After pulling off Sunday’s widely-praised Super Bowl Halftime Show, Lady Gaga is going full-steam ahead in the next phase of her career. First, she announced a new worldwide tour for her latest album, Joanne. And on Wednesday, she dropped one of her signature zany music videos to accompany the rollicking country jam “John Wayne,” currently still exclusive to Apple Music.
The video is a return to peak Gaga: all shocking costumes, uninhibited group choreography and over-the-top stunt work for maximum visual impact. (See: Gaga getting gymnastic while riding a motorcycle; Gaga and a love interest locked in a passionate driver’s-seat embrace while careening at dangerously high speeds; Gaga shooting bullets out of machine-gun-heeled boots.) The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who was also behind the videos for “Telephone” and “Paparazzi,” which helps explain the bold, unhinged vibe.
As usual, Gaga and Åkerlund aren’t afraid to make the viewer uncomfortable and play with the destructive impacts of violence and passion, which is a good match for the masochism of the song. “Two lovers, headed for a dead end,” she sings. That about sums up the narrative.
Gaga may be the elegant face of Tiffany & Co. jewelry these days, but this video is proof: the weird and wild stylings of pop’s darling provocateur are hiding just beneath the surface. Watch a preview, below.