The Bottom Line
There are songs that make you think, "Wow!" when first hearing them, and then there are others that make you think, "Hmmmm..." "Judas" is one of the latter. If heard in isolation there would be much about "Judas" that grabs the attention and generates awe and wonder. However, this is Lady Gaga and there is a context of past music for comparison. Fitting "Judas" as a puzzle piece in the artistry that is Lady Gaga reveals flaws and questions when listening to the song.
- Catchy multi-layered melodies
- Aggressive approach
- Cultural gimmickry
- Ideas we have heard before
- Written by Stefani Germanotta and Nadir Khayat
- Produced by Lady Gaga and RedOne
- Released April 2011 by Interscope
Guide Review - Lady Gaga - "Judas"
When hearing "Judas" for the first time, any Lady Gaga fan is likely to have both "Bad Romance" and "Born This Way" come to mind. "Judas" shares the multi-layered melody lines and large, martial atmosphere with "Bad Romance." It is put together with juiced-up instrumentation and an urgent speed that brings to mind "Born This Way." Those elements would seem to indicate "Judas" would end up something stunning, powerful, and memorable. Unfortunately, in this case, it all seems like less than the sum of the grand parts.
Perhaps one of the biggest problems lies in the subject matter and lyrics of "Judas." Her most recent hit "Born This Way," although a bit wordy, felt filled with things that needed to be said about equality and self-esteem. However, here the talk about Judas as an enticing lover despite betrayal seems calculated to capitalize on its release during Christian Holy Week. Does Lady Gaga really need to court religious controversy in order to sell her music? Release the song a week later and this would not seem like the crass effort at cultural gimmickry it appears to be.
Musically, "Judas" is quite catchy and hits with a solid arsenal of dance-pop weapons. However, we have heard much of this in slightly altered form on "Bad Romance." Are Lady Gaga and RedOne, her collaborator here, running low on musical ideas? The sound overall ultimately is not as grand as "Bad Romance" or as in-your-face as "Born This Way."
Lady Gaga does have a history of releasing some weaker tracks as singles from her collections while there are a number of quality songs left to be simply album tracks. "Alejandro" and "LoveGame" come to mind as weaker singles. "Judas" will not reduce the anticipation of the Born This Way album when it is released in full on May 23, 2011. However, do not expect a six week run at the top of the charts for "Judas" either.