Letters to a Pop Poet: “Million Reasons”

Welcome, welcome back… #howdypartner

So it is, and here we are … again, again. Another release, another write to go left… I still can’t help it, it just happens; I still love my life, I still love this record, and yet, I still don’t like pretense, that said —


So, since Joanne “is like, you know, Lady Gaga if you erase all the fame,” which is all well and good and full-stop brilliant, and since we know for sure the album is an entirely autobiographical work from the lady behind the fame, you might ask:

“What’s the point in delving into a work which said lady has already placed meaning and quite fully explained?”

(Likely in not so many syllables, but you’re not me elaborating on what you, an imaginary reader, might or might not say or do, so, alas, I digress, proceeding…)

I like conversations and dialogues #shockofallshocks There’s always an alternate perspective, an element which has not been brought to light, that other manner in which something can be read, regardless of if at the genesis it was “right.”

So, here, I didn’t go into “Million Reasons” with any rhyme or reason to wax or wane poetic, and it would be disgraceful to critique or analyze an autobiographical work as such (I mean, how, can you possibly judge someone else’s expression of their perspective on their own life). I didn’t intend to write about it, it just… happened. I was making breakfast, pouring over coffee, and a verse into the tune, it hit me: Rilke.


What if this was just a letter to a Pop poet… Stef’s response to Gaga or vice versa (it’s not, for the record)… just a dialogue that could mean anything… just a conversation between a fan and her flame… it’s never just about Gaga, it’s about the Gagas in us all… and if this was for that girl in the back of the crowd with the Grigio in one hand, and the baby cradled in the arm of the other… how is this not, within some capacity, about that fameless face aiming to connect in that fameless space with us all?

(Less pretense, more standard illustrative intro #likewealwaysdoatthistime #egregriousamounts #improperlyplacedrhyme #egrigiogirlslife)

So… this is the part of the album countdown where I riff on a record (a few, a miscellany, thus far) out of some odd cosmic compulsion to relay a message to which I have no direct connection, but still figure that’s the fun in contemporary cultural records — get what the kids want and have fun with it — who knows if it’s right or wrong, just write what you feel when you vibe with a song ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This, in the immediate, is the part of the piece beyond the pretense (if you made it this far down, you: are a jukebox, juicebox hero #doubletimeprime) where I mused melodrama and waxed and waned poetic dialectics into a recording device for eight minutes and thirty-one seconds, and where below is the verbatim transcription… the part of the show, where eye give a literary glimpse into the shadow… if, if I were to take a go and say this song is Gaga’s flow about the Million Reasons Stef had to let her go… that would be what is featured below … the

Vinyl Mind Flow

So, we’ve got a million reasons to let go, a million reasons to quit the show… It’s a million dollars to leave the industry… That’s a million reasons, and a million dollars, and a million euros to let go of the hand of every fan who called it ARTFLOP. All those GIFs, all those memes, all those lines, all those feeds, all those meaningless things unfathomable to believe, everything that’s telling you, “You’re not real.” Everything saying, “We spite you.” Everything saying, “We’re destroying a false concept we created blindly, for the sake of a marketplace that’s freer than we are.” Every reason to leave… and then… there’s that one. That one fan, that one fan. And she knows that for everything they’ve said in those moments of confusion, in those moments of getting caught in a false illusion — imperfect as it may be — this is the one to stay.

And when you get on your knees, and you pray to a Lord that does not exist in the marketplace that attempted to destroy you, you pray for the strength and validity and authenticity of that truest frequency, and it’s the only thing that remains when you close your eyes… when you shut down, and when you can hear nothing but that beautiful sound, coming from the hills… before you had a license to go to a place where you were born. Before you had a license to drive to a place where you existed all along. Before you had a license to reside among the gods in splendid isolation and perpetual connection to those angels, fallen and exalted. And it was just you, it was just Joanne.

And somehow that fame came, and somehow that alchemy turned into a golden calf, and they thought that gold was real because it glittered so brightly, and yet the alchemy had just begun… because you started at The Fame, got caught up in a love game, and when cupid pinched, you never flinched, and here we are eight years later and it was all a blur… like a Henry Moore sculpture, wrapped in David LaChapelle and Nick Knight photography, dancing to Bowie, filmed at The Factory… residing in The Haus.

Somewhere beneath that dead leather, somewhere after that glitter-bombed scorched earth, there’s a calf. There’s that fresh newness, there’s that youth. Somewhere in the GP exists that one fan who didn’t know they were. Somewhere in that lost fame, Joanne calls Gaga’s name and pulls her from that place of splendid isolation, pulls her from celebrity to artistry, and that’s all fine, and that’s all well and good. Somewhere she calls to him, she calls to Judas, that beautiful fan that didn’t know any better, when they turned their back… that beautiful fan who was created to love something that was going to be destroyed inevitably.

That beautiful fan who believed so much in the original message, that they abandoned it when it ceased to exist; and she will always make music for them, because that is the one reason that you would turn down paycheck, after paycheck, after paycheck. When they tell you that this is the reason to stay. When they tell you that this is the game, and that you are forever a player when you put your name on that dotted line, this is why you come back time after time… and those deafening roars that the masses feed you, pale in comparison to that one line of truth at the Sunday altar.

You raised a Haus of saints, you raised an ashram of angels, that don’t exist anywhere except your music.

There’s a million reasons to leave, there’s a hundred million dollars on that table, and yet here, somewhere… she sings to that one good reason to stay, creating in a place projected as a game. This is real, it is no longer theatre: this is real; that illusion has manifest, this is no longer the antithesis of “Applause,” this is the essence.


Million reasons… if, if I were to blinkk it, I’d say… it’s for the fans. It’s for the fans of Joanne. This is for the Lady Gaga who lost her fame. This is for the Gaga whose fame is her flame. This is for the Gaga that no one knows where she actually went, when Stefani showed up. This is for the Gaga who’s a fan of herself as much as any other fan who pledges allegiance to that maker that was in the shadows for so long. This is Joanne speaking on behalf of the Gaga you left behind because she wasn’t famous the right way this time, because ARTPOP said more about you than you cared to see: because that mirror was cracked, and it was a shattered reality, and it was history being slapped together with the future, and the present, and it was too much. And so when you hear that they want, “the bops,” you’re like: “What did I give you last time, and what did you spite?” Trying to find those exact words, searching on bended-knee for that magic multi-syllabic string, to translate… when you hear they want that dark, brooding: “What did you spite about the light?”

This is nothing more than ashes to ashes and dust to dust… the sound of this, the tone and the timbre, the running theme and message, is nothing more than ashes to ashes and dust to dust: between those strings, beneath that terrestrial percussion, within the rhythms of those human vocal chords… all that we see, all that we hear, all that we exist in this moment, this auditory moment, is ashes to ashes and dust to dust, and in a world of false materiality projected reality… in that divine sonic space: we trust.

The one reason to stay is to find that most essential good that existed within every human connection with another grounded angel that was born this way.

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