Many worried that Lady Gaga’s Chromatica era was over before it had even begun. Due to COVID-19, the album and previous single ‘Rain on Me’ were pushed back and performances were kept to a minimum. Promotion was bare in comparison to previous eras, where we’re used to seeing the star on every red carpet in a myriad of stunning looks — in both senses of the word.
But from the album’s release, fans gravitated towards ‘911’, a disco synth-pop track only made better by the preceding track ‘Chromatica II’, which went viral over the summer for the seamless transition between both songs on the album. Chronicling her tumultuous relationship with her anti-psychotic medication, ‘911’’s fan favourite status made it a clear choice for a third single.
Directed by Tarsem Singh, known for the 2012 film Mirror Mirror and R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion’ video, the ‘911’ video is a clear window into Gaga’s quarantine watch activity. Heavily inspired by Armenian culture, notably Sergei Parajarov’s 1969 film The Color of Pomegranates, ideas for the video came from an idea Singh had over 25 years ago — only when he met Gaga did he feel that it was time to put them into practise.
The result is one of the most creative videos we’ve seen from Lady Gaga and arguably her best since the ‘G.U.Y.’ Artpop film released in 2014. ‘911’ has a special something, which — no spoilers — means that the video only becomes better after the first viewing. Taking you through a desert-based mission (though actually filmed in Santa Clarita, California due to COVID-19 regulations), Gaga’s looks are nothing short of outstanding, a mature version of the outlandish getup we’ve seen in previous years. With references to both classic religious and modern art such as Frida Kahlo, even the product placement feels beautiful rather than forced for a paycheque. Attention to detail is key and a video full of Easter eggs is just the thing little monsters needed in quarantine.
‘911’ undoubtedly won’t face the same degree of success as its predecessors ‘Stupid Love’ and ‘Rain on Me’, but it’s not for lack of quality — the song is a bop. However, the combination of the pandemic and waiting so long after the initial TikTok trend to release the song as a single doomed it before it even tried to hit the charts. Much like Dua Lipa’s Club Future Nostalgia, ‘911’ was a song made for the club, and not even a masterpiece video can make up for its loss.
Header image: Lady Gaga in the music video for 911. (Credit: Lady Gaga/YouTube via Insider)