The turning point in so many relationships occurs when someone first says “I love you.” In Lady Gaga‘s latest ARTPOP single, “Dope,” it’s when she proclaims, “I need you more than dope.” The song finds Gaga in a darkly maudlin mood, pounding away at her piano while she beltsout the lyrics with abandon.
When the song begins with a soft, Elton John-esque piano cadence, Gaga sings some stridently slurred lines about knowing she’s “fucked up again” and how she lost her “only friend,” but by the end of the song, after some triumphant choruses, she’s clearly singing that romantic sweet-nothing, “I need you more than dope.” The chorus is the song’s emotional high point as she promises she’ll keep searching for a way to get better.
Cover art for the single depicts a pants-less Gaga in jacket with squared-off shoulders, bruises or blood on her legs and a corroded set of teeth in what may be a smile, or what maybe a Walking Dead-style zombie grin. It’s a look she replicated in part for her performance of “Dope” at the YouTube Music Awards last night in New York. She had been nominated for Video of the Year for “Applause,” another track on ARTPOP, but lost to the K-pop group Girls Generation for their “I Got a Boy” clip.
Gaga’s third album, ARTPOP, will come out on November 11th. Prior to the release of the album, she’s also posted the singles “Do What U Want” and “Venus,” and included a snippet of the album’s opener, “Aura,” in the Machete Kills trailer. This month, she’ll be making several TV appearances including her third stintz on SNL, set for November 16th, a performance on the American Music Awards on November 24th and a holiday special with the Muppets on Thanksgiving.