Lady Gaga's "911" Lyrics Are About Taking Antipsychotic Medication

Lady Gaga and Chromatica have already blessed us ten times over, but Mother Monster graciously continued her album rollout this morning. Following her music videos for “Stupid Love” and “Rain on Me,” Gaga released a short film for “911,” her next single, this morning. If you don’t listen closely to the lyrics, it’s easy to get lost in the meaning, but let’s break down exactly what Gaga is talking about.

She opens the song with, “Turning up emotional faders/Keep repeating self-hating phrases/I have heard enough of these voices/Almost like I have no choice.” Right off the bat, it’s clear that Gaga is talking about wanting to block out the persistent negative self-talk that can take over her thoughts.

She goes on to sing:

Talking to Apple Music in May, Gaga explained that this song is ultimately “about an antipsychotic that I take.” She added, “And it’s because I can’t always control things that my brain does. I know that. And I have to take medication to stop the process that occurs.”

So when she sings, “I can’t see me cry,” it’s a reference to a potential side effect of the medication—a decline in emotional responses, like sadness and crying. And in the chorus, she uses the 9-1-1 emergency line as a metaphor for her medication, which helps her stop the process she spoke about.

In watching the short film, you can see how Gaga used thoughtful visuals to communicate what it’s like to feel outside of your body. And when the video premiered, she wrote about how this was her life before she found the medication that works for her. “Something that was once my real life everyday is now a film, a true story that is now the past and not the present,” she shared on Instagram. “It’s the poetry of pain.”

In January, Gaga opened up to Oprah about living with fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder and said, “Medicine really helped me. A lot of people are afraid of medicine for their brains to help them. I really want to erase the stigma around this.” She’s definitely chipping away at the stigma with “911” and by being so open about her mental health.

Check out the full “911” lyrics below:

If you need mental health assistance right now, call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741.

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