We've been ignoring Lady Gaga and R. Kelly's "Do What U Want" track for months now, based almost entirely on the fact that the phrase "Do what you want with my body" is one of the last things anyone should ever say to R. Kelly -- a man who (even if you ignore all of those peeing-on-teenagers allegations) has a back catalog awash with a variety of sexual predator-speak. Just last month, we complained when he released an alarmingly rapey song called "Cookie." And prior to that, enforced pregnancy and subsequent kitchen entrapment was on the table.
When "Do What U Want" was released as Artpop's second single in October (apparently because of an overwhelmingly positive online response to the track), Gaga made it even more unappealing by having Terry Richardson -- another creep we've previously complained about -- take care of the cover art.
Critics suggested that a photo of Gaga's almost-naked ass wasn't the greatest single art she's ever produced. But she intellectualized the photo of her thong-clad butt thusly: "You will not have my heart or mind, because you don't deserve it. I would give it to my fans because
they would receive it with love ... When I look at how society has changed, I feel like this is a good time to show you my ass, because its all I choose to give you." Humpf.
"Do What U Want" ultimately was a '70s-inspired plodder of a song that we were happy to leave in 2013 so we could see Gaga get back to the business of doing all of the other infinitely more interesting things that we love her for. But on New Year's Day, a new version of the single dropped, this time featuring Christina Aguilera, with whom Gaga had duetted on it for The Voice's Season 5 finale.
Now, while the performance on The Voice was a vast improvement on the previous R. Kelly-related version of the song -- thanks to more sass, more spunk, and more vocal prowess than Kelly is capable of -- releasing another version of Lady Gaga's dullest-ever single isn't just unnecessary, it feels rather a lot like flogging a dead horse.
To make matters worse, the recorded version featuring Aguilera seems a bit like those annoying Star Wars remakes where new creatures have been tacked on to hide the old ones -- there's just something incredibly jarring about it. Aguilera and Gaga's duet was a great TV moment alright, but great T. moments are a lot more special when they're left in the public consciousness: something to look back on fondly and occasionally re-watch on YouTube, alongside old VMAs footage.
Ultimately, we suspect this vastly unnecessary release has more to do with the fact that The Voice is super into releasing everything that ever happens on its show as a single. Or that Gaga and her people wanted an R. Kelly-free version of the track after his sexual assault allegations came back into the public light in December. But "Do What U Want" was never originally intended to be anything more than an album track -- so the fact that it has been released twice now is just distracting. Move on, Gaga: please!