Guns N' Roses' "November Rain," the epic music video by which all epic music videos are measured, clocks in at just over nine minutes, or roughly the same amount of time for Lady Gaga to actually start singing in her new "Marry the Night" video. For eight minutes and 47 seconds, Gaga once again takes her Little Monsters on a bizarre tour of cut-and-paste dialogue, otherworldly fashion, quick glimpses of borderline nudity, and too many post-modernistic pop culture references to list. Except this time, Gaga herself directed the video, so there's really no filter telling her to turn the volume down on her weird and ambitious vision.
"Marry the Night" starts off with Gaga, strapped to a bed in a mental hospital, providing audio commentary to her own music video, telling the viewer who designed the nurses' uniforms (it's next year's Calvin Klein) and why they wear berets to the side. Next comes a long scene where Gaga, "the morphine princess," tells her nurse, "I'm gonna make it… I'm gonna be a star… You know why… 'Cause, I have nothing left to lose…" And then, finally, the music starts at the four-minute mark. Except it's a piano concerto and not "Marry." It'll be another four minutes before the 'Born This Way' single turns up.
Next comes the most controversial segment of the video where Gaga bathes and dyes her hair sea foam green and dumps Cheerios on herself while completely nude. Only a black censorship bar added in post-production prevents this video from being even too explicit for YouTube. Following that sequence, where Gaga seemingly has a mental breakdown, we next accompany Gaga to a dance audition and she talks about owning a Bedazzler.
Then suddenly, without even an attempt to maintain continuity, there's a burst of synths and we're in a parking lot at night and cars are on fire. Gaga is seen trying to maneuver her way into a Pontiac Trans Am. She slips an 8-track into the deck and then, after an eight-minut-and forty-seven-second lead-up that felt longer than an Andrei Tarkovsky film, "Marry the Night" finally starts.
The music video itself is routine: Gaga dancing in the parking lot, Gaga keeping pace with the pros at the dance rehearsal, naked Gaga singing in the bathtub, Gaga hurling champagne glasses at the wall and lugging a giant keyboard up the stairs of a walk-up apartment building. All that hard work pays off, apparently, because there's a scene where she steps into a limo and the message "Interscope Records, Hollywood, CA, 4 p.m." is scribbled on her hand. The dancing concludes with Gaga and her crew busting moves under what looks like the bridge from 'The French Connection'.
In the video's final act, we see Gaga in hell, sitting on a piano and wearing her satellite hat as flames surround her. There's probably some deep context to this last scene, but after 14 grueling minutes of non-stop, over-the-top imagery, it's difficult to analyze its meaning. If this is in fact the final music video from 'Born This Way', "Marry the Night" is an appropriately bombastic closing chapter for her Grammy Album of the Year-nominated disc.