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"Telephone" (CD Single)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this song doesn't include a lot of adult content beyond a couple references to drinking, the accompanying video is absolutely off-limits for kids -- featuring barely-there costumes, sex scenes, profanity, substance use, and intense violence.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TELEPHONE is the latest single off The Fame: Monster, Lady Gaga's most recent album. Featuring guest vocals from another mega-huge singing star, Beyonce, the song itself is pretty tame -- describing a girl who doesn't want to be bothered by phone calls from a guy while she's having a good time dancing at a club. Aside from a couple references to drinking champagne, the tune is free of explicit content; however, the new video for the song is another matter entirely. You name the mature content, the video has it: sex (two female prison inmates make out, lots of extremely skimpy costumes), violence (dozens of diner patrons are mass murdered by poison), substance use (Gaga wears sunglasses adorned with dozens of lit cigarettes), and more. It even features Gaga and Beyonce driving around in the same yellow truck (which sports the words "P---y Wagon" on the outside) that Uma Thurman drove in the exceptionally violent movie Kill Bill. Absolutely nothing about this video is OK for kids.
Is it any good?
From a purely musical perspective, "Telephone" is a four on the 1-10 scale of Lady Gaga's music. It follows Gaga's typical formula: a danceable pop hook backed by her respectably strong vocals. Even with the addition of Beyonce's killer pipes, though, the track doesn't stand out against the growing list of Gaga's similar-sounding songs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Lady Gaga would make such a shocking video for a song that's fairly tame. What might have motivated Lady Gaga to produce the video? Does she cross the line between creativity and just plain nonsense?
Though Beyonce's music and image have an implied sexuality, they're nowhere near as extreme as Lady Gaga's. Is Beyonce hurting her career by appearing in such an extreme video and associating herself with Lady Gaga?