Lady Gaga is not about to rest on her MTV Tricon Award.
Just a couple weeks after receiving the inaugural honor at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards — not to mention leading all winners, with five Moon Persons — Mother Monster has dropped another eye-popping video, this time for “911,” the latest single off of her “Chromatica” album.
But it’s the mental-health message of the video that may linger even more than the visuals. That may come as no surprise for the Little Monsters who already know that “911” is a song about Gaga’s experiences taking antipsychotic medication.
The video opens with Gaga in unnamed sandy dunes. Wherever they may be, it looks like a futuristic version of the Middle Ages. Gaga chants out the verses among costume change after costume change, hairstyle after hairstyle.
Setting the manic mood, it’s as if there’s a whole tribe of many different Gagas singing lyrics such as “I have heard enough of these voices/Almost like I have no choice” and “My biggest enemy is me/Pop a 911.”
Then, just when it seems Gaga is stabbed through the heart toward the end, there’s a surprise twist: The video flashes to a whole different Gaga — as she fights for her life after a gruesome car crash. She is in a more recognizable world, surrounded by visual hints of the desert-y one: The man who stabs her chest in her apparent dream is now using a defibrillator on her.
On her Instagram, Gaga explained that the “911” video — vibrantly directed by Tarsem Singh (R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”) — is about her mental-health journey. “This short film is very personal to me, my experience with mental health and the way reality and dreams can interconnect to form heroes within us and all around us.”
Gaga ends the post with some love for her fans: “Finally, thank you, little monsters. I’m awake now, I can see you, I can feel you, thank you for believing in me when I was very afraid. Something that was once my real life every day is now a film … It’s the poetry of pain.”