The Vibrant Ingenuity Behind Lady Gaga’s ‘911’ Depicts the Artist’s Mental Health Experiences

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September 18, 2020
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As Lady Gaga’s masterful Chromatica era has slowly washed over us, leaving us all captivated and constantly craving more, the artist has delivered yet another mind-bending piece of media for the highly anticipated “911” music video.

The short film opens with Mother Monster stranded in a sea of pure white sand. Gaga, who’s donning dreamy, aqua-marine hair and pomegranate stained silks, is the only splotch of color in an otherwise desolate desert. As we progress through this entire ethereal state, from Gaga’s point of view, each shot is peppered with intense imagery.

As we approach a Spanish style adobe structure, while being lead by a man in all black, on horseback, Gaga’s allegorical moment begins. We meet a cast of characters who are draped in bold, technicolor, garments, and heavily pigmented makeup. These characters lip-sync Gaga’s tale and represent important figures that are revealed later in the video. As they vogue through the story and guide LG through what feels like a confusing and nuanced dream, bits of pieces of what the “Free Woman” singer is trying to explain, start coming together.

The “911” journey is unlike Gaga’s prior Chromatica music videos. While “911” depicts images of color, whimsy, and contains classic Haus of Gaga choreography, the video feels deeper and more sinister than the messages we get from “Rain on Me” and “Stupid Love.”

The singer relies heavily on religious imagery to share her story in “911”, however calling on holy depictions is nothing new for Gaga. She just does it so well.

The whole four-minute and forty-two second visual is drenched with references and experiences that leave the viewer feeling a sense of unease, while still being fully engrossed in the picture that Stefani is creating for us.

Finally, just when the viewer thinks the video is coming to end we are served a major twist and brought back to reality. We are yanked quickly out of Gaga’s dream-state and dropped onto the city street where Gaga is crying in pain after being in a car accident. Symbols and characters are called-back from the dream state to represent real-life figures.

In an Instagram post about the new music video Lady Gaga shares, “This short film is very personal to me, my experience with mental health and the way reality as dreams can interconnect to form heroes within us and all around us.” The video was directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar and the song was produced by Lady Gaga and Bloodpop. 

The short musical film feels vulnerable, insightful, and beguiling. This LG drop leaves us wondering what incredible piece of the Chromatica tale will Gaga bestow upon us next?

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