Is "Sinner's Prayer" About Taylor Kinney? Lady Gaga's Lyrics Are Definitely About Heartbreak
After much preparation, collaboration, and promotion, Lady Gaga's highly anticipated Joanne has finally been released, and it is one of Gaga's most intimate records and takes the NYC singer back to her roots. As evidenced by her dive bar tour, Gaga is ready to be as real as possible, which naturally means that the subjects and stories behind her newest songs will be up for discussion. While going through my first listen of Joanne, I specifically wondered if Lady Gaga's "Sinner's Prayer" was about Taylor Kinney, being that the content seemed to be about leaving a man, but not exactly wanting to.
When Gaga released her first single, people were quick to wonder if "Perfect Illusion" was about Kinney, considering they had only recently announced their breakup. While the stories rolled, Gaga confessed that it wasn't exactly about their relationship, but more about the state of dating in the world today. She told Andy Cohen an interview on Sirius XM, "I love Taylor so, so much, and this song is not a hit out against Taylor. He's my best friend... And I would never use my song or want to use the public to hurt anyone that I love so much.”
From that answer it's safe to say that she wouldn't totally call Kinney out in a song, but that doesn't rule out that "Sinner's Prayer"could be inspired by her relationship with him, because that was a major part of her life while she was writing this record.
The first verse of "Sinner's Prayer" details a specific outing for a couple:
I came down the mountainDraggin' our love affairPut on a pretty little numberI'm wearing you stillIt was a hell of a scene at daddy's feastNobody saw it coming, but the little red devil in me
Was this the mountain that they were coming down from? It's possible, but she's probably not speaking literally. I also take the "daddy's feast" line as being some sort of fight or problem while they were having dinner with her family, perhaps even at Gaga's parents' restaurant in NYC, aptly named Joanne Trattoria.
In the second verse, Gaga sings about her sister, Natali Germanotta, possibly to show a parallel in their relationships with men:
Got a baby sister who looks just like meShe wants nothing more than a man to pleaseMaybe she's in too deepHer love for him ain't cheapBut it breaks just like a knockoff pieceFrom Fulton StreetThe man's got a gift for getting what he wants
While that verse could simply just be about her sister's relationship, the chorus of "Sinner's Prayer" is where a further hint of Kinney's inspiration lives. In the chorus she sings about her personal sinner's prayer, a Christian term for a specific prayer spoken for forgiveness:
Hear my sinner's prayerI am what I amAnd I don't wanna break the heart of any other manBut you, but youHear my sinner's prayerIt's the only one I know
In the line "I don't want wanna break the heart of any other man, but you", she is admitting she isn't perfect and she loves this man so much that she would only ever even want to break his heart, not even have the option to break any others. As sad as that sounds, two people going through an intense heart break together might end up being greatest way they are connected. In her interview with Zane Lowe, Gaga said of the song, "This song is about singing to a man just telling him, ‘Look I just don’t want to break the heart of any other man but you, but I know that I’m a sinner.’" Well, there you go.
Earlier this year, it looked like Gaga was posting more religious themed photos and quotes, and this one particularly stood out to me, with a caption that stated, "Gotta leave yourself room to discover something new. Even at the last minute." Perhaps around the time of her and Kinney's breakup, Gaga was reaching back to her Italian Catholic roots as a way to find comfort, and "Sinner's Prayer" was born:
While "Sinner's Prayer" might not explicitly be about Kinney, Gaga certainly speaks about the inner demons she was battling in the aftermath of a breakup. This is likely her song to find peace and understanding in the complexity of loving another person so much.