At times one must dismiss the lyrics or audio visual content of a work in the mainstream media as silliness or even pandering to the masses with maybe a modicum of meaning. Such is the case with many a song on the radio during these confused times. Academic consensus has fortunately determined that anything by George Strait fits into this category, as do the songs “Happy Birthday” and “Amazing Grace.”
What is less clear is where the songs of the venerable artist Lady Gaga stand. It is the assertion of this article that the work of Lady Gaga most probably means something.
Consider her song “The Cat (The Fame Remix)”
Cats, cats baby/ The cats, cats/ We live for the cats, cats baby/ The cats, cats
Thus we begin our task of establishing whether or not Lady Gaga has any meaning with this bit, and it is not hard to find meaning in this song. Notice how words are repeated, and how the meaning of the word cats disassociates from the word “cats.” Is this an exercise in the deconstruction of the very idea of semantics? If so, it is a genius move, and it is doubtful that it has anything to do with the rest of the song’s association with cats and the luxury of Hollywood lifestyle. No, Lady Gaga’s lyrics here certainly mean something.
A similar case can be made with the song, “Alejandro.”
She’s not broken/ She’s just a baby./ But her boyfriend’s like a dad, just like a dad./ and all those flames that burned before him./ Now he’s gonna fight your fight, gonna cool the bad.
Now few would venture that these lyrics make even the least bit of sense. Something about fire, something about fighting, something about dads, and something about boyfriends. Brave is the intrepid explorer who would dare search out meaning in such a forbidding jungle. But we must. Notice how there are several words that start with “F” and only one that starts with “C.” Here we might begin to decipher the song. The “F” may be a cunning reference to “Foucault” and the “C” a reference to “conservativism” as a foil to the great post-modern Nietzschean. From there the song pretty well explains itself.
And finally we take her song, featuring Beyonce, another enigma, called “Telephone.”
Stop callin’, stop callin’,/ I don’t wanna think anymore!/ I left my hand and my heart on the dance floor./ Stop callin’, stop callin’,/ I don’t wanna talk anymore!/ I left my hand and my heart on the dance floor.
What can one do but fall down and declare the cause lost with this song? One would think that the war for finding meaning in Lady Gaga’s songs is ended with this most decisive battle. There are references to anatomy, to “callin'” to rhythmic posturing with the word “dance” and even to architectural allusions with the word “floor.” Yet what we must realize is that for such an insightful thinker as Lady Gaga is, we can conclude that even this song has meaning, something that will inspire future generations to search their very hearts and souls, to unpack for years to come, even though we dare not try now, we put our trust and faith in the idea that Lady Gaga’s songs have meaning.