It's no secret that "Born This Way" makes me want to pierce my eardrums with a rusty knitting needle. I intensely dislike the song and was kind of hoping to hate the video, so I could throw away my monster membership card and jump on the anti-Gaga bandwagon. But against all odds, I like it. The seven and a half minute extravaganza doesn't scale the same dizzying heights as "Paparazzi" or "Telephone" but I finally get the Klingon-tastic face implants and low rent sex shop clothing. "Born This Way" is as pretentious as you've come to expect from Gaga but at a time when Ri-Cycle and Zombie Spears either blatantly steal or walk through their videos in a medicated haze, the fame monster deserves credit for taking the medium seriously. Her transformation into the new Ziggy Stardust is almost complete - albeit with shit music stolen from Madonna.
The Nick Knight directed clip begins with a unicorn - clearly borrowed from Ke$ha's vastly superior "Blow" video - before moving on to the unseemly sight of Lady Gaga giving birth, while reciting her monster manifesto. I love the gloomy score and influence of B grade horror movies, so I'm willing to overlook the cringeworthy speech about mitosis and the multiverse. Whatever. Mother monster could have just cut the crap and said "this shit is about the age old battle between good and evil - and includes lots of big words to make me sound intelligent" but that would have been too easy. The script might be painful but it's hard to fault the costumes, make up and special effects. I particularly like the birth of evil, with its translucent exoskeleton imagery and machine gun straddling.
From then on, the mood lightens and the demented diva finally allows herself a bit of fun. There is some clever choreography in black leather lingerie and my favourite scene, where Gaga hangs out with heavily tattooed model Rick Genest - dressed in a tux, with a pink wig and full skeleton make up. It's the prettiest she's looked in years! The not particularly subtle vaginal imagery also amuses me. It's a rather lazy metaphor for creation but I'm a sucker for an old fashioned shock tactic and the visuals remind of 80s Cronenberg. The finale, which I interpret as a homage to Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller" video, is surprisingly cute. By the end of the clip, I had forgotten I was listening to one of the worst songs of 2011. Which, if nothing else, is a reason to celebrate. All is not forgiven but I'm interested to see where Lady Gaga takes us next.