Sometimes Lady Gaga frustrates me. Outrageousness for its own sake can come off as self-indulgent. And why does she insist on collaborating with known sexual predators? Yes, there have been questionable friend choices, tone-deaf public statements, sub-par musical offerings. But when she’s at her best, she reminds you why she’s the best and biggest thing in the pop music stratosphere. Pure, unadulterated pop music can be a magical thing, a euphoric delight, and as Gaga proves again and again, it can be a vehicle for artistic vision and deeply felt personal expression. Marry the Night is more than a music video; it’s a short film telling the (fictionalized) story of Gaga’s rise to fame. Gaga has often alluded in interviews to unspecified traumatic events she experienced in her pre-fame years as a struggling musician. The video seems to be about those times. It shows her being hospitalized in what appears to be a fantasy psych ward, then shows her freaking out after getting kicked out of ballet school – which is a direct reference to the time she was dropped from her first record label, Def Jam. Although I don’t know if she was ever in a loony bin, she did say that she suffered from depression as a result, and may have had something of a nervous breakdown. More recently, she revealed that before her success, she had been raped by a powerful producer, possibly Dr. Luke (an acknowledged asshat known for being abusive towards some of his other female protegees.) All in all, in her early years, she’d had a rough time of it. And like in the video, she used her hard times to fuel her creative ambitions. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.