Today is Mother Monster’s 31st birthday, so I’ve taken the time to rank all of her music videos from okay to “YAS GAGA.”
This is merely my opinion, but if you disagree with me, you’re wrong.
Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)
While “Eh, Eh” was released as a single in some European countries, the song did not receive the same treatment in America (and thank God it didn’t.) No shade, but this song is possibly the most boring song from Gaga’s debut album and doesn’t fit the disco-party girl vibe that held her other singles together as a cohesive work. The lackluster video also seems confused among the visuals that defined “The Fame” era, but even Gaga’s “lesser” work is still better than most of your fave’s.
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Though “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” was released as a promotional single for “The Fame,” it never received the amount of attention and radio play that her official singles enjoyed. Gaga looks simple and stunning in the video, but the video itself is nothing too special. It has the same low-budget home movie feel as Beyonce’s 7/11 video, but with much less bouncing choreography.
Picking up where “Perfect Illusion” left off, the second video from “Joanne” shows a softer, more vulnerable side of Gaga. While Gaga is typically known for over-the-top videos full of symbolic imagery, “Million Reasons” is the exact opposite, reflecting the same honest beauty that fills Gaga’s strongest ballad to date.
The music video that started it all for Stefani Germanotta will remain iconic for years to come. Gaga emerged onto the pop scene during a time when pop music was full of carefree dance tunes, and “Just Dance” is arguably one of the most definitive songs from that era. I still remember exactly where I was the first time I saw this video and immediately fell in love with Gaga. While the song is, without a doubt, one of Gaga’s most iconic hits, the video falls a little flat in comparison.
The Edge of Glory
“The Edge of Glory” falls in this spot for a few reasons. I feel like this video shows a different, more toned-down side of Gaga, but it’s mostly just Gaga stomping around a dimly lit street while Clarence Clemons sits on a stoop and plays the saxophone. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher because “Edge of Glory” is THE anthem, but its video pales in comparison.
While most of Gaga’s more suggestive tracks are laden with innuendos and other lyrical imagery, “LoveGame” certainly doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. This straight-forward sex-crazed dancehall jam is one of Gaga’s catchiest songs, and the video is just as unapologetic.
Yoü and I
Arguably one of Gaga’s most artistic (and certainly most confusing) visuals, “Yoü and I” introduces us to many new characters – most of which make no sense in this video. There’s so much going on in the video, while the song is so simple and honest, making for a matchup that seems kind of off. I personally would rather have watched the development of a single story line rather than seeing Gaga pose as many different personas that never connect. At least the video introduced us to one of Gaga’s most iconic personas, Jo Calderone.
Born This Way
Let’s be honest, the first two and a half minutes of this video seem dragging and unnecessary, and if it weren’t for the creepy alien-birthing storyline, this video would be much higher on the list. Gaga looks absolutely flawless in just the bra and panty set with an exaggerated bone structure, and the skeleton look that inspired her very own Monster High doll slays. The choreography is without a doubt some of Gaga’s best, but the video overall seems “alienating” against the song that took the world by storm.
The lead single from “Joanne” marks a career turn for Gaga, leaving behind the experimental dancepop we’re used to and exploring the gray areas that blur genres together. “Perfect Illusion” is a stadium banger, and the video is a perfect representation of this new era for Mother Monster. While essentially just a microphone-in-hand performance video (something typically uncharacteristic of Gaga), the illusion of the crowd as a parallel to the “perfect illusion” provides that imagery we’re used to seeing in Gaga’s visuals. Another stark difference is Gaga’s wardrobe, as she dons a grungy ponytail, simple makeup, and ripped denim AND LOOKS STUNNING.
(p.s. “Perfect Illusion” is a BOP and I’m mad at y’all for sleeping on it.)
There’s a lot going on in this video, and to be honest, I’m confused by most of it. Gaga looks great, and the choreography is amazing, but coming in at eight minutes and forty-four seconds, this is one of the longest videos in Mother Monster’s catalog, and I’m not sure that it’s all necessary.
“Poker Face” established Lady Gaga as a force to be reckoned with, and the music video certainly did not disappoint. This video brought us some of Gaga’s most iconic looks (c’mon hair bow) and showed that Gaga was here to SLAY. While the killer choreo in THE blue swimsuit would have been enough for me, Gaga serves us multiple stunning looks and made me want to join her pool party.
The third installment in the “Joanne” trilogy is arguably the most exciting. This video is classic Gaga and brought hope to many Little Monsters who were, dare I say, underwhelmed with Gaga’s back-to-basics LP. When Gaga announced that this album wouldn’t follow the traditional cycle of releasing singles and following them up with an accompanying video, I was afraid that this song wouldn’t get the visual it deserved. “John Wayne” certainly did not disappoint and proved that “old Gaga” didn’t go anywhere.
(p.s. I’m gonna need radio to give this song the airplay it deserves. This is THE song, y’all.)
Mother Monster’s most controversial song gave us a video that, while just as controversial, is one of her most visually pleasing. While using religion as symbolism in pop culture is highly taboo and often regarded as blasphemy, Gaga tells a beautiful story of loving a man who has betrayed her, and struggling to understand why.
The lead single from Gaga’s experimental album “ARTPOP” brought us a visual that is overflowing with cultural references. “Applause” may seem like a compilation of bizarre visuals and characters, but actually holds much significance by combining art and literature with pop culture, the exact meaning behind “ARTPOP.”
The final single from Gaga’s debut LP and first long-form video cemented her place in pop music HERstory. With iconic looks and the consistent storyline of a fallen pop star rising above, this video inspired THE most iconic VMA performance of all time (yes, I will fight you over this) and launched Gaga to worldwide success, beginning the era of music video films.
While technically a compilation video, Gaga’s “ARTPOP Film” serves as the visual for her third and final single from the “ARTPOP” era, “G.U.Y.” With star-studded cameos, killer choreo, and beautiful sets, this film tells a story from beginning to end of Gaga’s struggle with her own team turning on her for their own benefit, and her rising to overcome it all and taking control. Gaga looks absolutely stunning in every shot, and though “G.U.Y.” may have been an underrated bop, this visual is everything.
If there was ever a question if Gaga would be a one-album wonder (there wasn’t), this song proved Gaga was just getting started. This stunning visual earned Gaga a Grammy and seven VMAs, including the coveted Video of the Year. Following the massive success of “The Fame,” the lead single from Gaga’s follow-up EP “The Fame Monster” skyrocketed Lady Gaga to global superstardom and established Gaga as a household name.
Marry the Night
“Marry the Night” is without a doubt Gaga’s most stunning and cohesive visual. Coming in at 13:50, this film is Gaga’s longest music video, taking you on a full journey from start to finish. The story, the costumes, and the INSANE choreography all contribute to this show-stopping representation of Gaga’s own struggles in her rise to fame. This film showcases the beautiful, artistic side of Stefani Germanotta, as she bares her soul to produce one of her best works of art to date.
Did we really expect any other video to be in the top spot? “Telephone” takes you for a ride, start to finish and leaves you wanting more. This video produced some of Gaga’s most iconic looks and still serves as one of the greatest female pop collaborations of all time. While your faves were out here releasing mediocre pop tracks, the QUEENS of pop were combining their slay to release the bop to end all bops. Seriously, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé on the same track? Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.
The only thing that I don’t love about this video is the amount of obvious product placement. Sometimes, less really IS more, Gaga. Regardless, the costuming is perfect, the choreography is stellar, and the art direction is flawless. Dare I say, “Telephone” is the greatest music video of all time and if you disagree, you’re wrong.
(p.s. We’re still waiting on that “to be continued…” Gaga. Still waiting.)