“911 short film out tomorrow,” Lady Gaga announced on Sept. 17, and she followed through with her promise. On Friday, (Sept. 18), Gaga, 34, unveiled this “music video,” a dramatic visual that saw Gaga come close to dying. Since “911” — taken from her best-selling new album, Chromatica – deals with a more severe and personal subject, the chances of it being a dance rave like “Stupid Love” or a wet-and-wild extravaganza like “Rain On Me” were slim. Instead, the Little Monsters watched as Gaga’s artistic and creative side shown through.
Starting out in a desert, a masked Gaga awakens surrounded by the remains of a smashed bicycle. After following a mysterious rider on horseback, Gaga finds herself in a New Mexican villa filled with surrealistic imagery straight out of a Salvador Dali/dada fantasy. As the song ends, Gaga delivers a terrified scream as she stands next to what looks like a medical stretcher. It’s then that – spoiler alert – the paramedics revive Gaga, and we learn that these scenes were taken from her surroundings right as Gaga was hit by a car.
“911” is a song about Gaga’s relationship with olanzapine, an antipsychotic medication she takes. “[It’s] because I can’t always control things that my brain does,” she said during her in-depth conversation with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in May. “I know that. And I have to take medication to stop the process that occurs. “Keep my dolls inside diamond boxes, save it till I know I’m going to drop this front I’ve built around me, oasis, paradise is in my hands. Holding on so tight to this status, it’s not real, but I’ll try to grab it. Keep myself in beautiful places, paradise is in my hands.”
Upon Chromatica’s release, many critics and fans remarked how “911” was one of the best songs on the album. The song was called “a powerhouse dance track with deeply affecting lyrics about how she’s her own worst enemy” by Rolling Stone. BloodPop — the musician and producer who has worked closely with Gaga on Chromatica – revealed to RS just how personal “911” was to Lady Gaga by detailing what she did the day of recording.
“[Gaga] had to relive everything she was talking about in the song with every take,” he told Rolling Stone. “She wore a wig to the studio that day, hoping it would make it a little bit easier to feel like someone else. We had it almost pitch-black in the studio. I wish everyone could see what I saw because she really fought for each and every one of these songs to put her whole self into it, at any cost.”
“She’s very smart, and she wants to make sure that everybody working on a song knows what the message is so that we don’t get distracted,” added EDM artist Madeon, who also worked with Gaga on this new album. “We kept the production quiet. I think there’s so much life and impact in those lyrics that you want to let them breathe. You don’t need to drown them. I really wanted to respect that.
“911” arrives just over two-weeks after Gaga’s big night at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Gaga took home 5 awards: Song of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Cinematography, and the first-ever MTV Tricon Award. She also performed a medley of songs, including “Rain On Me,” and set the standard of COVID-19 fashion by wearing many different facemasks throughout the night.