Much like the TV show Riverdale and Lofthouse sugar cookies, the song "Why Did You Do That?" from A Star Is Born straddles the good-bad spectrum. It's the song Ally (Lady Gaga) sings on Saturday Night Live, so it's supposed to be her big "breakout" single, right? But also, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) quotes the song to her during their bathtub fight, mocking the lyrics. So, it must be bad.
To clear things up, Bradley Cooper has provided his grand opinion. Speaking to Variety for a profile of Gaga, Cooper said, "I don’t necessarily view her music as superficial. I think she’s performing with all her heart.”
There's a lot to decode here. First, okay, Cooper doesn't think the performance is "superficial." Gaga said in the same interview she believes it is the "opposite" of the deep end she'd jumped into earlier. Narratively, this makes perfect sense. Ally leaped off the deep end in "Shallow," then, come "Why Did You Do That?" she's found her way back to the shallow.
This doesn't really answer the question, though. The people (me) want to know if it's a good song. "Why Did You Do That?" is about someone's ass looking really great in a pair of jeans. Epic poems have been composed on less. The superficiality of the song actually seems apparent. Like, yes, this is a song about sex appeal! If we really want to get nitty-gritty, maybe the song is about how Ally fell in love with a man she knew to be in bad form (he was an apparent alcoholic the moment she met him) despite her better judgment. But mostly, it's a song about butts that happens to have a pretty enjoyable throbbing bass beat.
The song's writer Diane Warren told the New York Times that it's not an objectively bad song. "I would never purposefully sit down to write a bad song," she said, "although I guess I’ve done some without trying that turned out that way. This was a fun song, and I love fun pop songs. Not everything has to be serious all the time."
You hear that, Bradley Cooper? Without further ado, we present "Why Did You Do That?"