While Lady Gaga is definitely well-known in the pop world for producing catchy yet nonsensical songs, bizarre music videos, and wearing meat, I’ve never heard any of her music be described as being conscious or aware of social issues.
While “Angel Down” is well-produced with solid piano work accompanied by off-kilter electronic noises, chimes, bells, and guitar, the lyrics just seem to be vague enough to be about nearly any kind of social injustice or unrest. Apparently, it’s supposed to be about Trayvon Martin, and how the justice system overlooks the unjust deaths of people at the hands of the police constant, but the lyrics don’t convey that at all.
Whereas Nas’ lyrics in “Chains” were powerful and restless, they were also specific. They told the listener exactly what was wrong and how to address it. Gaga’s song just feels like empty fluff that wants to be a source of civil unrest. In fact, had I not looked up what it was about, I would have gone on thinking it was about Dylann Roof, the mass murderer and white supremacist that murdered nine people in Charleston, South Carolina because of the lyrics “Shots were fired down the street/By the church where we used to meet.” It just makes me feel like police brutality is just the rainforest, or Tibet, or whatever this week’s cause celebrities want to flock toward is to Gaga. Then again, the lyrics might be intentionally vague so that more people could easily identify with the song, but that’s just the thing! If you’re not sure what a song’s message is, then it’s very poorly conveying that message. It make me think of a phrase that I’ve heard time and time again: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.