Friday, April 8, 2011

PopJustice: 'Judas is extremely good.'

Imagine a highly evolved, Titanium-plated 'Bad Romance' from the year 2511 travelling half a millennium back in time to save music from a tidal wave of 'in the club'-obsessed pop drivel, and that's 'Judas'. We love this song so much. It's pop in all the right ways, it's noisy in all the right ways, it's brash and bombastic and funny and audacious and stupid in all the right ways, and it's smart in all the right ways, too.

On the surface it's a song about being double-crossed ("even after three times he betrays me"), contemplating revenge ("bring him down, I'll bring him down down, a king with no crown, a king with no crown"), but being repeatedly drawn to awfulness: "I'm just a holy fool but baby oh baby he's so cruel, but I'm still in love with Judas, baby".

Vocally Gaga's in completely new territory (in the verses and pre-chorus she hurls herself into a decadent half-sung, half-rapped Jamaican Patois style), the chorus is a thousand storeys high, there's a demented tribal techno breakdown, and the whole thing is a little bit overwhelming for all the right reasons. Importantly, as a turbo-charged electrogothic wrongness anthem 'Judas' sounds like a lot of fun - like Gaga had fun writing it and like RedOne had a lot of fun producing it. If Abba ever went to the sort of poppers-'n'-fisting Mannheim sex club Jake Shears told us about in 2009 'Judas' is the sort of song they would have come up with. Maybe this is all good news for those of you who felt that the overstudied carefreeness of 'Born This Way' missed its target.

We first heard an early version of 'Judas' last May, the same time we heard that early version of 'Born This Way' and a handful of other tracks that have made the album, and we last heard the track a couple of weeks ago - not the very final mix, apparently, but we were told there would be no major changes. While the sound of 'Born This Way' had changed a lot by the time the single version debuted, the sound of 'Judas' has been industrial, thunderous and frantic throughout.

One of the more recent additions to the song, which has apparently only appeared in the last few weeks, is a middle eight that goes like this: "In the most Biblical sense, I am beyond repentance. 'Fame hooker', 'prostitute wench', 'vomits her mind'... But in the cultural sense I just speak in future tense. Judas kiss me if offenced, or wear an ear condom next time."

You might raise an eyebrow at 'offenced' but remember how "WHAYOURBARROWMANCE" didn't exist until Spring 2009 and these days it's part of all our lives. What does the 'Judas' interlude mean? "It's pretty east to decode," Gaga told us when we asked. "In terms of traditional views of what a woman is supposed to be I'm beyond the ability to redeem myself. But I don't want to redeem myself, because in the cultural sense I believe that I'm just before my time. And if you don't like it, wear an ear condom."


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