May 9, 2021

Lady GaGa Explains ‘Judas’ Song

Next week Lady Gaga will premiere a Federico Fellini-esque music video for her new single “Judas,” a song that has predictably rankled Catholic groups with its hard-edged appropriation of the biblical story of Jesus’ betrayer as a metaphor for falling for the wrong man. In the video, which she co-directed with Canadian choreographer Laurieann Gibson, Gaga will star as the prostitute Mary Magdalene leading a motorcycle gang of apostles on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.


In a brief and slightly philosophical phone interview with MSN before her concert at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Monday, the singer insisted the video is an affirmation of faith, not a challenge to it. The subject of faith will also be a major theme on her third album, “Born This Way,” which she says is now finished and ready for its May 23rd release date, and her forthcoming tour to support it.


Where are you at with the new record? Is it done yet?
Actually, yes it’s in mastering right now. We just finished cleaning up all the mixes and I had a really nice spiritual experience last night. I pulled the car over and just sat in the car by myself and listened to the whole album and I called everybody and I said I think it’s done. So it’s in mastering right now and I’m so happy with it. I’m really proud and it feels good to finally give birth to it. It’s been many weeks of labour pains.

Where were you driving yesterday?
It was in New York. I was leaving Manhattan to drive to Montreal.


You have a new single out, “Judas.” Growing up you went to Catholic school, is that correct?


How did your Catholic background inform the songwriting for that track and the album?
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that my schooling informed the songwriting on that record in particular. “Judas” is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal and things that haunt you in your life and how I believe that it’s the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you.

Someone once said to me, “If you have no shadows then you’re not standing in the light.” So the song is about washing the feet of both good and evil and understanding and forgiving the demons from your past in order to move into the greatness of your future. I just like really aggressive metaphors — harder, thicker, darker — and my fans do as well. So it is a very challenging and aggressive metaphor, but it is a metaphor.


How will that metaphor play out in the music video?
Well the video, in essence, suggests that [pauses] forgiveness and betrayal are hand in hand and that… how do I say this? The video puts destiny above all things and postures that the mistakes in your life are in fact not mistakes at all, they are just part of your overarching potential and your destiny.


What’s the concept?
Well, I want to allow the video to speak for itself but I will say that the theme of the video and the way that I wanted to aesthetically portray the story was as a motorcycle Fellini movie where the apostles are revolutionaries in a modern-day Jerusalem. And I play Mary Magdalene leading them into the town where we meet Jesus and I will leave the rest for you to see. But it’s meant more to celebrate faith than it is to challenge it.


The full interview can be read here, on MSN Canada’s website.