Lady Gaga‘s penchant for pairing her songs with elaborate videos remains as strong as ever with her new single “911.” The latest single from her 2020 album Chromatica is another upbeat dance track, but the scintillating beat belies the heavy the message she shares in the lyrics. Similarly, the cinematic video for the track seems fantastical but is later revealed to hide a chilling dark side.
At first, the video appears to be a pastiche of 1940s movie tropes and medieval medicine, updated with Gaga’s usual touch of surreal styling. The singer awakens in a desert and follows a black-clad rider to an oasis town where she encounters a colorful cast of characters in eye-popping costumes as she dances, poses, and floats in the air. However, just when the viewer can’t make heads or tails of the imagery, Gaga solves the puzzle herself, revealing the whole thing as the dream sequence of an injured girl who was apparently hit by a car while riding her bike near a movie theater. All of the imagery in the video comes from passersby in the street, the medics working to save her, and the driver of the car, who apparently got the worst of it.
Gaga explained the true meaning behind the secretly heavy song in May, telling Apple Music’s Zane Lowe: “I don’t take any pain medication, because it’s not healthy for me. But I’ve flirted with the idea of sobriety. I’m not there yet, but I flirted with it throughout the album. It’s something that came up as a result of me trying to work through the pain that I was feeling.”
Watch Lady Gaga’s “911” video above.