Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and I can’t get it out until I listen to it on repeat, singing it loudly in my car. Lately that song has been “You and I” by Lady Gaga. Not familiar with it? Here’s a link to the lyrical video: https://youtu.be/qN1rpYIjdNA
I would include the actual music video, but it’s so creepy and odd that it almost takes away from the content of the song all together. Screw it, here is that one too: https://youtu.be/X9YMU0WeBwU
People enjoy “You and I” by Lady Gaga for many reasons. It’s a song about going back to your first love and not making the same mistakes twice. People seem to like the beat and how real it is about relationships, or maybe it’s the fact that you can replace the word “Nebraska” with literally ANY other state and can make it work while professing your love to your cool West Virginia guy, your Arizona guy, wherever (try it, it works!) Or maybe people like the back story, that Lady Gaga wrote this song for her Cool Nebraska Guy Luc Carl who’s long in her rearview mirror, relationship wise.
But I started to realize that I like it for a different reason… it’s a little bit creepy. As I imagine Lady Gaga singing it, I picture the situation coming from the perspective of Mavis Gary from the Dark Comedy Young Adult. You haven’t seen it? That’s okay, by the end of this blog, you’ll want to. And as of 1/21/2020 it’s available on both Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Young Adult is about a divorced writer who’s old boyfriend and his wife had a baby, so she goes back to her hometown (uninvited) and intends to “rescue” Buddy Slade from the life she’s sure he hates. At one point she even says “he’s like a hostage…” Spoiler alert: Buddy Slade is just fine with his beautiful, fun wife and their new baby. Along the way she runs into former classmate Patton Oswalt who we are meant to pity because of his handicaps, but he winds up pitying Mavis for her alcoholism and overall pathetic lifestyle. Mavis was the popular girl in school who never really grew up but is determined to show everyone that she’s a successful writer. I mean, she gets manicures and pedicures on a regular basis, to me that means you’re an adult.
Now, if you haven’t heard of Young Adult, it’s probably because it was released on a limited basis and wasn’t Charlize Theron’s break out role like Monster (although one could make an argument that they’re similar roles in that the character’s trauma turned them into monsters… a blog for another day, perhaps.)
Young Adult might be my favorite guilty pleasure movie. I let it remind me that if you obsess about your past you can easily let it ruin your present and future, and if you drink diet coke from the bottle first thing in the morning, use rich men for dinner and booze and the Kardashians are your muse for your book writing… you’re bound to have a pretty lonely and isolated life.
But Back to “You and I”… I see it like this
“It’s been a long time since I came around, been a long time but I’m back in town, this time I’m not leaving without you” … As mentioned, before opening credits even roll, we see Mavis on the road back to her hometown to rescue Buddy Slade.
“You taste like whiskey when you kiss me, oh! I’d give anything again to be your baby doll, this time I’m not leaving without you…” yes, at some point she shares a kiss with Buddy but their shared drink is something called Hard Jacks, which I assume is along the lines of an Angry Orchard.
“You say sit back down where you belong
In the corner of my bar with your high heels on
Sit back down on the couch where we made love the first time
And you said to me, there’s something about this place…” Mavis makes sure she is dressed to the nines every time she sees Buddy or his wife and makes a point to remind Buddy of the old times, especially the sexual experiences.
“It’s been two years since I let you go
I couldn’t listen to a joke or Rock and Roll
Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart” …So relatable! When you break up, there are things that remind you of your ex, so you either lean into it and do those things all the time to get over it, or you try to avoid those things all together. Mavis Gary listens to “their song” from a cassette, which incidentally is Teenage Fanclub- The Concept.
“something about the chase (six whole years)
I am a New York woman born to rock you down
So want my lipstick all over your face” … and If Mavis Gary enjoys anything, it appears to be the chase of the big city woman to the seemingly poor sap working a steady and fulfilling job at General Mills.
So the next time you’re listening to your favorite Hit Music Channel and Lady Gaga’s “You and I” comes on, you can belt it out in the car knowing I’m doing the exact same thing while also hearing Mavis Gary shout in the streets “I came back for you! and I hate this town! It smells like fish shit!”