The video for “Yoü And I,” the big, gooshy ballad on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, has leaked two days in advance of its scheduled Thursday premiere on MTV and Logo. The clip was shot in Nebraska—which gets copious shoutouts in the song, and which is the ancestral land of her “friend” Luc Carl—and it involves (deep breath) Gaga’s male alter ego Joe Calderone (pictured above), Gaga as a mermaid, Gaga as some sort of turbine-powered Real Doll, and Gaga in very uncomfortable shoes that seem to be ruining her feet for life. Also, dancing. (Of course.) Given the importance of the Cornhusker State, I thought it would be appropriate to ask writer Jami Attenberg—whose incredible novel The Melting Season is partially set in Nebraska—her thoughts on the clip.
Jami Attenberg: This song is state fair music, don’t you think? I love it—it’s classic. But obviously she’s like, I made state fair music, now I’m gonna subvert it with this fucked-up video.
Maura Johnston: Right, that’s what i was thinking too. And then she’s dressed up like a greaser…
JA: …and getting finger-fucked by herself.
JA: But also, like, can’t i just enjoy this song? Because this is totally the song that you hear when you are getting the fried dough.
MJ: So you would not say that the video accurately captures your Nebraska experience?
MJ: What about the part where they’re dancing in the cornfield in slips?
JA: You can’t stay out late after dark like that in the cornfield because it’s so buggy out. That was my farm experience, that it got super buggy after dark.
MJ: And the bugs would probably nest in the piano.
JA: And in her fake penis. You know she’s packing a fake one even if you don’t see it in the video because she’s method.
JA: I love the nebraska road shots, though. I always loved walking down the road around the farm; each block was exactly one mile and it was perfectly quiet, and you never saw any cars, and there was always dirt weed growing by the side of the road. (Weak, but if you smoked enough it would get you stoned.)
MJ: I did not know that! I need to spend more time in the country.
JA: I’d love to know where this was filmed.
MJ: This doesn’t really say.
JA: Oh, she does love Nebraska. That’s nice. It really is so pretty.
JA: It’s just so funny to imagine though! This blaring at the Nebraska State Fair, and then people go look up the video and are like, “Okaaaaaaay…” I mean, people in nebraska are pretty straight-up.
MJ: What about this quote: “It was so sweet, and I looked out and it’s so beautiful, that tall corn. … Then all of a sudden you start to see these monsters pop up.”
JA: Well, that’s because she sees monsters everywhere. Can’t blame the corn for your weirdo imagination, Gaga.