Okay so I know Lady Gaga does not make heavy metal music, duh! She doesn’t sing hard rock or even that old radio staple, adult contemporary. What Lady Gaga does do is write her own songs, choreograph her own set pieces and almost amazingly, Lady Gaga sings and plays piano live.
She sings live.
In front of people.
On a stage.
And they can hear her as she is singing. There’s no delay between her and the sound because she is the sound. How rare is that? Not a unicorn by any means but hey, in the world of dance and pop music, Gaga is close enough. I am by no means a huge Lady Gaga fan. Of course I know some of her songs. Honestly how could you not? Having watching the last season of American Horror Story: Hotel, I decided to dip into her catalogue and found this little gem titled Heavy Metal Lover. So in honor of her Super Bowl LI half-time show, where she did sing and dance and play piano live in front of the world, today’s episode of Metal Mornings is a performance of Heavy Metal Lover, live in Montreal.
The song is from Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way Album’. Having just listened to the whole record top to bottom it is a standout track. It isn’t surprising the song wasn’t released as a single given her dance/pop base. The song is so unlike any of the songs on the album.
The lyrics are presented as a list of needs and wants addressed to an unnamed lover. Sex acts are playfully described as in other songs, and here the depictions are more explicit. The opening line “I want your whisky mouth all over my blonde south” is just delicious.
Imagine a metal vocalist singing that line. It would be seen as totally heavy, genre appropriate and boundary pushing. The production adds to the sesne Heavy Metal Lover is something different than a straight up dance-pop song. The production reminded me of 90s era The Cure. Think of Van Halen, Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ album or even the layered production of Slipknot’s Killpop, from their ‘Gray Chapter’ album of 2015. Newer metal bands like Motionless In White as well as older bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Epica also weave a little pop spice into their metal music.
There is lots of muddy keyboards, echoing notes that are thickly layered, and an electronic drum beat anchoring Lady Gaga’s deep lower-register vocal. Gaga holds those low notes well. Her voice is so sludgy that you can almost see where this song is talking place: an out of the way room that holds a few pieces of furniture, kind of stuffy, and dimly lit by an exposed light bulb in a lamp or perhaps swinging from above.
I’m now a fan and I adore this song. Lady Gaga, Heavy Metal Lover, live in Montreal. Oh and Gaga’s spends the majority of the song sprawled along a chopper while a dancer grinds and does yoga poses all over her. Later y’all, Aleksa.