Way back in 2008, Lady Gaga emerged with her debut single, the instant classic ‘Just Dance’, and immediately took over the world with her highly conceptualised, hugely infectious brand of pop. It’s been a while since we heard from that version of the modern icon though – in recent years, she’s been dialling things right back, be that on country-pop twinges of 2016’s ‘Joanne’ or on the soundtrack to the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born.
Now, though, the Gaga we first met and fell in love with is making a big return with ‘Stupid Love’, the first taste of her long-awaited sixth album, which is rumoured to be called ‘Chromatica’. It’s a glorious resurrection for the 21st century’s most outlandish pop star and an iridescent lightning bolt of a banger ready to electrify the dancefloor.
It begins with a looped refrain from our resident superstar that on its own sounds like it would be right at home in a ‘90s garage track. When it’s injected between darkly glittering ‘80s synths, it becomes an intergalactic, retro-futuristic clarion call that brings a breathless urgency to the song’s unabashed declarations.
On the surface ‘Stupid Love’ is driven by romance; Gaga addressing the song to “the one that I’ve been waiting for” and defiantly singing “I want your stupid love” as if she’s spitting out the words in the middle of a make-up-or-break-up fight. Each time she repeats the statement, its euphoria grows until you’re ready to punch the air and shout along with her.
But is it all that simple? The vibrant music video suggests another meaning entirely. “The world rots in conflict,” subtitles read at its start. “Many tribes battle for dominance. While the Spiritual ones pray and sleep for peace, the Kindness punks fight for Chromatica.” Then we’re introduced to different factions, each with their own colour, doing battle in the desert. It’s down to pink-haired “kindness punk” Gaga to show them the error of their ways and bring them together – via a choreographed dance routine, of course.
You could read some of the lyrics as a call for civility and unity too, the star saying she’s “gotta the find the peace” and promising to “battle for you”. Even the pre-chorus’ cry of “All I ever wanted was love” could be seen as her yearning for some togetherness in this fractured world.
No matter what its true meaning is, ‘Stupid Love’ signals the start of a bold new era for Gaga – one that looks set to be bright, imaginative, and a whole lot of fun.