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Track Review

This just in: Nice guys are still finishing last.

The latest evidence: Lady Gaga’s hit "Bad Romance." The first single from her sophomore effort (an 8-song EP dubbed The Fame Monster) chronicles the demented joy of committing to romance with a guy who is decidedly not nice.

"[I] want your bad romance," Gaga announces. "I want your ugly/I want your disease/ … I don’t wanna be friends."

Those lines pretty much sum up this hook-laden, synthesizer-driven hit reminiscent of Gaga’s biggest song to date, "Poker Face."

Gaga says of "Bad Romance," "It’s [about] the fear of attachment and the fear of loving something that’s bad for you. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s like being in love with the bad boy all the time, and you keep going back for more. I keep falling in love with the monster. But what I really need is the security and the safety and the womanhood, responsibility of my femininity. And so that’s what this song is about."

Lady Gaga may be talking about security and safety and responsible femininity in interviews, but you’ll be hard-pressed to locate anything approximating those message anywhere in the song itself. All that there is the all-consuming allure of the bad boy—and an homage of sorts to Alfred Hitchcock ("I want your horror/ … I want your love/I want your Psycho/I want your Vertigo shtick/I want you in my Rear Window/Baby you’re sick"). A couple uses of "b‑‑ch" get lobbed in too ("I’m a free b‑‑ch, baby").

Responsible femininity? That theme has about as much to do with "Bad Romance" as modesty has to do with Gaga’s wardrobe.

And as is generally the case with Lady Gaga, the song itself is only half of the story. Decency doesn’t allow us to publish the entire art from the single’s sleeve. And the video is a sexualized tour de force with a storyline that involves a (very) scantily clad Gaga being sold to the Russian Mafia for a life of sexual slavery. The highest bidder ends up being immolated after the bed catches fire. And the last scene pictures Gaga smoking a cigarette reclining next to his charred corpse as sparks shoot out of her bra. Really.

The Lady recently told Elle magazine, "The last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself." Never mind that she does something pretty close to that in the video as she sings, "I want your drama/The touch of your hand/I want your leather studded kiss in the sand."

Yes. Lady Gaga seems determined to make sure nice guys and girls keep finishing last.

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Peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Record Label





October 25, 2009

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

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