Lady Gaga continues her complicated relationship with fame on the official second single from “ARTPOP,” “Do What U Want” – an unlikely duet with the music industry’s resident creepy uncle R. Kelly. On the surface, “Do What U Want” sounds like just another ode to partying and GETTING IT ON, but it’s more than that. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll hear a completely different kind of ode: an ode to the HATERS! Specifically, the media. “Write what you want, say what you want ’bout me, if you’re wonderin’ know that I’m not sorry…you can’t have my heart and you won’t use my mind, but do what you want with my body!” Gaga wails over a grungy electro beat courtesy of producer DJ White Shadow. It’s kind of like the musical equivalent of a rowdy teenage girl on Maury double-flicking off the camera while she shouts, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME, YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!” But I digress.
R. Kelly is a surprisingly nice addition to the track, even if his smooth verse about taking shots and smoking weed in the club is thematically irrelevant. There is an interesting turn on the bridge where Gaga confesses that she’s scared of what might happen to her if the world suddenly stopped paying attention – would she “fall apart”? Uh, let’s see. This is the woman who wore a giant fur chicken nugget on her head in order to grab headlines while promoting “ARTPOP” in Berlin today, later donning a handlebar mustache. So, yes, of course she would fall apart. How is that even a question. Still, I guess it’s nice to know that deep down Gaga KNOWS that she’s an attention seeking sewer rat.
Is “Do What U Want” better than “Applause”? Absolutely. Is that saying much? Not really. Gaga’s fame commentary isn’t nearly as slick as she thinks it is. But the general public seems to be under “Do What U Want’s” spell…at least for now. Shortly after its release, “Do What U Want” shot straight to the top of U.S. iTunes, a move that impressed Interscope label execs so much that they decided to upgrade the song from promo single to official second single. A bold move, especially considering the song’s already fallen to #8. I guess we’ll just have to see if radio gets on board. What do you think? Is “Do What U Want” another top 10 hit for Gags?
“ARTPOP” will be released on November 11th in the U.S. Previously planned second single “Venus” will still be released as scheduled on October 28th.