Is Lady Gaga having her best week ever? It began with a triumphant Super Bowl performance, which led to the second highest ratings ever for a halftime show. As a result of the performance, she saw a 1,000 percent increase in sales of her various hit singles and albums. Riding the buzz, Gaga announced a globe-trotting Joanne World Tour in support of her latest album, Joanne.
But wait! As with everything Lady Gaga says and does, there’s more. Out of nowhere, Lady Gaga dropped the video for her next single, “John Wayne,” exclusively on Apple Music. Picking up where the video for “Million Reasons” left off, we first see Gaga solemnly sitting with her guitar. The camera pans out to reveal the artist sitting roadside. From that point, you’re strapped in for a raucous, road-raging ride featuring bottles breaking, muscle-car brakes screeching and dogs dying.
The visual for “John Wayne” is quintessential Gaga. While previous videos released during the Joanne era lacked the camp and hilarity of past favorites like “Paparazzi” and “Telephone,” “John Wayne” pulls viewers into a neon-lit world where speed demons are king and the rules of the road are nonexistent. It’s packed with the classic choreography you’d expect, as well as Lady Gaga’s trademark wild wardrobe.
With enough gif-worthy moments to keep Twitter busy for the next couple of months, “John Wayne” reaches Gaga Beast Mode when she shoots bullets out of her high heels, the ultimate subversive tribute to the song’s gun-slinging namesake. It also recalls the creative fearlessness last seen in fan-favorite props like the flame bra from “Bad Romance” and the beer can hair rollers from “Telephone.”
Most important, “John Wayne” reminds us that Lady Gaga is at her best when she’s unhinged with her humor. In the video, drivers smash beer bottles over her head, motorcyclists become chariots for her to whip, and neighborhoods fall victim to her persona. The carnage is thrilling to watch, much like some of the best visuals from Michael Jackson. Nobody is safe from the destruction, not even an innocent dog in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her facial expressions range from lustful to lunatic, never concerning herself with looking pretty and embracing harsh, anti-feminine imagery.
What’s next for the Lady? Rumor has it that she’ll perform “John Wayne” during her much-hyped duet with Metallica at this Sunday’s Grammys Awards. Hopefully, she won’t run over any animals during the performance, but car chases and high-heel guns are greatly encouraged.