In what currently feels like Christmas for Little Monsters everywhere, Lady Gaga released her new single "Million Reasons" on Thursday, further amping up anticipation for her new album, Joanne. And, boy, does it confirm that the album will be going in a whole new direction than what we've come to expect from Gaga. Stripped down to basics, completely raw and with a drifting country twang to it, the song feels earnest and emotional, with Gaga's lyricism and voice given centre stage. On one level, it seems completely obvious what the lyrics to "Million Reasons" are about, but the song also appears to possibly have some extra, hidden depth to it.
Recently, the singer told E! News that many songs off Joanne are "inspired by [her] personal life," and "Million Reasons" definitely feels like a personal song for how intimately raw it is. As a result, it's hard to listen to the song and not ponder whether "Million Reasons" is about Taylor Kinney and Gaga's relationship with, and recent separation from, him. On the surface, that definitely seems to be the case, with the repeated refrain of the song providing "Million Reasons" with it's emotional backbone:
You're giving me a million reasons to let you goYou're giving me a million reasons to quit the showYou're givin' me a million reasonsGive me a million reasonsGivin' me a million reasons
While on the surface, this refrain sounds like the desperate plea of a lover who's been repeatedly disappointed by their other half, the line "you're giving me a million reasons to quit the show," is quite ambiguous and seems to suggest that Gaga could be singing about far more. Is this a literal show that she's wanting to quit? Or is the idea of "quitting a show" being used as a metaphor about feeling dejected enough to want to just give up on life as she knows it? The second verse seems to suggest that it could be the latter:
Head stuck in a cycle, I look off and I stareIt's like that I've stopped breathing, but completely aware'Cause you're giving me a million reasons
There's references throughout the song to feeling disappointed in not just a lover, but in life in general. Of feeling so let down in something or someone that you can get completely lost and suffocated in your own thoughts in trying to even begin to understand it.
In "Million Reasons," romantic heartbreak is presented as a catalyst for these feelings, but ultimately the song appears to be about having your faith challenged. Faith in love, faith in life, and faith in God. The way that Gaga's faith has been challenged, for instance, is highlighted in these lines where mistrust leads to a complete lack of belief:
And if you say something that you might even meanIt's hard to even fathom which parts I should believe
But the chorus of "Million Reasons" also appears to provide an example of Gaga's faith in practice, with the singer using her religious faith as a means for helping her through her heartbreak. And, ultimately, her religious faith could well be the "one good thing" she needs in order to "stay":
I bow down to prayI try to make the worst seem betterLord, show me the wayTo cut through all his worn out leatherI've got a hundred million reasons to walk awayBut baby, I just need one good one to stay
The bridge of "Million Reasons" also confirms this idea in an incredibly powerful way:
Can't you give me what I'm needin', needin'Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faithBut baby, I just need one good one
Though the song may seem extremely fraught with sadness, confusion and heartache, its main message appears to be a pretty positive one. After all, the majority of us can probably find a million reasons not to be happy, to believe in something, or to continue with a relationship or aspect of our lives. But we can all probably also find one good reason against all of that — be it religious beliefs, a particular passion, love or the respect we have for ourselves. And that's definitely a sentiment worth singing about and sharing.