Ask anyone about the most polarizing song on the “A Star Is Born” original soundtrack and you’re bound to hear the same track listed over and over again: “Why Did You Do That?” The divisive song is performed by Lady Gaga’s Ally during her appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” and marks the character’s transition from singer-songwriter to full-blown pop star. The song’s narrative purpose in the film has become a point of contention, while the track’s opening line, “Why’d you come around here with an ass like that?,” has made it something of an instant classic.
“It’s getting a life of its own!” songwriter Diane Warren told The New York Times about the track, which she co-write with Gaga and others. “I have to take guilty credit for that [opening line]. I remember when we were working on it, I said, ‘Can we say that?’ And Gaga went, ‘Yeah, why not?'”
Warren is a Grammy Award winner and a nine-time Oscar nominee for best original song. She previously worked with Lady Gaga on the track “Til It Happens to You” from the sexual assault documentary “The Hunting Ground.” The song earned Warren and Gaga an Oscar nomination at the 88th Academy Awards. Warren told The Times that her contribution to “A Star Is Born” was written simply as a fun pop song and not as a purposely bad song that critiques the state of pop music, as some fans have suggested.
“I would never purposefully sit down to write a bad song, although I guess I’ve done some without trying that turned out that way,” Warren said. “This was a fun song, and I love fun pop songs. Not everything has to be serious all the time … The directive was just to write a fun song, something that shows she’s becoming this pop artist.”
The song is notable for being criticized by Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine later in the film. During a fight with Ally in their home, Jackson references the “why’d you come around here with an ass like that?” line as proof that Ally is losing her artistic integrity.
“It surprised me when I saw it!” Warren said of watching Jackson criticize the song. “I was sitting next to my friend and I jabbed her in the arm and went, ‘That’s my line he’s quoting!’ I love that her character defended her music. It doesn’t have to be what he thinks music should be — music can be everything. It can be a serious song, it can be a pop song, it can be a song about an ass.”
“A Star Is Born” is now playing in theaters nationwide. Head over to The Times to read more from Diane Warren.