by Tallon Kennedy
On October 21st, Lady Gaga released her much-anticipated new album Joanne, the tenth track of which is the song “Hey Girl,” an Elton John influenced banger that features singer Florence Welch, and is a surprisingly poignant and moving anthem to female friendship and camaraderie in the face of a patriarchal world.
Gaga and Florence bounce off of each other in the chorus in a call-and-response, singing about how they don’t “need to keep on one-in’ up another.” Instead of competing with each other, and pitting woman against woman, the two singers portray a message of lifting each other up and having each other’s backs in the face of a male-dominated society.
It’s a refreshing take on the “American pop love song” that dominates the radio waves. Instead of another heteronormative pop song, Gaga and Florence have created a song that is homosocial in its openness of same-sex affection and intimacy. The song is daring and brave, not just because of its feminist message, but also because this expression of same-sex connection and closeness is so often tabooed in this homophobic climate.
The most touching moment on the song comes in the bridge, when Gaga and Florence sing simultaneously for the first time with the line “Help me hold my hair back / Walk me home ‘cause I can’t find a cab.” It’s both a moving portrayal of friendship in our vulnerable hours, as well as a stark reminder of the danger that women face when walking the streets alone in a society steeped in rape culture.