Lady Gaga’s next single “Judas” has leaked four days early, but either way, it was no mistake it dropped in time for the Christian Holy Week.
The track is Mother Monster’s most lyrically unguarded yet on matters of faith and religion, all within the usual trappings of producer RedOne’s dance-flooring stompers.
The early lyrics Gaga revealed during her Google chat are barked with the same trademark “ehs” that Rihanna uses. “When he comes to me, I am ready / I’ll was his feet with my hair if he needs / forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain, even if after three times he betrays me,” goes the first verse, under a murky, transgressive beat.
Later, her big confession: “Jesus is my virtue / and Judas is the demon I cling to,” clunks the bridge. It’s perhaps the best analogy for what’s occuring sonically, as two worlds seem to collide. Swirls of dark industrial clash with the dusty, uplifting ’90s Euro-techno of the choruses, where a gang of punching synths, lasers and a billion other sounds coalesce into what sounds like an early Sega videogame. It’s like she’s calling all to a revival, but the party’s in two different tents. There’s just too much going on.
And then there’s the sin of laziness of using the word “baby” as a lyrical filler four times for each chorus; for a Song That’s So Serious, there was plenty of opportunity to clear the clutter. Though not completely unexpected, it’s still cartoonish. (And that’s besides the “cultural” misrepresentations of the Biblical narrative, such as: it was Peter who betrayed Jesus three times not Judas; and continued misleading that Mary Magdalene was a “prostitute wench.” BUT ANYWAY.)
I don”t find her desire to express or even explain her (obviously) complex faith as such as galling, and in fact I think it’s — her favorite word — brave. But as a track, it’s not the bag of silver she was hoping for. “Judas” and “Born This Way” (with a “capital H-I-M”) both address the idiosyncrasies and spiritual battles of Gaga’s own post-Catholic faith and America’s gripped battles over moral ambiguities, but “Judas” misses the mark as a single. The forthcoming music video, at least, guarantees a wild boat ride with her Savior.
Gaga’s album “Born This Way” is due May 23.
What do you think of “Judas?”