Lady Gaga debuts 'Edge of Glory' video: Watch her one-woman '80s time-warp fantasia here-VIDEO

Better consult your 96-color Crayola carton for reference. There’s more than one unnatural shade in Lady Gaga’s latest, and perhaps ultimate, ‘80s tribute, the new video for “The Edge of Glory,” which just premiered tonight on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance—along with news that she’ll be guest-judging the competition later this season.

It’s a steamy one-woman, one-sax player urban fantasia (that’s right, Clarence Clemons shows up!) and a showcase for Gaga’s retro streetwalker couture. Check it out after the break:

Okay, it’s not a shock that Gaga’s riffing on her beloved leather-and-spandex ‘80s. After all, Born This Way is a veritable pastiche of Reagan Era-excess from Giorgio Moroder to Bonnie Tyler.

What is surprising, though, is the relatively small, but perhaps more intimate, scope of her vision in the “Edge of Glory” video. I mean, her pattern up till now has been to attempt to top herself with each subsequent clip, going from a serial killer fantasy (“Telephone”) to a mythic space opera (“Born This Way”) to a Last Temptation of Christ-style provocation about religion and redemption (“Judas”).

This time what do we have? Merely Gaga mugging for the camera as she struts and skips down steaming fuchsia and indigo tinted streets. Or performing some sort of kick routine/strip show/Pilates workout on a fire escape, while wearing a rig of silver-studded black leather straps.

This is a return to the stripped-down mean streets fantasy of her “LoveGame” video—no elaborate CGI or Godardian color palette, just Gaga working the camera with old-fashion moxie. Especially after her more literal-minded take on “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory” is also a refreshing retreat to her trademark style of making a video that has absolutely nothing to do with the song. It allows the song to remain independent of the fixed images a video can sometimes impart. I mean, really, of what “glory” is she on the edge here? As far as I can tell, she’s only on the edge of pulling a muscle or having a wardrobe malfunction.

Beyond that, though, “The Edge of Glory” is also really a one-woman ‘80s revue. The only thing missing is a shower of water to splash upon Gaga’s artfully-backlit body. Or for her to don boxing gloves and cold-cock imaginary foes like Rosie Perez fighting the power.

Her fire-escape calisthenics unquestionably evoke Madonna, but if that snap-perfect electro-marionette move she twitches at one point before dramatically removing her sunglasses isn’t a tip of the hat to Michael Jackson, I don’t know what is. In fact, the whole thing seems like an eerie play on MJ’s macho-posturing video for the “The Way You Make Me Feel”…except that in Gaga’s quasi-apocalyptic vision everyone’s vanished from the streets.

Everyone except for a muse-like Clarence Clemons perched on an apartment stoop, that is. That’s another way we know this is supposed to be a pre-Giuliani cityscape—people congregate and play music on apartment stoops, as shown to us in Do the Right Thing and Sesame Street.

All the references in “The Edge of Glory” are so overt, there’s no way it could be shameless cribbing. It has to be a winking homage to the artists, songs, and videos that meant a lot to Gaga growing up—like a college-student who brings his action figures to his dorm.  In seeing this Tarantino-esque regurgitation of previous styles all the way through, she’s proven Born This Way to be the year’s most unexpected concept album: a relentless exercise in the outmoded fromage of her youth. It may not stick with you, but it sure can be tasty.

Music Mixers, what think you? Does this represent the culmination—and therefore possibly the end—of her foray into ‘80s decadence? If not, then what should we expect from her in the future? A Joan Collins cameo? Patrick Duffy playing her father? American Gladiators reimagined with disco sticks? Sound off below.

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more from EW.com:
Lady Gaga speaks out at massive Europride event in Rome: Can she meaningfully affect gay rights? — VIDEO
As Lady Gaga tweets her support for ill Clarence Clemons, we look back at the Big Man’s extraordinary career
You’re Lebanese! You’re…Censored: Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ banned in Lebanon
Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ sells 1.1 million in first week of release
Lady Gaga releases new single ‘The Edge of Glory': Listen here
Lady Gaga debuts ‘Judas’ video: Watch it here


Comments (163 total) Add your comment
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  • mike

    The Google Chrome video/commercial is way better.

    • Megan

      Someone please explain to me how can her video for “Beautiful Dirty Rich”, from back when she was a nobody, look and feel so polished, interesting and visually engaging, and yet this new video, after she’s sold a gazillion records and become a media darling,looks so amateurish and cheap???

      • SaraS

        Well calm down, every other video of hers looks over-the-top and flashy expensive — she’s allowed to do different things.
        Although I admit I liked the Google Chrome idea better (her running across the Brooklyn Bridge, doing choreography in a dance studio, etc).
        Oh, AND: damn her body is rockin’.

      • Kristina

        I thought the video was pretty and perfect for what it is. The song is my favorite from the album, a song she wrote for her grandfather. She didn’t need it to be flashy in this case.

      • Vicky

        I’m really speculating, but I think “Beautiful Dirty Rich” and all her early music videos were directed by actual music video directors. I think “Judas” and “Edge of Glory” were directed by Lady Gaga and the Haus of Gaga. Everyone wants to be a director nowadays, not everyone can. This video is proof.

      • bran

        @Megan Because despite the contrary, Gaga doesn’t try to top herself ever single time she breaths. She doesn’t do what she does to live up to other’s expectations. She does what she does because that’s who she is. (You must have missed this memo, it’s consistantly themed throughout her latest Album).
        Everything she does, some are gonna love it and some are gonna hate it. Learn to deal with what you dont like and embrace what you do like.
        I’m pretty sure the video was meant to be more simple and amateurish, that’s the point…

      • Lars

        I am a fan of hers, but this video was so poorly made that when SYTYCD cut off the end of it, it was actually a relief. Next time you watch it, count the amount of times her head gets cropped out of the picture because the camera can’t follow her movements correctly. 1980’s homage or not, it was very amateurish and very sad. It didn’t have to be over-the-top, but it really could’ve been so much more.

      • Kelly

        I love the video. Simple. To the point. About the music. Good Job Gaga!

      • Tiffany

        I liked this video for its simplicity. It kind of makes you want to dance around your house by yourself! Go Clarence!

      • tigger851

        judas video had 60 million hits!

      • IMMA

        THE EDGE OF INSIPID FLOP…SHE BORES ME TO DEATH.

    • Ash

      Amen.

      • Steven

        Amen Fashion! :D

      • Beyoncilicious

        Zzzzzz….half baked idea from the 80s. She is stuck and lost it!

        Bye…see you in Celebrity Rehab :(

    • Rachel

      Yupppp – I definitely agree the Google commercial was a much better video/feel for this song…even her first album stuff feels way more thought-through than this mix of just walking up and down a street…LAME. And also, if this had the same choreographer as “Judas”, I feel that woman shares half the blame for this lackluster music video.

    • tom

      I find it refreshing….reminds me of old school videos….before they felt they had to spend millions…..also reminds me of Janet Jackson….ALRIGHT/ESCAPADE….BUT TO BE HONEST….I wish the girl would take the wigs off and just be her….I TRULY think she has self image issues! And yes I do like her music!

      • The Edge of Coffin

        This is her worst video to date. I guess when she needs to copy Madonna again to make it relevant.

        Verdict: Boring!

    • Godney Spears

      She fails us with a generic album! Tranny, time to take a rest.

      • Lady BlaCaCa

        120% agree.

        Sucks to the core.

  • Spud

    This is probably her most stripped-down and intimate music video ever. It’s for all the people who want to see another side of Gaga, a side beyond the “weird.” At first it underwhelmed me (coming after the Gagasm of “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” et al., it’s shocking for her not to be shocking), but then I saw the beauty in its simplicity.

    • e4ia

      I see it as her paying tribute to the videos in the 80’s. There were fewer quick, intense cuts/edits back then and they were much more simple in style and nature. This video would easily slip into the rotation back then when MTV used to show videos.

      • AK

        I was getting more old Hollywood musical, “West Side Story”-like vibes, than pure ’80s video. Anyone else with me here?

    • Kelly

      If she is over the top, people say she trys to hard. When she does something like this, they say she is cheap and it sucks. She will never please everyone. Most people just look for a reason to knock Gaga down. Not going to happen. But she thanks you all for all the hits you give her on EW.com. :)

    • Flop Her Way

      Garbage..just like her new album, fashion, video & art.

  • tre dissappointed

    It was uninteresting to watch. It felt like she didn’t quite know what to do without choreography to dance. Oh well, 1 or 2 misses is okay.

    • Jack

      I agree… if the dancing she was doing was “cool” or different (instead of just trying ot make her body look good) I might watch the video again, but nah.
      Also I was hoping for a cute moment between her and Clarence: a smile, SOMEthing to acknowledge that he flew across the country to work with her and they were inspired by one another.

  • Soldier

    Reminds me of Madonna’s Jump video with a little Billie Jean thrown in. She has peaked very quickly. Can she be anymore derivative?!

    • Marcio

      Hi CLike the article. A great brand is Lady Gaga no dtunsiipg that.Number 3 is toips for me You are able to change – What does your audience want to see and are you able to deliver it to them? With the world economy the way it is at the moment that is so vital.BTW would love a comment from you over on my modest little site.

  • Twist

    Boring. Apparently she spent all her money on the Judas video. Which of course bombed. I agree with Soldier, she has peaked quickly.

    • cristo

      lol she did nt spend all her money on the judas video the 10mil rumor is fake and the judas video did not bombed it has 60mil views and shows no sign of stopping.and it has as many lkes as the videos that has over 200mil views

      • Mark

        LOL at cristo. Sorry, dude, “Judas” was (and is) a FLOP. No way around it.

      • Well…

        @ Mark While it certainly wasn’t a “smash hit,” going top ten in twenty countries, half of which were in the top five is hardly a flop. I think it certainly probably didn’t do as well as was expected, but smashes the size of “Bad Romance,”Telephone,” and “Born This Way” are pretty hard to duplicate every time.

      • Kelly

        Judas hit #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s the #1 dance song right now. Over 60 Million views on youtube. Top 10 all around the world. People like YOU are still talking about it. I would say that is a hit.

    • JulieB

      @Twist, at first I too thought she was economizing with the single location you see here. But then I realized it was an elaborate stage set of a city street w/fire escape and I concede this couldn’t be low-budget. At first I thought it was boring, but the article here pointed out the great lighting. Her choreography is decent, and after all, the song to me is so powerful, it doesn’t need much imagery to make it entertaining.

    • Amanda

      Strength: 115#WOD: 5:28 with feet hooked to bar on a smith mihacne, since I can’t do free-standing HSPUs (yet). OHS were unscaled for the first time.I was also able to accomplish my first muscle up (on a bar) last night. I could only get the first one, but it felt great to be fully above the bar for the first time.Thanks to everyone at CFE. You have all really help me change my life.

  • Brett

    The video is like an unsexy version of “Out Tonight” by Mimi from “Rent.” Originality fail.

    • jared

      That’s exactly what I was thinking!

    • Yulanda

      Nobody cares anymore..she is a done deal.

  • Jaime

    I think this is a great song but the video is BORING. This should have been live in concert material. Fandemonium. Not strutting down a studio fake street.

    • Guna

      Make a slow transition (3-9 mtnohs) into a lower profile shoe. You may use more than one shoe to do this. You will be asking a lot more rom in your tendons and ankle.You can really do some damage if the proper training and mobility is not approached. Also make sure you have shoes that fit your foot well.

  • Jonathan

    She should’ve just lengthened the Google Chrome version into an all-out video; this was a nice change of pace because it was so simple for a simple anthem, but it was also dissapointing considering Gaga’s videos have always seemed like such EVENTS. I didn’t hate it, but I’m going to buy the video or anything.

    • Jonathan

      *not going to buy the video

  • D2

    She should have played up on the inspiration of the song, the end of her grandfathers life, the grand conclusion to a successful life, she should have had a video following a young man to the end of his life, then like a big walk off with all the people in his life clapping him off, idk something a little more unexpected. Shes gotta change up the formula!

    • Kat

      yeah cus that would have been unexpected

    • True Blue

      That would’ve been beautiful.

    • Ross

      Do you have any idea how hard that would be for her? It’s hard enough to write a song so personal and to dedicate an entire album to him, let alone portray all of that in a video and essentially go through it again. I thought it was great the way it was. So simple but still very intimate. The addition of Clarence was a great touch too. I hope he recovers soon!

  • John

    So far BTW has garnered two crappy songs with amazing videos (BTW, JUDAS) and one solid song (THE EDGE OF GLORY) that sadly, is accompanied by this boring video.

    What happened to all the nice images that the Google Chrome ad gave us a glimpse of???

  • Jul

    The GaGa star is fading so fast is not even funny.

    • Courtney

      People have been saying that for the past 2 years. It’s almost becoming as cliche to say that GaGa’s 15 minute is gone as it is to say she is inspired by Madonna. Be original, people.

  • Darrin

    I love my momma monster, but damn, that was not only conceptually boring, but amateurishly done. Weirdly wobbly tracking shots, choppy editing, and an erratic tone. Did she direct it herself???

    • JW

      You know, you say “Amateurish” I say “80s”. How many times do other people have to point out that this is One Gigantic Homage to the ’80s for you and certain others to notice it’s purposefully made to be just as storyless, song/singer-centered, and crappily-filmed and weirdly-lighted and awkwardly-choreographed as your average 80s video? Seriously. My immediate reaction was “I don’t even remember what MTV was like before they started all that Real World crap, but I get the feeling it was a lot like this”. Given what I’ve seen and heard of music videos from that period… yeah, that’s exactly it.

      I’m surprised that the video is this simple, but by the same token, I’m also surprised peopel are surprised at the video being so very, very “80s” when the song sounds like it was ripped straight from that decade. The sax solo alone makes it feel like the next song you hear should be by Pat Benetar…

  • Blonde South

    I thought her apartment was on fire and she was trying to use the fire escape to get down! But she kept getting distracted trying to dance, because when everything goes wrong, that is what she does! She just dances. This is probably her most boring video yet. But her makeup was nice and her outfit was interesting.

  • rick

    For those delusional monsters saying Gaga would top Madonna in 5 years, and top the king himself, MJ in 10 years: well you better do something because your mother monster´s 15 minutes of fame are running out FAST

    • Woot

      Oh for god sakes… really? It’s been 3 years and she isn’t going anywhere. Yes, this video isn’t her best but so what? I personally don’t see her success as a competition. I’m just listening to her music.

      • Dan

        I totally agree with you… For the most part the American society just wants to see a star rise and fall without paying attention to what she’s doing and what she’s capable of doing. Some people complain just to complain. I guarantee you that neither Madonna or MJ (rip) are praying for gaga to fail. And the awards speak for themselves people! No other artist has had this much success in such a short amount of time. Clearly that should indicate that she’ll be here for years :)

      • tracksone

        Not to mention Gaga has way more musicianship than either MJ or Madonna. Not to mention both MJ and Madonna have already acknowledge Gaga as a new pop legend. MJ was gonna freakin tour with Gaga before his death.

        Fact that Gaga does anything to show contribute to past amazing pop artist is what intrigues me. And she’s the only one who seems to embrace it professionally.

        Not her best video, but its still really good in its own way. Enjoyed the whole unexpectedness of it. That’s Gaga thouhg, she does things unexpectedly for the sake of not being “expected” or “unoriginal”. ‘Edge of Glory’ has also become one of my favorites, up there along with ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Poker Face’.

        Can’t wait for her 3rd album already, just to see what she does.

      • Chichi

        tracksone – instant fail. To say that Gaga has more musicianship than MJ is crazy, she can’t even keep a flippin’ beat to her own dance routines. And when she’s in her 50s, let’s see if she can do half of what Madonna does. Go sit your azz down.

      • Alyssa

        Amen Woot! You took the words right out of my mouth

      • Dessa

        @tracksone: I LOVE Gaga, and I love this video, and I love her music, fashion, philosophy, etc. It’s safe to say I’m a huge Gaga fangirl.

        But NOBODY beats MJ. Nobody. She doesn’t touch MJ’s musicianship. “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” MJ is his own tier.

      • Scarlett

        Amen Dessa. I love them both but no one will surpass Michael Jackson’s talent for years to come, not even GaGa. He was one of a kind.

      • AnnyD

        You people obviously do not know what musicianship refers to. MJ is more skilled and definately more talented is certain areas. But he didn’t have the musical knowledge (musicianship) Gaga does. tracksone is correct on that account

  • Derick

    Was it just me, or were those the wigs and biker outfits from the show Goddess in Showgirls? Did I just write that?

    • Justin

      Yasss! You are SO spot on with that comparison! I totally missed it and I LOVE Showgirls. Aww u MUST be a 80s or 90s baby to think of that! :)

    • CrystalConnors

      LMAO! Total Showgirls rip-off. I wish Nomi would have been there to push her down the stairs though.

    • You Are a Whore Darlin’

      LMAO!!!!!!!!!! I thought of that exact Showgirls performance!! That movie kills!!! This video underwhelmed me but I think it showcased the song more which is a great thing because I love the song. And for it being written for her grandfather who passed, it didn’t have to be flashy. It kind of looked like she would have looked as a little girl in the eighties just dancing around happily, even wildly to music… when her grandfather was still alive. Who knows. I do love that you others made the Showgirls connection!! And if I’m not mistaken, Gaga was wearing a “VersAce” in the video… from Gianni Versace’s last collection.

      • Kyle Arline

        I thought I was the only one who noticed that comparison!!!! :D I am so happy. <3

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