For reasons I can’t explain, Jo Calderone has been on my mind lately. I miss him. I miss Gaga’s ever-so-brief comeback. Born This Way was not a very ambitious album overall (almost every song sounds the same), but it doesn’t matter, because it showcased the finest composition of her career, “Yoü and I.” The rawness of the lyrics, her honeyed voice, the musical triumph of it all! Gaga’s so talented when she’s real, and when she’s not blatantly Madonna-ing all over me, I’m so in it with her.
Here’s a fantastic remix I stumbled upon via Spotify. It’s much more dancey, which I think brings out the nostalgic joy of the song. Something about lonely nights, and my lipstick on ya face.
Just for posterity, I’m posting an old Tumblr post that I spat out after the “Yoü and I” video was released.
Okay, so here is my thing about this video. Well, first let’s get macro: I really do support and appreciate Lady Gaga’s assertion that she represents gender issues by occupying an objectified media-whore space. She says she brings problems of femininity to light by perfectly embodying THE OBJECT. And through purposely performing that identity, she becomes THE SUBJECT, and starts dialogue about power, relationships, culture, etc. Cool. Thumbs up.
This song, Yoü And I, really zinged me in the heart when it first came out. It sounded like some of her most honest and universally appealing work – she’s bare and vulnerable and wailing about how the love of her life will never truly fade from her soul. It is by far the most sensitive and real track off Born This Way.
I am a little disappointed by this video, because on the one hand it is so conceptually ambitious and emotionally complex, and on the other, it’s a total retread of all of her artistic endeavors. The strongest parts of it, by far, are the brief glimpses of Gaga’s gritty Italian greaser alter-ego Jo Calderone and his reverent girlfriend with lips and hair like sweet corn. Their relationship is represented in raw, sexy strokes, like an old Fellini romance or a James Dean film. Now THAT’S a rumination on the exchange of power between a man and a woman – aggression mediated by understanding, rough meeting soft, love conquering brutal strength.
Jo was a flesh-and-blood iteration of the best, most relevant work that Gaga’s done for the reinvention of the female pop artist. More confrontational femme masculinity, please, sweet Lady. Vive Calderone!