Where to even begin….. The crazy Pop Powers that Be have served up not one, but two videos in the last seven days which feature unicorns. Are we stuck in our 1993 Lisa Frank obsession? Nope, it’s actually happening. Let’s dive in!
The first serving of pop preposterousness came from Ke$ha. We know how I feel about Ke$ha. To paraphrase: not great. I will admit though, this is a very peculiar brand of awesome. The video for her single ‘Blow’ is a James Bond fantasy featuring Dawson Leery and the previously-mentioned unicorns. She describes strangling a bear (teddy or gay stereotype, we never find out), Uzbekistan’s parliament and then hehehehehehDANCE and we’re off. James van der Beek is clearly her nemesis despite the fact that they share a love for pill popping and stripping. Special mention goes to Dawson for his mad, one-handed, bra-removal skills. His own bra that is, not Ke$ha’s. Unicorn people stumble around upstage as our protagonists engage in a rainbow laser fight. Did we think we’d reached our limit for batshit crazy, unicorn-starring music videos, at least for this week? Yes, we did.
But then along comes the demure and understated artist we don’t refer to as Stefani Germanotta. Lady Gaga’s much anticipated lead single ‘Born This Way’ for her sophomore album sounded like a vintage Madonna B-side when it dropped. Which left everyone feeling decidedly underwhelmed. The song is a grower though, and the video certainly ups the ante. Better critics than I have noted the use of “Bernard Herrmann’s melancholy, otherworldly title theme to Vertigo” and referenced her Manifesto of Mother Monster. Personally, lots of intricate little details were lost in favor of the overwhelming one: VAGINAAAAA!!! And don’t you forget it! We get clips of Gaga grabbing hers, being birthed from an alien one, inviting her backup dancers to revel in it, etc…. I might be willing to go out on a limb and call this the vaginiest video of all time. I think that the prologue drips of ego and self importance. Let your song do the singing Lady! We get it; the lyrics aren’t exactly Finnegan’s Wake. You are beautiful in your way, even if somedays you feel like you’re from outer space. Aka, she could have just played this video over footage from Pretty In Pink. Her bod looks pretty smoking in that leather and chains bikini though, and the dancing is a fab blend of 80s throwback cum Space Invaders. The video closes with Gaga riding her unicorn off into the weird, weird, batshit night.
So what conclusions can we draw from these videos? We may ask whether female-empowerment counterculture is interacting with the mythical to perseverate on its thesis. Or are record labels simply more indulgent of pop-stars’ whims than ever before? Was this just a really bizarre week? Who knows! Perhaps the best thing to do is just sit back, relax and smell the sweet, crazy scent of the unicorn. (Hint; it smells like sparkles, rainbows and vagina).
~Zoe Shapiro, @twirly1804