Are you feeling emotionally drained from repeatedly listening to "Shallow" and weeping? The Oscar-winning song from A Star Is Born is an intensely soul-stirring experience that reflects a beautifully broken love story, so no one would blame you if you’re all cried out after listening to it all awards season. Here’s the thing, though: it’s actually about cell phones. Yup. After this year’s Oscars, Lady Gaga revealed that the meaning of "Shallow" from A Star Is Born is actually cell phones, Cosmopolitan reported. So, maybe that will help you feel less sad the next time you hear it.
But, how did a heartbreaking ballad turn into a song about cell phones? Well, here’s how Gaga explained it backstage at the Oscars, according to Cosmo:
If you watched Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper fall in love on screen in A Star Is Born, odds are you’re a little bit confused at what this all has to do with cell phones. So, let’s try to unpack it line-by-line anyway, though, shall we?
Gaga starts off by saying, "I really believe in my heart that the unfortunate truth is that our cell phones are becoming reality. It’s become reality for the world." So, cell phones are definitely a huge part of our reality these days, yes. Moving on.
"And in this song we provide not just a conversation, but also a very poignant statement. I wish not to be in the shallow, but I am. I wish to dive off the deep end, but watch me do it." OK, but is your cell phone in your pocket while you’re diving off the deep end? Because knowing that would make it hard to watch. Jokes aside, it sounds like she’s saying that the "Shallow" is our cell phone reality, and she wants to get to a deeper reality.
She then ends her statement about "Shallow" by saying, "I think this is something that speaks to many people, and during, I think, a very shallow time, it’s a chance for us all to grab hands and dive into the water together and swim into the deepest depths of the water that we can." Theoretically, that sounds like a delightful idea. Are we still talking about cell phones, though? If cell phones are "reality," is she suggesting that we dive deeper into them or are we heading to a different place entirely? My head hurts.
In November of 2018, Gaga told Variety that "Shallow" is about a man and a woman connecting and listening to each other. She also said in that same interview that it’s about men not listening to women. Then she likened the lyrics of the song to reflect the #MeToo movement, saying, "We are living in a time where there’s so much conversation about women’s voices being heard. Men listening to those voices. And also, men not listening to those voices." Now, it’s about cell phones, and, really, why not?
Songs can mean different things to different people, so if Gaga feels like "Shallow" is about cell phones, then sure. Maybe it’s about all the things that she’s said it’s about. Maybe it isn’t about any of them at all. At the risk of getting too existential, though, let’s just all agree that it’s a truly beautiful track.
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