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The Broken Heart and Violent Fantasies of Lady Gaga

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Are you finding that the songs you're writing for your new album all have a certain theme?
Yeah, that's how I work. I always have these concept records. I just sort of spiritually harness onto something, and then everything grows out of this one seed. But I don't want to say too much, because, in truth, it's not going to come out until the top of next year, and I'm going to announce the title of the album at midnight on New Year's. And no one knows that, so you can print that.

Thanks.
I think I'm just gonna get the album title tattooed on me and put out the photo. I've been working on it for months now, and I feel very strongly that it's finished right now. It came so quickly. Some artists take years; I don't. I write music every day. I really want to play you something. Just turn the tape off for one second.

[Tape is turned off, and she sings the title track of the new album.]

That chorus came to me, like, I swear, I didn't even write it. I think God dropped it in my lap. And I swear to you that I'm in a place now writing music where there's this urgency to protect and take care of my fans.

Was any of that written on Ecstasy?
No. I love Ecstasy. But I don't take it very much. Well, I like MDMA. I don't like Ecstasy.

Your fans seem to really like what you stand for, because some people need to be reminded that it's OK to be different.
I love what they stand for. I love who they are. They inspire me to be more confident every day. When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. But I say, "Bitch, you're Lady Gaga, you better fucking get up and walk the walk today," because they need that from me. And they inspire me to keep going.

Lady Gaga Worships Queen and Refuses to Wear Pants

Is it frustrating to have a new album ready yet still be touring playing the old one?
I love writing on the road, because I go out there every night, and while I'm onstage performing the old songs, I literally imagine them singing the lyrics to my new songs. If I can't imagine them singing the lyrics in the audience, why even write the song? What? To fulfill some fucking therapy in my soul?

What about "Speechless"? That sounds therapeutic.
I wrote that song to soothe my spirit, but nobody gives a shit if the chorus isn't good. I don't mean to sound crass, but just that's how I view music. Not everybody gives a shit about your fucking personal life. Music is a lie. It is a lie. Art is a lie. You have to tell a lie that is so wonderful that your fans make it true. That has been my motivation and my inspiration for the longest time, and the new album is a lie that I want to become true so desperately.

Do you feel there's a side of you that forces you to stay strong for the fans, to be an example of having no fears?
Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I break down and cry onstage. I totally wear my heart on my sleeve.

When you talk really brazenly sexually or when you dress showing a lot of skin, there's sort of a form of . . .
Rebellion?

No, not rebellion. There's a form of social control. It's like saying, "I'm kind of uncomfortable socially, and I'll make you more uncomfortable, and that way I'll feel more comfortable."
Oh, I see what you're saying. I wish I could say yes, because that's an interesting analysis, but I just feel really comfortable in those moments. I'm quite a schizophrenic person. Let's call a spade a spade, right? But I'm OK with that, and I recognize that. It's really interesting to me, because I put out music videos, and I do performances, and I am 79 percent of the time shocked by how people respond, because I don't really think it's particularly groundbreaking or shocking. I think it's just me and who I am, and I'm a feminist.

It's interesting to speak with you, because you have this intellectual and artistic side, but half of your hits are about clubbing and being drunk . . .
Well, now I have a little bit more of an opportunity to be that, don't I? I don't mean to speak arrogantly about my musical strategy as a pop artist in the Warholian sense, but today you have to almost trick people into listening to something intelligent.

So you're thinking, "I'm going to trick this idea down your throat"?
Or seduce people to be interested in something that is uncomfortable. Why are we still talking about "Don't ask, don't tell"? It's like, what fucking year is it? It makes me crazy! And I have been for three years baking cakes — and now I'm going to bake a cake that has a bitter jelly.

Elaborate on that metaphor a little.
The message of the new music is now more bitter than it was before. Because the sweeter the cake, the more bitter the jelly can be. If I had come out as who I was, no one would be listening. Now people are listening. So I can be inspirational, and I'm in a different place in my life. I'm interested in different things. I've got fame now. So I don't want to write about it anymore.

[Fifteen minutes before her performance that night, Lady Gaga asks if she can continue the interview afterward. As soon as the show ends, she rushes from the stage to the tour bus, covered in stage blood. As the bus lurches out of the backstage parking lot, she hears screaming outside, then yells to the bus driver, "Hold on, will you stop the bus? I'm just going to say hi to my fans."

Her security guards look disapprovingly at her, then relent. She walks to the door of the bus and opens it, and hundreds of fans stampede toward her. The security guards start yelling for the driver to shut the door, and the bus pulls away. She smiles, pleased, as she walks back to continue the interview while her tour manager serves her white wine and chicken fingers, which she dips copiously in ketchup.]

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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