Achieving the Impossible: Is “Gypsy” Art and Pop?

ARTPOP is certainly Lady Gaga’s magnum opus. She embraces her place in the music industry while also challenging her audience to delve deeper than they ever have. Unlike her previous, simple crowd-pleasers such as “Just Dance,” Gaga attempts the seemingly impossible: creating real art that also appeals to the masses. In other words, the title of the album says it all. This record is a proper fusion of the worlds that Mother Monster lives between at all times: ARP and POP (with art first).

“Gypsy,” one of the final tracks on the album, is a perfect example of her artistic expression. Beneath the synthesizers and thumping bass, there are piano melodies, poetic lyrics, and, most importantly, true meaning.

The lyrics feature a conversation between a man and a woman. At the start of the song, the man states that he must leave the woman in order to travel the world:

Sometimes I think that we could just be friends
'Cause I'm a wandering man, he said to me

He then questions their relationship asking:

Does this thing we have even make sense?
When I got the whole world in front of me

From the beginning, Gaga establishes one of her extended metaphors. She is the woman, and the man represents her career. His eagerness to leave and experience the world is similar to the pressure Gaga feels to travel on tour and perform show after show. In an effort to cope with the loneliness of traveling the world and leaving one’s family and friend’s behind, the woman exclaims:

I don't wanna be alone forever
But I can be tonight
I don't wanna be alone forever
But I love gypsy life

Likewise, Gaga tells herself these same words because she knows she loves performing all over the world despite the sacrifices she has to make such as missing her family and friends. 

Gaga continues her poetry with simile. Having embraced the journey, the woman remarks:

Like Dorothy on a yellow brick
Hope my ruby shoes get us there quick
'Cause I left everyone I love at home

Here, she is clearly referencing the Wizard of Oz. When she compares herself to Dorothy, she illustrates the beauty and terror that accompany her adventure. Although Dorothy faces evil (The Wicked Witch of the West), she also finds friends and a happy ending. Similarly, there are dark parts to Gaga’s story (loneliness), but there are also great rewards: she gets to live her dream.

At the heart of the song is Gaga’s biggest metaphor. She is a gypsy. Thus, this is the title of her song/poem. More correctly referred to as Romani, gypsies are people who more from place to place. Although there is already plenty of meaning behind this metaphor, Gaga takes it further than just an explanation of her lifestyle. She finds beauty within this comparison to make a real statement: this song is a love letter to her fans. Although she moves from city to city, she finds a new home with her fans everyday. Gaga accepts that she is a gypsy, but she concludes that gypsies don’t have to be lonely:

Thought that I would be alone forever
But I won't be tonight
I'm a man without a home
But I think with you I can spend my life

By the end, Gaga finds happiness. As a superstar, she is like a gypsy. Even though she feels lonely sometimes on tour, she remembers that she will always have her fans. She ends the song listing dozens of countries before she finally sings:

Be my home just for the day
I'm a gypsy, gypsy, gypsy hey

3 thoughts on “Achieving the Impossible: Is “Gypsy” Art and Pop?

  1. ALEXANDRA NICHOLSON

    I love how she breaks these societal norms that the woman has to conform to giving up on their dreams. Lady Gaga shows throughout this song that she will pursue her career and that she enjoys herself as a superstar. This is what truly makes her happy. This is a great analysis.

    Like

  2. Jasmine W

    I recently watched Lady Gaga’s documentary on Netflix and your analysis perfectly summarizes the story she shares. And, while most of us are not pop star singer icons, I definitely think her message is applicable to everyone in some aspect or another. (And I definitely recommend watching it if you’re interested.)

    Like

  3. Sam S

    It’s interesting to analyze the metaphor in terms of loneliness because people often turn to relationships precisely to counteract loneliness, yet here the relationship would symbolize the pressures of her career and therefore contribute to loneliness. Perhaps this could be construed as a more nuanced look at loneliness in the sense that one might constantly feel surrounded by love and adoration (fans) but lack closer/more intimate connection while on tour.

    Like

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