I don’t know where to begin or end with this one… and I suppose that’s the best way to be – as there is no beginning or end to the perpetual renaissance that is Born This Way.
On G.O.A.T, a Government Owned Alien Territory in space, a birth of magnificent and magical proportions took place; but the birth was not finite – it was infinite. As the wombs numbered and the mitosis of the future began, it was perceived that this infamous moment in life is not temporal, it is eternal. And thus began the beginning of the new race, a race within the race of humanity, a race which bears no prejudice, no judgment but boundless freedom. But on that same day, as the eternal mother hovered in the multiverse, another more terrifying birth took place, the birth of evil. And as she herself split into two, rotating in agony between two ultimate forces, the pendulum of choice began its dance. It seems easy, you imagine, to gravitate instantly and unwaveringly towards good; but she wondered, “How can I protect something so perfect without evil?”
That… is the truth.
What artists do wrong is they lie, what critics do wrong is they try; I’m not going to try and pretend I know every conceptual reference here, nor analyze from a detached place of fault-and-fact finding – this isn’t about Pop cheat sheets and checklists… I’m just going to riff on what I know for me, and what I see when I watch that which the world will be.
I see George Clinton. I see One Nation Under a Groove, I see One Race Under the Hooves. I see Atomic Dogs reborn as Spearheaded Stallions. I feel what I felt when I lived in the eternal Funk of George Clinton’s 25th Anniversary show at the Apollo in 2005. I feel like a freshman again, caught in the unknown precipice that is Harlem’s heart with hippies and hipsters and blipsters and soulmen dancing together under the translucent kaleidoscopic gaze that is the pre-eminent Funkmaster’s view. Then, I witnessed the vintage funk future as George unearthed the mothership; here, I live the future as Gaga births the mother monstership.
GaGod Almighty goats look good when they have a crown of horns. GOAT… the goat… Billy Gruff, LL, Greatest of All Time, Ruler of all Rhyme, we’re not dwelling with the sheep – we’re dancing with the goats… we’re bathed in sin, and born this way. Government Owned Alien Territory – the same musical government that Gaga swore existed, the same morally bankrupt musical government that liquidated George Clinton’s funds, is the same musical government that Gaga willed herself into dictating, and the same musical government that is now the Pawliament Funkadelic.
I feel liberation and lambaste. I saw this video and felt like a kid again. I feel invisible and invincible, and conspicuous and curious, intrigued and invited, and scared – so very scared, scared to be simultaneously sacred and human. It’s a divine and liberated kingdom emerged from the dark and lonely place of abandoned solitude. I’m reading National Geographic and watching the Sci-Fi channel. There’s a human giving birth to a foreign race. I’m in Biology class peering through semi-parted fingers over my eyes, simultaneously captivated and cringing at the “Miracle of Life” on LaserDisc. Basic natural elements converge in the paralleled universe of a dark boogie wonderland’s black-tie pre-bacchanalia… earth, wind, and serpentine fire wed as the need for reason fades beneath the splendor and rhyme of the synesthetic sublime.
I don’t know every reference, I don’t know any reference; I know that I am my own reference point – I know that I am The Wiz she wants to see, and the Michael she wants to free.
“Bad Romance” wasn’t polarizing, “Just Dance,” “Alejandro,” “Telephone,” and “LoveGame” weren’t polarizing: this is polarizing – and I love it for that. You either love or hate this video with a passion that burns deep within – though your cold cynicism may mute the fire, subconsciously it stays triggering well past the immediate scoff of Twittering. The opposite of love is not hate, nor is hate’s polarity love, the opposite of hatred and true love is apathy, and in that shared opposition good and evil find their necessity, kinship, and the soulmate in the other – and in the universally shared experience of Gaga we find the necessity, kinship, and soul connection to every other.
And at the core of the video is not the critique, it is not the tit-for-tat checklist of dual-tuxedoed vamped vogue cultural references – the polarization stems from comprehension and the willingness to let go and live in the masterful moment. There are those caught in the Pop paranoia – worrying about the wrong things – but this is bigger than a book, this is more evolved than encyclopedic attribution, this is the qualitative collection of Pop culture quantified.
Veiled in confusion, fueled by the same morbid curiosity which breeds public fear, inexplicably necessary and innately true, discussed, dismissed, and openly displayed in public view… drenched in black, rewriting history for the vindicated victims; “Born This Way” queens the night: capstoning the coldest, bleakest, palest period with all eyes on the magnificent march ahead.
There is a soul in this film that cannot be denied; Laurie Ann Gibson did not choreograph dance steps, she captured human movement. Nick Knight did not direct a video, he dictated a future voyage. Billy B did not powder faces, he painted the pop palette. Sam McKnight did not clip ends or dye edges, he beautified black bangs and highlighted roots… he crafted the crown. Nicola Formichetti did not style a cast, he fashioned a culture. Gaga did not merely sing, dance, nor mimic, she manifest devils’ sins into human skins, and released said sinners’ souls. The Haus did not make a music video – simply: they created a time and space void of twain.