Musically, "Bad Romance" features a spoken bridge, a full-throated chorus and sung lyrics that address the situation of being in love with one's best friend. The song, containing elements of the music from the 1980s and the 1990s and influences of German house-techno music, has been described by Gaga as a pop experimental record. Most critics praised the song and compared it to Gaga's second single "Poker Face" (2008). "Bad Romance" was a commercial success that reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, Irish Singles Chart, Canadian Hot 100 and the Swedish, German, Austrian and Danish charts, while peaking at number two in countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Also a critical success, "Bad Romance" was ranked the ninth best song by Rolling Stone in its list of "25 Best Songs of 2009" and received the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance on February 13, 2011. According to IFPI, the single has sold 9.7 million copies in 2010, making it her second-best selling single behind "Poker Face".
The accompanying music video features Gaga inside a surreal white bathhouse. There, she gets kidnapped by a group of supermodels who drug her and sell her to the Russian Mafia for sexual slavery. The music video ends with Gaga killing the man who bought her. The video received positive responses for its artistic treatment and visual imagery; critics complimented its provocative and symbolic plot. It was nominated for ten awards at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, eventually winning seven of those, including the Video of the Year. The video also won a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.
Gaga has performed "Bad Romance" on several television shows – including Saturday Night Live and Gossip Girl as well as award shows such as the 2009 American Music Awards. It was the closing song of Gaga's The Monster Ball Tour, during which, she performed it while standing inside a giant gyroscope.
"Bad Romance" was the first single from The Fame Monster, Gaga's follow-up to her debut album The Fame. Before its official release, a demo version of the song was published illegally on the internet, prompting Gaga to designer Alexander McQueen's 2010 Paris Fashion Week show, followed by the song being released on October 19, 2009. Gaga explained that "Bad Romance" was one of the songs she wrote in 2008 while touring. The songs composed during that time are about the various "monsters" (paranoias) she faced during the tour. One of them was the "love monster" and the inspiration for "Bad Romance". Gaga explained that she generally felt lonely when she was in relationships, and concluded that she gets drawn to men with whom the romance never works out. Hence "Bad Romance" was the song that detailed whether she preferred such lonely relationships, or it was her wrong choice in men. In Grazia magazine, Gaga further detailed her inspiration, "I wrote ['Bad Romance'] when I was in Norway, on my tour bus. I was in Russia, then Germany, and spent a lot of time in Eastern Europe. There is this amazing German house-techno music, so I wanted to make a pop experimental record. I kind of wanted to leave the '80s a little bit, so the chorus is a '90s melody, which is what the inspiration was. There was certainly some whisky involved in the writing of the record. It's about being in love with your best friend." The cover art was released on October 15, 2009, and shows Gaga in a red dress, with her face down and covered by the dress fabric. Bill Lamb from About.com praised the cover art saying, "Gaga is maintaining her hitting streak of generating powerful images to accompany her music and stage presentations".
|"Bad Romance"A 30 second sample of "Bad Romance" where the chorus is played, supported by the Rah-rah hook.----|
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"Bad Romance" was written by Lady Gaga and RedOne, while the later produced it. The song was recorded at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles and FC Walvisch Recording Media Studios at Amsterdam. According to Gil Kauffman from MTV, "Bad Romance" is similar in tempo to Gaga's previous single "Poker Face". The song opens with Gaga singing a portion of the chorus, then transitioning into the "Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah, Roma-roma-mah, Gaga-ooh-la-la" hook. It is followed by the sound of drum beats and the sound of keyboards. After the first verse, the bridge follows, with Gaga voicing the line "You know that I want you, And you know that I need you, I want your bad, your bad romance". The full-throated chorus then follows, where she sings "I want your love, And I want your revenge, You and me could write a bad romance [...] Caught in a bad romance". During the interlude, Gaga sings the verses from the chorus in French: "Je veux ton amour, Et je veux ta revanche, Je veux ton amour".
At About.com, Bill Lamb writes that the music is well suited for playing at fashion designer shows and on the runway. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine said that the music consists of New Wave synths and a number of endless hooks. Simon Price from The Independent felt that the chorus has influences of the music of Boney M while The Guardian reviewer Kitty Price wrote that "Bad Romance" recalled the music of Depeche Mode's 1986 album, Black Celebration. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Bad Romance" is set in common time with a metronome of 119 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of A minor with Gaga's vocal range spanning from the low-note of E3 to the high-note of A5. The song follows in the chord progression of Am–C–F–C–G in the verses and F–G–Am–C–F–G–E–Am in the chorus.
The lyrics address aspects of a bad relationship but also discuss fashion in the line "Walk, walk fashion baby, Work it move that bitch crazy." In an interview, Gaga pointed out that she was listing Alfred Hitchcock films in the verse, "I want your psycho, your vertigo shtick, Want you in my rear window, Baby when you're sick." She said, "What I'm really trying to say is I want the deepest, darkest, sickest parts of you that you are afraid to share with anyone because I love you that much."
EnlargeGaga performing "Bad Romance" on The Today Show live performance"Bad Romance" received mostly positive reviews from critics. Lamb listed the song as one of the top tracks from The Fame Monster, and commented that "Lady Gaga's singing is at its best so far here as she moves from threatening to floating sweetness and back again. [...] If you had any fears that Gaga would be one album flash in the pan, the room filling beats and melodies of 'Bad Romance' should help dispel them." Gil Kaufman from MTV described the "minimal beat [of the song] stays at a low boil for most, [...] rising up in an ecstatic, Erasure-esque throb during the chorus, but lacking the immediate pull of some of Gaga's biggest hits to date". Other critics also found references to music from the 1980s. Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine characterized the song as one of the album's highlights and explained that "if melodies could be time-stamped, [this] would have '80s branded on [its ass]". Kitty Empire of The Guardian wrote that singles like "Bad Romance" make Gaga more comparable with Madonna.
Referring to her emerging popularity, Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone said that "'Bad Romance' makes [Gaga's] name a Teutonic chant". Christopher John Farley from The Wall Street Journal praised the catchiness of the hook of "Bad Romance", and Michael Hubbard from MusicOMH felt that the chorus of the song is Gaga's best yet. Pitchfork Media placed "Bad Romance" at number 39 in its top 100 tracks of 2009, saying it was "epic in construction". The dark nature of the music was noted by Simon Price in The Independent, who said that the first line of the song "I want your ugly, I want your disease" set the tone for the Gothic nature of The Fame Monster. Likewise, Edna Gundersen of USA Today commented that "Synth-powered 'Bad Romance' is a ferocious club thumper with a sordid underbelly". The Boston Public Health Commission rated "Bad Romance" as number 10 on its list of "Top 10 List of Songs with Unhealthy Relationship Ingredients".
Mikale Wood of Los Angeles Times called the song "Europoppy", and at the BBC, Paul Lester stated the song as "cheesy", while comparing it to the music of Andy Warhol. Monica Herrera from Billboard stated that "Bad Romance" was not as catchy as Gaga's previous songs, but it had "wicked" sex appeal. Jon Blistein from L Magazine wrote about the organization of the song. He felt that "'Bad Romance' revels in the nightmare it tries to create with Hitchcock references and somber vocals," but the song lacked cohesion. Blistein called it an amalgamation of Cher song, faux-European accented verses, power disco chorus and a bland spoken-word bridge. Daniel Kreps from Rolling Stone, while writing about the song's initial leak, felt that the song was comparable to "Poker Face" and was not on par with her other singles. Rolling Stone also ranked the song at number nine on its list of the "25 Best Songs of 2009". On February 13, 2011, the single won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
EnlargeGaga performing "Bad Romance" on The Monster Ball TourIn the United States, "Bad Romance" debuted at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Gaga's highest debuting song on the chart. It sold 142,000 paid digital downloads in its first week. After two weeks the song moved from number eleven to number two, which became its peak. The movement was spurred by 49 percent digital gain, thus pushing the song to the top of the Hot Digital Songs chart. "Bad Romance" became her second highest peaking song on the Hot 100, behind "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipment of a million copies of the single. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the song has sold 4.613 million paid digital downloads in the United States, making Gaga the first artist in digital history to have three singles—along with "Just Dance" and "Poker Face"—pass the four million mark in digital sales. "Bad Romance" debuted on the Pop Songs chart at number 38 and moved to the number one position, making it Gaga's fifth consecutive number one single on the chart. The same week it also topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. According to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, "Bad Romance" set the record for most weekly plays in the 17-year history of the Pop Songs chart, registering 10,859 plays from 130 radio stations monitored for the chart. The record was later broken by Kesha, with her song "Tik Tok".
The song debuted on the ARIA Charts of Australia at number 16, and at number 33 on the New Zealand RIANZ charts. The next week, "Bad Romance" was the greatest gainer on the ARIA charts and moved to position three. On its seventh week on the chart, the song reached a new peak of two in Australia, and a peak of three in New Zealand. The song was certified three-times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 210,000 copies of the single. On October 29, 2009, "Bad Romance" debuted on the Irish Singles Chart at number 20; it reached the top in its seventh week. On the Canadian Hot 100, "Bad Romance" debuted at number 58. The following week it reached number one, making it the third song by Gaga to top the Canadian chart. After being replaced by "Tik Tok" for two weeks, "Bad Romance" again claimed the top spot on the chart. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) certified "Bad Romance" seven-times platinum, for shipment of 280,000 copies of the single.
After its release in the United Kingdom, "Bad Romance" debuted at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart. In December 2009, the song reached the top spot, making it Gaga's third UK number one single. She became the first female in British chart history to have three number one singles in one year. Two weeks later, in the first week of 2010, "Bad Romance" returned to the number one spot, making her only the second female artist of the 21st century to have two separate runs at the top spot. "Bad Romance" was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 400,000 copies of the single. In Sweden, the song debuted at number three and after two weeks, reached the top of the chart. Across Europe the song debuted on the main charts of Austria, Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland (to be on top 50 for 65 weeks from late 2009 to early 2011), Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The song debuted on the European Hot 100 Singles at number 40 and on January 23, 2010, "Bad Romance" topped the chart, remaining there for two weeks. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the song has sold 9.7 million copies across the world in 2010.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Gaga confirmed that film director Francis Lawrence had directed the music video for "Bad Romance", and that she was impressed with the final version. She explained, "I knew [Lawrence's] ability as a director is so much higher than what I could [do]." Her creative team Haus of Gaga managed the art direction, and the final video premiered on November 10, 2009. Gaga described her experience of working with Lawrence: I wanted somebody with a tremendous understanding of how to make a pop video, because my biggest challenge working with directors is that I am the director and I write the treatments and I get the fashion and I decide what it's about and it's very hard to find directors that will relinquish any sort of input from the artist. [...] But Francis and I worked together. [...] It was collaborative. He's a really pop video director and a filmmaker. He did I Am Legend and I'm a huge Will Smith fan, so I knew he could execute the video in a way that I could give him all my weirdest, most psychotic ideas, [...] But it would come across to and be relevant to the public. Gaga created a pair of razor-blade sunglasses—which she believed portrayed tough female spirit—to wear in the video, explaining "I wanted to design a pair for some of the toughest chicks and some of my girlfriends [...] they used to keep razor blades in the side of their mouths, [...] That tough female spirit is something that I want to project. It's meant to be, 'This is my shield, this is my weapon, this is my inner sense of fame, this is my monster.'" The white latex suits in the video were inspired by the wolf costume from the film Where the Wild Things Are. Gaga also wore designer Alexander McQueen's 12-inch (300 mm) high shoes.
The main idea behind the video is that of Gaga getting kidnapped by a group of supermodels who drug her, and then sell her off to the Russian Mafia for a million rubles. It takes place in a fluorescent white bathhouse. The video begins with Gaga sitting on a white throne in a brightly lit white room. The scene shows her wearing the razor blade glasses and surrounded by people and a harlequin Great Dane. She has her finger on the mute button of an iPod speaker, and as she releases it, "Bad Romance" begins to play and a dimly lit bath house is shown. A bright light pans across the walls, activating fluorescent lighting, that shines through a sign reading "Bath Haus of GaGa". As the first hook of the song begins, a group of female dancers wearing white long-sleeved leotards with knee high boots and matching crowns crawl out of white, coffin-like pods. The center pod has "Mons†er" written on it, and Gaga emerges wearing a similar outfit to the others, who begin to dance behind her. A pastiche of following scenes alternates between Gaga singing to herself in front of a mirror and lying in a bathtub.
When the chorus of the song begins, two women pull Gaga out of the bathtub, rip her clothes off and force her to drink a glass of vodka. As the second verse begins, Gaga, wearing a diamond-covered outfit topped with a crown, seductively dances for a group of men bidding for her. She straddles one of the men, played by Slovenian model Jurij Bradač, and performs a lap dance for him. Afterwards, the man raises his bid and becomes the highest bidder for her. When the chorus is played for the third time, Gaga is shown wearing a faux polar bear hide jacket. She walks towards the man, who is sitting on a bed and unbuttoning his shirt, while drinking a glass of vodka. Gaga has a look of indifference on her face and removes her jacket and sunglasses. Suddenly, the bed spontaneously combusts with the man still sitting on it and Gaga sinisterly sings in front of the flames. The video ends with her lying beside a smoldering skeleton, on top of the destroyed bed, covered in ashes. With soot smeared across her body, she calmly smokes a cigarette, while her pyrotechnic bra activates.
Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly compared some of the dance choreography of the video with the music video of "Thriller". He said, "I don't think Gaga has ever looked prettier than in the close-ups where she's more stripped down." Jennifer Cady of E! was also impressed by the video and commented, "This music video really makes us appreciate everything Gaga actually brings to pop music. She's exciting to watch, plain and simple. [...] We need someone like Gaga to really bring it. To put actual thought and care into her product so that it feels alive." Daniel Kreps from Rolling Stone felt that the scenes from the music video were reminiscent of the work of Stanley Kubrick. He added that in "Bad Romance" Gaga portrays her craziest ideas yet. Jocelyn Vena from MTV believed that the video was symbolic and portrayed that "the old Gaga is over, here's the brand-new Gaga: the one who seems to delight in pushing the boundaries and exploring all manner of sexual proclivities." She further believed that the video was a testament to Gaga's brilliance "as an artist that uses the video artform as the jump-off point for the next leg of their career."
The Wall Street Journal noted Gaga as one of the few pop stars of present time, who really understood spectacle, fashion, shock, choreography—all the things Madonna and Michael Jackson were masters of in the 1980s. Bill Lamb from About.com wrote that "like the song [the video] blasts at your senses until you are just left drowning in the audio and visual power of it all." On August 3, 2010, the video received 10 nominations at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Special Effects, Best Choreography, Best Direction, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, and Video of the Year, tied with Peter Gabriel's song "Sledgehammer" for the record for most nominations for a single video in the history of MTV Video Music Award. It went on to win seven of the categories. The video won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.
EnlargeGaga, surrounded by her dancers, performing "Bad Romance" on The Monster Ball Tour, while standing inside a gyroscopeA portion of the song was performed on Saturday Night Live on October 3, 2009. Gaga wore a complex outfit called "The Orb", designed by Nasir Mazhar and her production group "Haus of Gaga". Described by Gaga as a "fashion installation", it consisted of concentric metallic rings that revolved around her. After finishing her performance of "LoveGame", Gaga sat at her piano and played an acoustic version of the chorus of "Bad Romance". She performed the song on the TV show Gossip Girl episode "The Last Days of Disco Stick". The performance took place at a private show arranged by the character Blair Waldorf. In an interview with MTV, Gaga explained that the decision to perform on the show was inspired by her sister. She stated that she did not want the performance to be out-of-tune with the storyline of the show, so she worked with the script-writers to incorporate it into the plot. The performance included many ladders, symbolizing bad luck; it featured Gaga wearing a 35-foot (11 m) long dress. According to the show's executive producer Stephanie Savage, the song incorporated a few Gossip Girl specific lyrics. The performance began with her emerging from two giant doors in a large red gown. She climbed up a ladder, from where she sang parts of the song. Her male dancers danced around the ladder as she continued to sing.
"Bad Romance" was also performed at the 2009 American Music Awards, where she coupled it with "Speechless", from The Fame Monster. Gaga was dressed in a flesh colored bodysuit wrapped with white piping, and embedded with flashing lights, imitating ribs and spine. The performance started with "Bad Romance" and Gaga dancing around the stage, ultimately breaking open a glass door with the microphone stand. It was performed on The Jay Leno Show where Gaga wore a pair of black sunglasses and a black jacket with shoulder pads that extended above her head. Her male backup dancers were dressed in black suits and S&M inspired headgear. Both "Bad Romance" and "Speechless" were performed at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 25, 2009. Gaga performed "Bad Romance" on the British TV show The X Factor on December 6, 2009. The performance had her singing inside a four meter long bath tub as well as playing the piano while sitting on a toilet. "Bad Romance" was performed as the last song of Gaga's The Monster Ball Tour. She performed the song in an '80s-inspired white power suit with exaggerated high shoulders and highwaisted pants. The performance was done while standing in a human sized gyroscope. "Bad Romance" was also performed at NBC's Today Show, along with "Alejandro", "Teeth" and a new song called "You and I".