Venus (Lady Gaga song)

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"Venus"
Venus by Lady Gaga No.1.png
One of three covers released alongside the track.
Promotional single by Lady Gaga from the album Artpop
Released October 27, 2013 (2013-10-27)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2013
Genre
Length 3:54
Label
Writer
Producer
Artpop track listing
"Aura"
(1)
"Venus"
(2)
"G.U.Y."
(3)

"Venus" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga from her third studio album, Artpop (2013). It appears as the second track on the album. It was written by Gaga, along with Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair, Hugo Leclercq, Dino Zisis, Nick Monson, and Sun Ra, and produced by Gaga herself. Originally intended as the second single from the album, it was released as the first promotional single from it on October 28, 2013 on iTunes Store, after the positive reception of "Do What U Want", which was planned to be a promotional single only.

"Venus" is a synthpop and dance-pop song with four hooks, which lyrically presents Gaga as the goddess of love, from Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus. It also name-checks the planets in the solar system. The singer had been promoting "Venus" before its release, by tweeting its lyrics, also as part of a countdown for the release of Artpop. Three different artworks were done by Steven Klein, including one with a scorpion attached to her head, a picture of a dead bat and a third seeing her standing naked with an open clam shell superimposed above her shoulder and covering her lower face. The artworks attained an ambivalent reaction from critics, who deemed them as "weird" or "striking".

Upon its release, "Venus" received mixed reviews from music critics, who called the song catchy, but preferred the previously released "Do What U Want", and had mixed feelings towards the lyrics. It attainted moderated success on charts around the world, peaking within the top-forty in Australia, Germany and the United States, while reaching the top three in Finland and Spain. Gaga has performed the song on the tenth series of The X Factor (UK), along with a suggestive performance of "Do What U Want", which prompted complaints to the broadcaster and British media regulator, Ofcom, due to Gaga's costume, performance and suggestive lyrics, which was broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

Recording and composition[edit]

"Venus" was written by Gaga, Sun Ra, Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair,[1] and Hugo "Madeon" Leclercq, along with little-known EDM/house composers Dino Zisis and Nick Monson, who contributed to many tracks on the album peripherally. Lady Gaga produced the song, sampling the French electronic duo Zombie Zombie's cover of Sun Ra's "Rocket Number 9", from Interstellar Low Ways (1966).[2]

"Venus" is a synthpop and dance-pop song[3] written in the key of F minor. The song is written in common time with a tempo of 121 beats per minute. Additionally, four hooks were written.[4] According to Jon Pareles from The New York Times, it is a "mutating, episodic dance-floor track, [in which] the singer presents herself as the goddess of love in the 'seashell bikini' painted by Botticelli."[5] Lyrically, it is space-themed, name-checking the planets in the Solar System, with references to the planet's mythical counterpart, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.[3][6] The extraterrestrial themes draw comparisons to Katy Perry's "E.T.".[3] John Walker from MTV Buzzworthy noted that "During Gaga's futuristic ballroom emcee moment, where she channels something straight out of Paris Is Burning: 2389, she utters the line 'Uranus!/ Don't you know my ass is famous!?' That's, like, the greatest version of 'Don't You Know Who I Am!?' that we've ever heard."[7]

Release and promotion[edit]

Gaga was inspired by Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus, which was also featured in the cover art for Artpop.[8]

Lady Gaga announced "Venus" would be the second single from Artpop on October 10, 2013, via Twitter.[9][10][11][12][13] However, on October 22, 2013, Gaga announced that due to its overwhelming success on iTunes Store, she would release "Do What U Want" featuring R. Kelly as the second single instead of "Venus", making the latter the first promotional single, with Gaga tweeting, "Don't worry monsters! We are still scheduled to release #Venus this Monday with a snippet on Friday! AND it will STILL have its own video".[12] A preview of "Venus" was released on October 25, 2013. A second preview was released the following day. The full track was made available for streaming on October 27, 2013 through Vevo. It was released for purchase on Monday October 28, 2013 at 12:01 am.[14]

Gaga revealed several lyrics for the song through her Twitter account as part of a countdown for the release of Artpop. Upon the single's announcement, she tweeted the lyric "Take me to your planet / take me to your leader/ take me to your Venus"[15] and the following day, "let's blast off to a new dimension..... in your bedroom".[16] On October 15, the lyric "have an oyster, baby / it's aphrod-i-sy / act sleazy" was posted,[17] and three days later, the lines "When you touch me I die / just a little inside. / I wonder if this could be love / this could be love" and "I can't help the way I'm feelin' / Goddess of Love please take me to your leader" were tweeted.[18]

On October 25, 2013, Gaga debuted three single covers, which were photographed by fashion photographer Steven Klein.[19] The first one shows Gaga naked with a scorpion balanced on her head, the second sees Gaga also stood naked with a kebab in her mouth, while another shows dead bat lying flat on its back.[20][21] Rap-Up called the artworks "striking",[22] while Metro commented that the covers were only "another photo[s] of Lady Gaga doing something weird."[23] When the song debuted on YouTube, yet another picture was used to accompany the audio, showing Gaga in metallic paint with a scorpion attached to her head.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, "Venus" received mixed reviews from music critics. Shirley Li from Entertainment Weekly was positive, and described it as "catchy".[3] Lars Brandle from Billboard gave a positive review to the song, noting its "catchy, radio-friendly chorus."[6] Philip Sherburne from Spin wrote that Artpop gets "a lot artier" with "Venus".[24] Mikael Wood from Los Angeles Times expressed that its "throbbing disco-glam" groove "feels like a throwback to her "Just Dance" days", calling it "fun, kind of, but hardly extraordinary."[25] Spencer Kornhaber from The Atlantic commented that with the song packing four separate choruses makes the music sound "enormous".[26] Christina Lee from Idolator gave a positive review, saying that "'Venus' doesn't waste a single moment dealing with subtlety or nuances of any kind. 'Venus' swings like a pendulum from one emotional extreme to another, from its deadpan hashtag rap to its glittering dance balladry.[4] John Walker from MTV Buzzworthy called the song "crazy, otherwordly, barely intelligible sense, but still — sense!"[7]

While reviewing Artpop, Jerry Shriver from USA Today recommended "Venus" for download.[27] Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone gave the song 3 stars from 5 and wrote that Gaga's "space-disco ode to the planet of sex sounds even more like Madonna than you'd expect, especially "Papa Don't Preach".[28] Philip Matusavage from MusicOMH called the song an attempt to be "self-consciously epic", but it is a "disjointed mess" instead.[29] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine felt that the song confirms that the singer knows how to write catchy hooks, but she doesn't know what to do with them.[30] In a separate review, Alexa Camp from the same magazine, called the song a "tongue-in-cheek album filler" with non-sense lyrics.[31] A review by Popjustice awarded "Venus" 4/10, calling it "tragic" and "worrying" that it almost became a single from Artpop, adding that "this song simply isn't finished. The production is incredibly basic, the lyrics feel like a first draft, and the middle eight is a disaster."[32] Michael Cragg from The Guardian expressed that "Venus" was not "good enough to support the weight of the clanging metaphors" of the album, and called the song "almost parodical".[33]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 108,000 copies of digital downloads sold.[34][35] Following the release of Artpop, the song sold 3,174 digital downloads to debut at number 76 on the UK Singles Chart.[36] It has sold 21,016 digital downloads in South Korea, as reported by Gaon.[37]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Venus" will be directed by filmmaker Ruth Hogben,[38] who previously collaborated with Gaga on interludes for The Monster Ball Tour and photographed her for the October 2013 issue of Elle magazine.[39] As of May 2014, no information about its production or the actual video have surfaced yet.

A shortened version of the song is included in the full length music video for ARTPOP's third single, "G.U.Y.". It is played as Gaga enters Hearst Castle and is lowered into the Neptune Pool.

Live performances[edit]

Gaga performing "Venus" on ArtRave: The Artpop Ball

Gaga performed "Venus" for the first time at London's G-A-Y nightclub on the October 26, 2013, stripping naked in the process and provoking a frenzy on social media.[40][41] The day later, she sang the song along with "Do What U Want" on the tenth series of The X Factor (UK), with a flurry of backup dancers and seashells covering her breasts.[15][42] The singer removed the blond wig she wore and started singing "Do What U Want".[42] Gaga briefly sat in front of a piano while singing an acoustic version of the track, before the singer climbing atop the instrument.[43][44] ITV, which aired the performance, and Ofcom, the British media regulator, received around 260 complaints regarding the performance, due to Gaga's costume and the suggestive lyrics of the track, which was broadcast before the 9pm watershed.[45] A spokesperson from the channel released a statement that they did not believe the performance to be inappropriate.[46] The UK's Office of Communications (Ofcom) said that they will assess the complaints and would investigate based on their results.[47]

The singer performed the song along with "Do What U Want" again on The Graham Norton Show, which was aired on November 8, 2013.[48] In the opening for the Lady Gaga and the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular, Lady Gaga performed this song with The Muppets as backup singers.[49] Gaga performed the song on Japanese variety show, 'SMAP×SMAP'.[50]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[51]
  1. "Venus" – 3:54

Charts[edit]

Charts (2013) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[52] 31
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[53] 36
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[54] 22
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[55] 11
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[56] 19
Denmark (Tracklisten)[57] 23
Finland (Suomen virallinen latauslista)[58] 3
France (SNEP)[59] 9
Germany (Media Control Charts)[60] 35
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)[61] 2
Hungary (Single Top 20)[62] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[63] 13
Italy (FIMI)[64] 7
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[65] 37
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[66] 30
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[67] 20
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)[68] 31
South Korea (Gaon Chart)[69] 4
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[70] 1
Sweden (DigiListan)[71] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[72] 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[73] 76
US Billboard Hot 100[34] 32
US Dance/Electronic Songs (Billboard)[74] 13

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[51][75] October 28, 2013 Digital download Streamline / Interscope

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b Lee, Christina (October 27, 2013). "Lady Gaga's "Venus" Has (Finally) Arrived". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
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External links[edit]