So, I’m sat on my bed, motionless and unmoving. My pulse is slow, my pupils are dilated normally, my breathing is at it’s normal rate, as is my blinking rate. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck haven’t moved yet, and my forehead remains relatively sweat-free. But thankfully, no cold chills have spilled over my body yet, either.
What you’re witnessing now, dear readers, is not a reviewer preparing themselves to listen to Lady GaGa’s highly anticipated ‘Judas’. It is in fact a reviewer listening to Lady GaGa’s highly anticipated ‘Judas’.
Gently rocking back and forth now, head resting on one hand. And by the time “GaGa-Ga-Ga-Ga” is echoed into the distance in the final seconds of the song, I’ve zoned out, and I’m trying to fathom what exactly, is so special about what I’ve listened to. And after a good ten minutes, I have nothing.
‘Judas’, in a nut-shell, is a whole new level of disappointment; a huge, gaping abyss of disappointment. But it appears that the only reason is because there was so much riding on it to be “that song”. Described by many as one of the better moments on the upcoming album, it had comments as audacious as “it’s a cultural baptism” thrown at it. Others were slightly more grounded in their response to it – “It’s a typical GaGa/RedOne track”, some said, others claiming it was “pure genius”.
I can say now that none of those comment stands true upon listening to the genuine article. It starts with a semi-promising “Ohhh”, refrain and some shimmering synths hidden away in the back, before your ears are assaulted by one of the most unintentionally jarring vocal hooks ever recorded. Sounding like a robot being repeatedly stabbed with a toothpick, GaGa has clearly not realised that, at this point, some listeners may have already opted out of this “baptism” because before long, an army of industrial synths and a raging bassline take over and nearly swamp her vocals as if to say “here’s more”.
What we have from RedOne is an absolute car-crash of a production. Usually, GaGa and RedOne is a musical match made in heaven; the envy of all other artists who don’t share the musical know-how of the pair. Until ‘Judas’, that is. With ‘Judas’, everything is just too cluttered, and not precise enough – there’s no clear melody and no sense of lyrical direction at all. I thought GaGa would’ve exploited the theme a little more – brought it to life in her music rather than just some reference from bits of the Bible.
And with regards to the lyrics, and more particularly, the vocal delivery of said lyrics: it’s pretty much a rehash of some of the Bible’s most well-known events pertaining to Mr. Iscariot – “Even after three times he betrays me”, “I’ll bring him down/A king with no crown” she whines on in a nasal, faux-Barbadian accent, ruining any authenticity for the song as they tries to make the accent fit around that shockingly uninventive vocal melody, often altering the pronunciation to fit the, very obviously, desperate rhymes. I just don’t understand the principle of that ridiculously gimmicky accent? Who’s she paying homage to now? Rihanna? Where were the Bajan’s when Jesus was talk of the town?
Worst of all is the chorus. At least with the verse, you got a sense of energy, power and the notion that the song would get better. In reality, the chorus is built up like it’s going to be the next ‘Bad Romance’-esque stomper ready to blow you away, only this time, it was on acid. Alas, the chorus amounts to nothing. If the verses were in fifth gear, the chorus is in an uneasy third. A melodic rehash of ‘Bad Romance’, with not nearly enough power to keep the listeners’ interest, it’s production seems half finished. Listen carefully and it’s just a drum machine, and the occasional RedOne-typical metallic synth chord on every fourth beat. It pails in comparison to the verse.
No video yet, but if Lady GaGa think this song can stand by leaning on it’s undoubtedly obscure video, then I severely doubt her business mind is as astute as her closest friends believe.
I think the main problem is, “Lady GaGa” is becoming too alienating towards her audience. I fail to see how ‘Judas’ is anything other than self-indulgent, when she claims it’s for everyone. I don’t get this “cultural baptism” either. Something tells me a fleeting thought that sounded nice in her head decided to stick without fully understanding it’s own meaning. I doubt ‘Judas’ is going to change society’s views on the Bible, GaGa, or on popular music. If anything, it’ll change their views on the quality on the upcoming album. Good or bad, that’s for you to decide, but for me, expectations have just nose-dived.
Rating: 2.0 STARS
Download: April 15, 2011 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: ‘Born This Way’