be a good girl. But I don’t want to be inside the box. I want to live outside the box with all of you.”

Perhaps Mother Monster will go beyond the metaphorical box in a future video and revive her square headgear? We wouldn’t put it past her.

Senior writer/editor at MTV News. Former Mashable associate editor & CNN columnist. "Stuff Hipsters Hate" co-writer. Moshpit fan.
@BrennaEhrlich