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Lady Gaga’s Music Video Evolution, From Provocateur To Unapologetic Visionary

The star’s provocative, and sometimes controversial, videos revolutionized the visual medium.

Lady Gaga is an auteur in the truest sense of the word. Her music videos — provocative, risqué, and controversial — revolutionized the visual format, making way for longer films, wackier stunts, and taboo topics to become mainstream. Here, NYLON breaks down her music video evolution, from The Fame to Chromatica.

“Just Dance” (2008)

Lady Gaga burst onto the pop culture scene with “Just Dance” — a song appropriately about soothing your drunken self with self-expression, and accompanied by a video filled with American Apparel bodysuits, digital cameras, and other 2008 paraphernalia.

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“Paparazzi” (2009)

With “Paparazzi,” Gaga introduced us to her fascination with fame and its attendant vices and downfalls, as well as her love for tight choreography and wearable art as costume. Plus, a make out session with Alexander Skarsgård for good measure.

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“Bad Romance” (2009)

“Bad Romance” is Gaga turned up to 11: sticky choreo, trend-defining looks, crying and drama — plus, lyrics so catchy they turned into a meme.

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“Telephone” ft. Beyoncé (2010)

What do you get when you combine Lady Gaga, bang-era Beyoncé, Diet Coke hair curlers and a women’s prison? The pure excellence that is the “Telephone” video.

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“Alejandro” (2010)

Gaga elevates campy religious iconography to make a point about lust and love, thus solidifying her status in the pop queen stratosphere.

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“Born This Way” (2011)

The otherworldly visual accompaniment to the anthem that helped a generation accept itself. Paws up!

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“Judas” (2011)

The Born This Way era continues with “Judas,” filled with all things Gaga loves: religious symbolism, fashionable excess, closeups of crying eyes, and a gaggle of hot male dancers.

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“Yoü and I” (2011)

Lady Gaga introduced her male and mermaid alter-egos in this fantastical Americana love story, and the same place she met her hot ex-fiancé, Tyler Kinney.

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“Marry The Night” (2011)

Hailed by fans as her most revealing video, “Marry The Night” re-enacts her hospitalization and subsequent trauma from a sexual assault, which she recently revealed left her pregnant at 19.

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“Applause” (2013)

“Applause” ushered in her most misunderstood era, Artpop, and was filled with her most out-there costumes to date: a busty Boticelli Venus, a smoke-breathing swan, and a face-painted mime.

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“G.U.Y.” (2014)

Throwback to that time Lady Gaga partied with basically the entire Bravo empire in this fever-dream music video stuffed with pop cultural Easter eggs.

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“Shallow” ft. Bradley Cooper (2019)

Lady Gaga’s obvious affinity for theatrics and acting culminated in A Star Is Born, with “Shallow” revealing a stripped-back side of the star we’d never seen before.

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“Rain On Me” (2020)

Entering Chromatica, in which Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande make the impending tech dystopia look chic, and like a party we want to attend!

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“911” (2020)

Theatrical Gaga briefly returns to drop off a symbolism-heavy video with a twist of an ending that leaves more questions than answers — just the way we like it.

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