There is no denying that Lady Gaga is a talented songwriter with an incredible voice. Her 6th album Chromatica is already the fastest selling album of 2020, and her collaboration with the hugely popular Korean band Blackpink has only added to its success. Chromatica is, in Gaga’s own words, her most authentic yet, touching on issues such as sexual assault, self-harm, and the journey of healing from past trauma. Through the album, she hopes to encourage those in similar throes of pain to forgive themselves, and move forward toward healing.
Enter “Sour Candy.” The song rests on heavy electronic beats and a fun pop rhythm. In classic K-pop fashion, the fan-made music video features Blackpink mostly in soft light, emphasising their dewy complexion and bright eyes. On the flip side, Gaga’s scenes are dark and disturbing in her revealing and over the top outfits. The visuals help articulate the song’s message, that even though someone with a hard, sour exterior may seem hard to love, it’s worth the effort when you reach the sweet centre inside.
The intent behind the song is admirable — Gaga stated in an interview that the song reflects her journey of realising that she is deserving of love despite being ‘damaged.’ But here’s where things get questionable. Through the song, she insists that even though she “might be messed up”, she should be accepted as she is. In fact, she goes so far as to say to her lover, “If you wanna fix me, then let’s break up here and now.” There’s also a double entendre in the song when Gaga encourages her lover to “unwrap” her and get a real taste. It’s a sexual advance, but also a reference to the fact that it will take time and patience for him to peel beneath her varied layers and get a real sense of who she really is.
While the premise of the song seems valid, her conclusion sadly isn’t, as there is no reason a person who knows she is flawed should reject help to be changed. It is a popular message these days — love me as I am, or not at all — but not one that we can accept as Christians. A healthy, godly, functioning relationship will always change us to be more like Christ!
Other songs on the album like “Rain on Me” with Ariana Grande justifies alcoholism, while “Stupid Love” speaks of being free from shame, finding peace, and receiving healing, but (like much of the album) gives little direction on where that might be found. At the end of the day, while the songs are reflective of Gaga’s authentic emotions and journey, it is still a journey that no doubt needs to continue to lead to a healthier conclusion. “Sour Candy” is definitely an earworm, but I hope its message doesn’t stick in your mind.