Lady Gaga has officially come out with the music video for her new hit single “Judas” and the Catholic Church almost immediately put out a statement, prompting us to ask just how often the Pope has MTV on at the Vatican. Gaga’s video features Mary Magdaline played by none other than Ms. Gaga herself, a biker Jesus with long corn rows and the pistol from Golden Eye.
In Lady Gaga’s retelling of the Passion of the Christ, Jesus, the 12 Disciples, and Mary Magdaline are part of a biker gang, Mary Magdaline is in love with Judas and at one point before the crucifixion, Magdaline, Judas and Jesus come damn close to having a three-way in a bath tub. The Christian iconography has drawn a lot of heat, but when we look back it turns out that Christianity is a hot topic in music and music videos.
Check out these 9 songs and music videos that make Biblical allusions!
Madonna – “Like A Prayer”
In 1989, Madonna came out with the music video for her hit single “Like A Prayer” and boy, did the Catholic church love it. To today’s standards, the video is actualy pretty tame, but it had just enough burning crosses, stigmatas and making out with statues of saints to drive the Catholic church to slam the video and relgious groups to even protest it.
Kanye West – “Jesus Walks”
Maybe “Jesus Walks” shouldn’t be included on this list because in the end the music video and song itself give a pretty positive message about Christianity. But maybe, when seen in the context of Kanye West’s declaration – after the song came out – of being a type of Christ, we can justify the video making the cut. Point is, it’s got tons of religious iconography and, of course, Kanye is at the head of it all.
Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”
Like most of Kurt Cobain’s lyrics, this video is weird as all get out. But ignoring all the … other stuff, this video features crosses, Catholic ceremonial robes and even that crazy Pope hat. Things start to get really blasphemous when the video cuts to an image of an old man wearing nothing but a large, cloth diaper and a Pope hat being crucified. The video ended up winning Best Alternative Video and Best Art Direction at the MTV’s Video Music Awards in 1994.
Nas – “Hate Me Now”
What’s more controversial than being nailed to cross in true Christ fashion in a music video and having that music video aired nationally? Smashing someone over the head with a champagne bottle because of it. Apparently, both Nas and Puff were featured on the cross in Nas’ “Hate Me Now” video but Puff, a devout Catholic, demanded he be cut from the final edit. Well, that didn’t happen and when Puff found out, he let Nas’ manager have it … with that same champagne bottle we mentioned earlier.
Lenny Kravitz – “Are You Gonna Go My Way”
This one’s definitely more subtle, but the Christian references are there nonetheless. The most obvious reference is in the very beginning when Kravitz spreads his arms out in a cross position as a ring of lights decends upon his head simulating a halo and crucifixion pose. What really drives the Christ message home, though, is the fact that the lyrics are actually supposed to be told from Jesus Christ’s perspective.
Lil B – “I’m God”
Make allusions to being Jesus Christ and you get a strong worded reprimand from the Pope. So you’d think going the extra mile and just flat out saying you’re God would get a phone call or something. Lil B is yet to get a slap on the wrist from the church or a lightning bolt from the big man. Until then, check out this music video which features Lil B spending the entire video rapping in front of various Christian icons and statues.
Marilyn Manson – “Coma White”
Marilyn Manson was a pretty obvious pick for this list. The hard part was figuring out what song to choose. In terms of Christian iconography, Marilyn Manson is the Lady Gaga of NuMetal. He’s got crosses, rosary beads, nuns, priests, saints in practically all his videos. But “Coma White” definitely takes the cake. The video has got crosses throughout the entire video but the real kicker is when Manson is actually nailed to one.
DMX – “Lord Give Me A Sign”
This goes under the category of religious but not blasphemous. But the video has got the same flashing shots of crosses, monologues calling out to God, church choirs, and even DMX’s performance seems like he’s talking more to God than his audience.
Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”
If you’ve seen this video before, you may be suprised to know it’s been added to the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. We’re not kidding. You also may also look at Lady Gaga’s “controversial” new video as something you could show during an interim on Sesame Street. Seriously, if Christians wanted their beloved, religious icons ruined forever, they should have hired Trent Reznor long ago. This video features a monkey on a cross, giant slabs of meat suggesting angels wings, and … well, we’ll just let you watch.