Lady Gaga's New Video Explained: Dead Diners, Americana and Cigarette Sunglasses

Decoding Gaga: "Telephone" Is More than the Eye Can See

Lady Gaga's highly anticipated music video "Telephone" has helped cement her place in pop history -- having been viewed online a record 15 million times in less than five days.

The video marks the second collaboration between Gaga and Beyonce -- they previously worked on the video for Beyonce's song "Videophone." It is also the second time Gaga has worked with director Jonas Akerlund, who previously did Gaga's video "Paparazzi."

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The nine-minute "Telephone" opens at a prison, where Gaga is brought and thrown in a cell. She does not sing until three minutes into the video when she is paged to answer a phone call.

"Hello, hello, baby; you called/ I can't hear a thing/ I have got no service in the club you say, say...." she sings.

"Just a second; it's my favorite song they're gonna play and I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?/ You shoulda made some plans with me; you knew that I was free/ And now you won't stop calling me/ I'm kinda busy."

The video has caused a flood of online speculation on the Internet as to what exactly all the fast-moving, seemingly disconnected images really mean. What does the prison imagery have to do with some of the lyrics? Why does Gaga poison the food at a diner while she sings?

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"What I really wanted to do with this video is take a decidedly pop song, which on the surface has a quite shallow meaning, and turn it into something deeper," Gaga told E! News. "The idea that America is full of young people that are inundated with information and technology and turn it into something that was more of a commentary on the kind of country that we are."

Whether or not the video achieves Gaga's goals, we asked "Telephone" director Jonas Akerlund and Gaga blogger and doctoral student Meghan Vicks -- whose blog about "Telephone" was tweeted by Lady Gaga herself -- to decode the singer-songwriter's many visual metaphors.

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Vicks said the prison scenes were a metaphor for imprisoned identity.

"It seems like Gaga herself is also entrapped as well as being in prison," Vicks said. "She is draped in chains and her cigarette sunglasses bar her vision. I see the metaphor in the eyes of [French philosopher Michel] Foucault's [book] 'Discipline and Punish,' in which he uses prison as a metaphor for how we as society produce identities.

"To him, the prison represents all the social factors that dictate who we are. Gaga is playing with that idea and turning it on its head by trying to create her own identity rather than let any other factors dictate what her identity will be."

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The most telling scene in the prison, Vicks said, is the one in which Gaga is standing next to a figure who looks a lot like a younger Gaga. the figure is actually Gaga's younger sister, Natali Germanotta, who is also an Amy Fisher look-a-like.

"The earlier Gaga [Natali] figure doesn't seem very upset by the prison," Vicks said, "And Gaga has to abandon that figure to break out."

Akerlund said that the music video begins in prison because the story is a continuation of the "Paparazzi" video. The last shot of the paparazzi video is the Gaga character going to prison.

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