Song of the Week: “Judas”

Lady Gaga’s raucous, glass-shattering anthem “Judas” is a far cry from her earlier “Just Dance” days. Her lyrics are more substantial, her singing is wilder and her outfits are more bizarre than ever.

In the controversial hit, Gaga explores the relationship between Jesus and Judas, ultimately professing her love for the infamous traitor. Lyrics such as: “I want to love you/but something’s pulling me away from you/Jesus is my virtue/and Judas is the demon I cling to” have sent many Christians into a tizzy of scandal and outrage. Yet, Gaga’s not-so-subtle biblical allusions reveal, not a Jesus-hating sinner, but a tormented woman unsure about good and evil.

Although strains of the song harken to “Bad Romance,” “Judas” and the other tracks on her upcoming release “Born This Way” feature more danceable beats and anthemic choruses. The message is more complex, as Gaga blurs the line between good and evil, using Jesus and Judas as a metaphor.

The accompanying video, co-directed by Laurieann Gibson, is one of Gaga’s best. A visual orgy, it takes a new approach to the Judas story. Gaga appears as a Mary Magdalene figure, along with a motorcycle gang comprised of the 12 disciples. She becomes slowly entranced by the badass appeal of Judas, who starts a fight in the bar. In a breathtaking interlude to the song, a wave crashes down on Gaga as she bathes Jesus and Judas. After this momentous scene, Judas delivers the pivotal kiss on Jesus and Gaga is publicly stoned.

Gaga is quick to dismantle the speculation that “Judas” is a religious criticism.

“I try to write from a really honest place when I write pop music and carry the song into a more deep and more symbolic visual,” Gaga told E! Online. “That’s really what the video is, it’s a metaphor for forgiveness and betrayal and darkness being one of the challenges in life as opposed to being a mistake.”

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