Lady Gaga’s Alejandro Video Premieres, You Have Feelings

LADY GAGA’S ALEJANDRO VIDEO:

Today Lady Gaga’s Alejandro Video premiered. Did you see it? What do you think? Have you decided to wait on forming an opinion until Autostraddle Lady Gaga Correspondent Alex Vega recaps it? Well, I hope you’re ready for an Olive Garden-esque wait time: ladies, order yourself a Pina Colada, ’cause until Autostraddle makes money and can pay Alex, we unfortunately cannot strap her to a bed and gyrate on top of her scantily leather-and-latex clad body until she figures out what the fuck this video means.

DO NOT DESPAIR, HOWEVER, BECAUSE Alex will be back at her computer in a few hours to provide you with a full Alejandro video recap this evening. Until then, we are on a recap-related-media-blackout as anyone else’s opinion would inevitably tarnish our own, and we must remain pure.

Except yours, of course. In the meantime, why don’t you watch it and let us know what you think?

Because my brain was removed from my head with an ice cream scoop approximately one month ago (my best friend Haviland assures me it’s not noticeable), and figuring this sucker out is officially Alex’s job and not mine, my personal thoughts re: the video are very elementary/probably completely off-base.

Mostly I would like to know your thoughts/questions, so that she can copy-paste them into her recap later.

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My Number One Feelings About Lady Gaga’s Alejandro Video:

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1. Bonjour Mireille Mathieu

Although you might find yourself humming The Facts of Life theme song after seeing Lady Gaga’s bowl cut, you might be better off singing some French Anthems with giant armies behind you or something like that. Because this is what that haircut made ME think of:

That’s Mirelle Mathieu y’all. She’s not in The Beatles, she ain’t Tootie, and she certainly ain’t Saleshia’s makeover from America’s Next Top Model or Karen O, but she’s French and rocked that haircut for pretty much her entire life.

2. Icy Heart

3. Evita/Cabaret Mashup

Is this the story of the persecution of homosexuals by the church and the state throughout the years with a particular focus on WWII-era Germany? In the beginning it’s all sex behind closed doors on wiry beds and it’s all about leather and pain and guilt, and then the church is like HAY BOYS and then the church is like “fuck you” and then the homos are like “no, fuck you” and then the army is all like RAWR MARCH MARCH, and then they’re all like, “you’ve got guns on your tits mein herr!” but then ’cause now the church is a woman she’s like “I want your ugly, I want your disease,” (because everything she loves is ugly, I mean really, you would be amazed), and because Lady Gaga is the church she loves the gays so everyone is like THIS IS SEXY! BUT THE WORLD IS STILL MEAN! LET’S GET A HAIRCUT! Do I just think this is somehow Nazi-related in certain parts because Cabaret is my favorite musical and now I have Fatherland stuck in my head?

Why do I mention Evita? I’m really not sure. Maybe because of the Catholic imagery and the lady (gaga) singing with a Madonna hairdo. She seems to be the head of state/lordess of the underworld. You know?

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4. Army Style

Are the army guys in here supposed to look like Nazis, or is that just that I’ve been scarred for life by my religious education, which was mostly about the Holocaust? Because those are defo Nazi-esque army uniforms up in thurr.

Also in that picture [above] Lady Gaga’s got some Aeon Flux action going on.

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5. Annie Lennox?

Annie Lennox or a Pepsi commercial from the ’90s. I couldn’t decide.

Ultimately, this video reminded me of a hot modern dance piece or contemporary musical theater (Kiss of the Spiderwoman, perhaps?), and the ending was frightening.


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Riese

Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, is an award-winning writer, blogger, journalist, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in the midwest, lost her mind in New York City and is currently making it work in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better, The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image and The Hazards of Being Female," "Dirty Girls," and "The Best American Erotica of 2007," magazines including Nylon, Marie Claire, GO, Curve, Interlude, and CollegeBound, and all over the web including nerve.com, Jezebel, Queerty, Emily Books and OurChart (RIP). She was the recapper for The L Word Online and host of Showtime’s Lezberado and her personal blog has earned many dubious honors including Best Personal Blog 2008. Riese has spoken about blogging, community-building, feminism, cyberculture and sexuality at places like BlogHer, Yale, New York University, The University of Chicago and The Museum of Sex. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy and The Olive Garden's week-long training intensive; she enjoys eating foods, having big ideas, reading books & talking to her stuffed dog, Tinkerbell. Also, she's Jewish. Follow her smokin’ hot adventures on twitter. Contact: riese[at]autostraddle.com

Riese has written 2896 articles for us.

84 Comments

    • My friend thinks she has subliminal messages in her music. He always sings, ‘Rah Rah shot to your head. One bullet and you’ll be dead.’ He said if the Gaga ever puts Kool-Aid in her video we are in trouble. And then Gaga poisoned people in ‘Telephone’ so IDK.

    • Don’t worry, @Mehr, you control yourself, not the devil. And I promise you, she does not worship him. That would be too cliche for her…
      :) Keep listening! (and no, I’m not the devil either)

  1. Riese! Thank you! I was wondering if I was the only wackjob seeing Nazi references. Then I saw all the sexual experimentation juxtaposed w/ military images and was like, wait, this is Weimar Germany right before shit went to shit. And then I started doing research about the art and fashion of that period, and then I got tired. Then I was like this is way too heavy to post on AE, but then I saw it here, so if anyone complains, I’m going going to say “THEY SAID IT TOO.”

    • so yeah. about this whole Nazi thing. I read a comment on youtube that i think is a fair interpretation of the whole video.
      Essentially, Gaga is leader of the gays. Who, dressed in all these nazi-signified outfits and shit, are cast as evil, in some way. It’s like gaga is owning the fact that gays are often cast as evil, and she is owning it AND sexualizing that at the same time. Gaga is leading the motherf*ckin revolution.

    • I would like to complain a lot about this video. I had much higher expectations: Gaga had said it was supposed to be a celebration of gay culture or something. There are way more references to the Nazis than to the gays. I am not saying it’s a celebration of Nazi culture, but geez, why are we even mentioning this.

    • I don’t think they’re Nazis, just fascists. It’s more likely that the video is referring to Spain (you know, where the song ‘Alejandro’ presumably takes place) given Spain’s history as a dominantly Catholic (and intolerant) country and its fascism in the 20s and 30s.

    • I was trying to decide between end-of-Weimer/beginning-of-Nazi Germany and immediate-pre-Bolshevik Russia for the army portion. I actually leaned towards the latter because of other things, like the snow, the interior of the castle, Gaga’s whole look (very Rasputin-esque in influence), and the general look of the dancers.

      But then I also saw bits and pieces of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (the macho-ness of the men, the synchronized disjointed movements of the men, Gaga’s whole mechanized look. the transformation into a perverted symbol of purity), which harkens back to Weimer Germany and even then to Nazi Germany, because the Nazis were fascinated by the film. And then I thought that maybe the whole aesthetic–not the idea, though–reminds me of general early-20th-century condemnations of capitalist and/or monarchist societies.

      The officers’ costumes are, however, pure SS imagery. Some of them, though, remind me of one of the villains from Hellboy, Karl Ruprecht Kroenen.

  2. What the heck-balls is happening in this video?
    She’s all, I’m fucking the Beatles from behind on my bed but maybe this is just my secret dirty catholic nun mind but oh wait I’m also thinking about the Nazis.
    P.S. Grace Chu. I liked it when you went heavy on AS. Keep it coming.

  3. So, we all knew this was supposed to be about teh gays, but I had no idea of the extent to which gay culture consisted of guys in throwback 1940s Germany army uniforms.

    The only logical conclusion I can draw is that Lady Gaga loves teh gays so much that since she can’t have long-term relationships with gay men she wants to just become a nun and not deal with it. Except for she is actually their leader! So she… lets them take her clothes off? Ok, I’m clearly just being silly, but you get the idea.

    Also, machine-gun bra is like lazertits version -1.0. Like, of course Lady Gaga thought of lazertits before lazertits.

  4. Oh thank god Alex is going to recap, I don’t know how to process this video without her screencaps :)

    This video is kind of scary and reminds me of a really bad 80’s rock music video, but in a really really good way. The haircut is a little iffy, but if anyone can pull of a bowl cut it’s Lady Gaga.

  5. I literally have no words because I’m incapable of forming thoughts. That’s how amazed I was by it.

    However, I was able to think that I really liked how different it was from every other video she’s done. You know, she had the dancey ones, the tongue-in-cheek ones and then Bad Romance which was all white. I loved how this was all black and dark and creepy and sexy and I need to watch it again brb.

  6. The last 4 seconds or so of this video freaked the crap out of me. I won’t be watching it to the end again!

    I agree with the nazi-esque imagery. Also, I don’t know why, but when she’s dressed in the white with the red cross it reminds me of joan of ark. Very crusader-y type of outfit, although my knowledge of this clothing is based soley on Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  7. I’m like beyond amazed at how many people didn’t like or were completely disturbed by this video. I personally loved it. Mostly because its Steven Klein and its an art piece and its shot so beautifully I wanted to cry a little. I feel like this one is really open to interpretation. For me its a comment on a struggle. Its about a love/hate relationship within the gay community and its about good and evil and how people try and symbolize that. I love the fact that in every video she does she’s commenting on gender and sexuality. She’s letting us see how fluid we are.

  8. Oh hello feelings. This video was interesting but my overriding emotion was fear because I have a reoccurring dream involving soldiers slowly marching towards me and I can’t move and the eventually get me and then I die and then I wake up. For serious. And these lady gaga nazi gay madonna soldiers LOOK JUST LIKE THE ONES IN THE DREAM.

    Ok I want coffee and I am never sleeping again.

  9. i like this video but i don’t understand it which makes me think that maybe i shouldn’t say i like it until i figure it out/alex tells me what to think. i do like the beginning though for sure!

  10. It also may help people to know that Steven Klein has photographed Madonna countless times. I think she’s like a muse of his, or whatever. Check out his site if you liked this video. He has a very specific style.

    • Yessss. I went to his site again today after I saw the video to check what he had up and I love that the ICP Curator is quoted as describing “fearless approach in combining ugliness and beauty.” If that isn’t Gaga too, I don’t know what is.

  11. I’m surprised no one picked up on how this was basically Spot The Fetish. Hence the Nazi/military references.

    Other fetishes:
    Bondage
    Latex
    Religious iconography
    Necrophilia maybe?

    basically put this to FetLife and they’ll be able to spot a whole range of fetishes from a mile away.

  12. Here’s a comment I’ve seen expressed similarly a few times, maybe Alex could reflect on this: (am copying from http://katiemonstrrr.tumblr.com/post/677547654/it-is-apparently-music-day-here-at-monstrrrous)

    “OK, so I just watched the new Lady GaGa video, “Alejandro,” and you know what? The whole goose-stepping, nazi-esque, dictator-chic aesthetic, overwhelming whiteness, fake-accent spoken word, seemingly interchangeable Spanish men’s names in the lyrics, eroticized prison bed (dare I say “rape”?) scenes? Very problematic! To say the least.”

  13. to me it’s about the conflict between her catholic upbringing and her love for the gay (male) community
    but i was mostly fixated on the hair so who knows

    brb having nightmares about the ending

  14. so, feelings. other than omg and wtf? nazi germany was def my first thought, then madonna, then s&m. it also reminded me a bit of marilyn manson’s stuff, he used similar imagery in his later videos/ album art . the video is dark and somewhat disturbing but i love it. gotta watch it again before i can comment on what i think it means.

  15. well it was interesting until about half way through. then my mind started drifting & i thought about how i couldn’t remember the last time people got this excited over every music video released by one artist, but decided it must have been Madonna or MJ. and then the last 3 seconds jolted me back to life & made me never want to close my eyes ever. that’s all.

  16. i’ll copy my initial summary:

    “i think it is visually stunning but there is not enough continuity between the styles.

    the whole a**f**king and slamming against the floor thing, and the part where she’s getting mauled really bothered me.

    clearly i am too old and emotionally scarred to be involved in anything mainstream. no woman who has ever been abused or raped, or has any self-respect would go so far as to make a spectacle of male domination.

    “it’s for the gays” “i want them to f**k me on stage” yadda yadda real eyes realize real lies

    she only does this s**t because she’s a talentless bitch and needs a diversion.

    bottom line: basically this triggered rape recollections for me, i am pissed that there wasn’t a warning on it, and i’m pretty sure i am not the only one who will comment on this.”

    • “no woman who has ever been abused or raped, or has any self-respect would go so far as to make a spectacle of male domination.”

      I daresay a lot of kinksters would argue differently.

      *also a survivor of assault, but does it matter to you that my assaulter was female?

      • i think what matters is that you are a survivor of assault and not a victim.

        “I daresay a lot of kinksters would argue differently.”

        i’m sure they would. i just have never been able to wrap my mind around rape-play and clearly this video is shoving it down everyone’s throat. i mean this is mainstream, primetime material, not some NC17 film that you have to sneak into from the back door.

        • there’s definitely a whole host of triggers there, but I’m not sure it’s really fair to ask for a warning that it might trigger a flashback. There are so many things that can do that, not just for Rape Suervivors but for people with PTSD in general, you’d end up having to put warnings on almost everything.

        • i like being tied up in bed, i like being whipped from time to time, i like kinky shit that involves somewhat questionable themes.

          i was also brutally, brutally raped a few years ago and then beaten to the point of near death.

          i don’t know. i really hate it when people say my taste in bed is just me trying to take control of what happened to me, or that i can’t like those things because i was raped. I AM NOT DEFINED BY MY RAPE. neither are any of the other survivors out there. lots of things trigger us, but we can’t shut down the world because we want to hide from things. that’s just letting that rapist win, over and over and over again.

    • I read the gang-rape scene as a commentary on domestic violence (which is what Gaga originally said “Alejandro” was about), also the madonna/whore complex of women (she was in a latex nun habit before she ripped it off and dove into the pile of men).

      I am so sorry that this triggered you. At the same time, I feel like that kind of violence toward women (the sexual kind) needs to be portrayed in the media as a reflection that yes, this still happens. She was bold in including this scene, and possibly a little bit careless. *sighs*

      Then again, it could have been a weird gang-rape with gay men fantasy of Gaga’s that she’s playing out. Who knows.

    • I have mixed feelings and I think sometimes when we have negative feelings — any at all– we tend to jump ahead and think the negative should override all the not-negative feelings. I think 5 out of my 10 feelings about the scene that begins at around 7:50 and then is spliced in throughout are bad/uncomfortable/triggery feelings and stomach-hurting feelings. But I think I’m okay with that, because 5 out of 10 of them were not. They were mixed. Would it have been different if this was an all-male band tossing about a female model hired for the shoot? Yes. Context matters.

      I trust Gaga to not be irresponsible w/r/t sexuality — was she irresponsible with that scene? Maybe. I don’t know. But that “not knowing” is what makes all the difference — that’s where the conversation can begin, as opposed to a convo about say, Terry Richardson, where we’d all be like “hey that dude is an asshole” and that would be the end of it; deconstructing his imagery or analyzing our reactions to it based on our own life experiences wouldn’t happen. But here it is, and it has. One of those 10 feelings may have been, as “ah non” hinted at, complicated erotically charged feelings. And maybe that’s another way to see the scene — we know Gaga is safe because those are gay men, that’s been established. Could it be that she’s making a safe space for those aforementioned “questionable themes”?

      “ah non”‘s comment made me think of some pieces from Dorothy Allison’s amazing book Two or Three Things I Know for Sure:

      “Sex was the country I had been dragged into as an unwilling girl — sex, and the madness of the body. For all that it could terrify and confuse me, sex was something I had assimilated. Sex was a game or a weapon or an addiction. Sex was familiar. But love–love was another country…

      I know. I am supposed to have shrunk down and died. I am supposed to be deeply broken, incapable of love or trust or passion. But I am not, and part of why that is so is the nature of the stories I tell myself to survive…

      When I make love I take my whole life in my hands, the damage and the pride, the bad memories and the good, all that I might be, and I do indeed love myself, can indeed do any damn thing I please. I know the place where courage and desire come together, where pride and joy push lust through the bloodstream, right to the heart.”

  17. The opening scene reminds me of how M. Bison used to be my favourite character on Street Fighter II.

    I haven’t watched the rest of the video, this internet connection is slower than dial up.

  18. So, I know we’re focusing on the Nazi imagery here, but there’s a lot of conflicting imagery other than that related to 1940s Nazism.

    There’s quite a bit of Catholic imagery. The rosary, the red leather habit, the crusader imagery found on the latex looking robe with the red cross on it…it’s all a lot to take in.

    With these two opposing images are there two sides to the video? Two messages? A struggle?

    I know it’s “a celebration of [her] love and appreciation for the gay community,” but I feel like it’s more than that because the symbolism is definitely not about the gay community at all. At the same time, maybe that’s the point. Taking the two pillars of gay hatred and turning them into homoerotic images is pretty controversial by nature, no?

    I’m probably overanalyzing.

  19. The headdress GaGa wears at the beginning reminded me of the Borg queen crossed with robot thing on the posters you always see for Metropolis (Robin beat me to that reference in the comments already!) Anyway I havent seen that film, so have just googled info on it and it makes for fascinating reading in correlation to this video. Mind you I could be reading wayy to much into it!

    This video is beautifully shot and as always very compelling and I can’t wait for your recaps!

    Oh one question though, how on earth did GaGa get tom cruise to star in it?? Anyone else notice how much that guy in the old fashioned police helmet at the beginning looks like him??!! Or am I going mad?

  20. The Nazi imagery freaked me out in the beginning but I loved the passed out guy in the fishnets and heels. There are lots of guys in heels which is awesome. I love the gender fuckery.

  21. My number one feeling while watching was ‘im so bored after 3 minutes of this video that im off to make and eat a sandwich because that’s way more exciting than this.’ I dont know, I mean a lot of people are saying it’s arty and so on but I just think it’s self indulgent malark and if the song itself was released by an obscure artist then I dont think anyone would pay any attention to it. I know with 128% certainty that when it comes on when im out it’ll be my cue to leave the dance floor and go and get another vodka, im not even going to try and dance to that dullness.

  22. Beware! there are gifs of the last four seconds floating round. Hope this helps people ’cause I’m never gonna sleep again. So creeped, want to cry and be comforted by a unicorn and eat marshmallows in the sunshine, etc.

  23. I still am not “getting” the whole Gaga thing. She scares me. Maybe the whole illuminati thing is real :o

    So, she said in an interview the video was supposed to be a celebration of gay culture or some shit? Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” while contrite was ten times more a celebration of gayness than this. Shouldn’t we be over the whole “we’re going to hell, or at least that’s what they say to us but we’re not going to believe it, but we’re still going to pay attention to all of the haters and continue to let them have say in our lives” bullshit? Where the fuck is the celebration? Where’s the love, man? Where’s the love?

    I seriously feel violated after watching this video.

  24. I HAVE SO MANY BIG GAY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. Would it be too weird to actually discuss this with my therapist? Cuz I feel like this shit needs analysis.
    Nazis. Definitely Nazis. I agree that it’s about post-Weichman Germany. And trippy as shit obvs.
    Okay so I thought of the Snow Queen fairy tale. You know, there’s a snow queen and a mirror breaks and gets into a little boy’s heart or something and then a little girl comes to rescue him and its heteronormative but also one of my fav fairy tales since the girl is the heroine of the whole thing. But yeah definitely with all the snow and ice and the frozen heart I was thinking “Snow Queen’. Also SyFy did an awful/awesome/(okay I adored it beyond reason) movie of the story.
    Things I thought of: Nazis, snow globes, Snow Queen, Krystalnacht, my history teacher i have a giant giant crush on, pogroms, the complexity of BDSM relationships, rape fantasies, the catholic church’s abuse of women, WHAT THE SHIT WAS THAT ENDING

  25. I feel outnumbered here but I really like the music video. There’s not one thing in particular that I can point to that I like but overall I think it’s solid. Lady Gaga seems well within herself and her abilities here, very natural as odd as that sounds. I’m always impressed, for better or worse.

    I am a little surprised though by people who say this didn’t meet their expectations. Like what could you possibly or reasonably expect to come out of a Lady Gaga music video by which to be disappointed?

  26. Ok, I’m the gayest gay girl in the history of gay, so I feel weird I’m the first to say this: I thought those dancer guys were totally sexy. Even the one with the huge ears. I want them to catwalk like that around my apartment all day.

    About the microphone part, I agree that she might be imitating bono. Not sure what the meaning behind that is, though. I hate bono.

    Also, I don’t know if I should say this, but I kind of think some people are being totally oversensitive about the nazi/catholic/fetish/devil-worshipping?/whatever in the video and are going right through to the hating without stopping to analyse why it’s so shocking. Weren’t most of us raised with a fear of God/communism/sexuality/the devil?/illuminati/gays and/or pretty much everything in that video?

    Needless to say, I loved it. It’s like everyone’s society-taught fears (‘the evil gay agenda’ and all those other ones mentioned above) are – SMACK! – right in your face! I feel like it’s saying “Just get over it!!” (I might just be projecting.)

  27. Throwing my interpretations on the pile:

    There are three narratives going on here:

    1. Gaga is the head of a military group, and she has to kill “Alejandro”, her gay lover who won’t put out, in order to assume his place as general of the gay Nazis. The entire video is a daydreaming sequence while she’s lying in bed, not getting any from him. The frozen heart is his heart, extricated from his corpse. The strings around “Alejandro” are society’s expectations of him to have a heteronormative, heterosexual lifestyle. There is some sadness from her about his inability to love her in a carnal/romantic way, and perhaps general revolt from the soldiers after they find out about the coup.

    2. Gaga is the church and the military, trying to oppress the gays/make them conform. The gang-rape scene can be construed as gay people tearing down the system, or as Gaga’s desire to be loved romantically/carnally by the gay men.

    3. Gaga is also a playmate and a muse to the gays, bringing out the Madonna and the Cabaret references. This comes out in the dancing and in the sex scenes, where you’ll notice she’s mostly doing them from behind and not getting a lot of heterosexual action, if any.

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