Lady Gaga- Born This Way: Album Review
May 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
On May 23rd, 2011, Mother Monster unleashed to the world a record intent on shattering musical taboos and praising uniqueness. That record is Born This Way. An album created solely for her fans, Lady Gaga poured her soul into making a solid Pop album. Before the album release, Lady Gaga flooded our ears with 5 singles that gave us an insight to her supposed masterpiece. Interestingly enough, the strongest songs on the album are the ones that have not been released to the public. Don’t let the Photoshop 101 album cover deceive you, Born This Way is a decent record.
The album opens with the stunning “Marry The Night”, a true dedication to Pop music. Gaga’s voice is clear and confident, with a hint of glam metal flair. With its thumping bass and ecstatic electric guitar, the track is ready for the dance floor. “Born This Way” released in February 2011, is a song that I never enjoyed. The “Gay Anthem” concept is over-thought and over-used; many people felt that it was too Madonna circa “Express Yourself”, which I completely agree with.
Nevertheless, the songs on Born This Way highlight topics that only Gaga would be brave enough to speak about. “Government Hooker”, a story about a girl who lives the life of a prostitute, sounds like it would be a tragic ballad. But remember, this is Lady Gaga we are talking about. This song, which I’ve been dying to listen to since I heard the title back in March, is a sex-filled tease. With its references to the late JFK and Gaga’s raunchy wails, this song will make you want to do naughty things.
“Judas”, another song that touches on controversy, is solid track off the album. When the song was released last month, I couldn’t bring myself to like it. But this song grew on me like no other; I even found myself humming the rhythm in the shower. What captivated me the most was that damn electronic synth; I’ve never heard something more energizing in my life. That distinct sound, combined with Gaga’s accented dictation, makes “Judas” a showstopper. “Scheibe” is one of the weirder songs on the album, but it in the best way possible. Never has the German language sounded so sexy. The song is pure Euro-trash, and it works.
But the album does have its weak moments. “Americano”, a seemingly “Alejandro” part dos, tries too hard to be interestingly eccentric. The off-putting accent and elementary lyrics just come off as strange. “Hair”, another unnecessary track, attempts to tackle self-confidence with phrases like “I just wanna be myself & I want you to know, I am my hair.” In the end, it strikes me as pretentious and lacking depth.
“Hair” also borrows the saxophone sound from “Edge of Glory”, which takes away the light from the latter power anthem. But “Edge of Glory” is definitely not a track to be ignored. The song is a power anthem like no other; borrowing Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band, the melodic and strong production turns this song into a film-like inspiration.
The album finds itself veering into Country music territory with the beautiful “You & I”, which finds Gaga’s reminiscing about a young & lost love. The southern twang adds an authentic touch to the mid-tempo ballad. It reminds me of why I fell in love with the Pop star in the first place; she sounds best when it’s just her soulful voice and her beloved piano.
Born This Way is a record that should not be overlooked; Gaga has never sounded better & her hard work is evident in every song. Yet I still have a few qualms. The beginner-songwriter lyrics take away from the flawless movie-soundtrack production; if the lyrics matched the rhythms the album would have sky-rocketed to an otherworldly level. While flawless on its own, the overall production of the record tends to blend together after a few songs; your ears soon grow tired of the repetitive 80’s revival sound. Gaga should have taken more time to edit the lengthy 17-song fusion of Glam-Metal-Euro-Pop that became Born This Way.
While it is not the ground-breaking album of the decade (as many had predicted) Lady Gaga still proves she is Pop’s strongest contenders. Yes there are unavoidable musical references to Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, even Judas Priest, but Lady Gaga takes those prominent sounds and refreshes them for a 2011 audience. All other Pop artists should take note; Born This Way exemplifies the true core of what is Pop Music.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Songs on Repeat
Songs to Skip
“Fashion of His Love”
“Black Jesus – Amen Fashion”