Lady Gaga – Born This Way

written by: May 31, 2011
Release Date: May 23, 2011


Respect the vomit…

Many desires are expressed by Ms. Stefani Germanotta throughout Born This Way. She wants to get drunk, laid, loved, adored, forgiven and understood…seemingly from one track to the next. Yet the lasting impression of Born This Way is Lady Gaga’s desire to secure her longevity.

Album opener “Marry the Night” is a standard rave-up, adequate but really just a launch pad for the second track (and the album’s first single) “Born This Way.” The comparisons to The Queen of Pop (and let’s be honest, true King) Madonna’s “Express Yourself” are natural and their similarities are undeniable. While unable to add to “Express Yourself” musically, Gaga seizes the reigns lyrically on the album’s title track. Evolving the earlier theme of self expression, Gaga lets her audience know that before expressing yourself, it is best to accept yourself. The pop diva leads by example, respecting the gravity of her creativity. A lesser artist would not have been so bold as to run toward influence and comparison, or at least remain as unharmed. On the creative process, Gaga was quoted saying she “respects the vomit” of her improvisations and tries to honor it and not her own intentions. Moments like this peel away the veneer of a pants-less young woman at a Yankee’s game (and meat dresses) to expose an artist with a firm grasp not only on her art, but what art truly is. This is more than pop music and while Lady Gaga is not yet all the way there as an artist, she is a lot closer than she is given credit for.

It’s not long before “Judas” arrives with what is now Gaga’s trademark incantation of her own name. It works. The jarring chants, the unrelenting kick drum, and the overall desperation drenches the song in darkness until the chorus’ abrupt turn to pop redemption. The Lady’s tricks may not be the most subversive, but they work. It is apparent throughout the album that she is really trying to make the most out of each of her tracks, sometimes more transparently than others. Though the songs on Born This Way occasionally teeter toward overwrought, their grandiosity is easily forgiven under Lady Gaga’s control.

At the album’s worst, all that is missing is someone getting Gaga a copy of Bee Thousand, where not every song needs even two choruses to be memorable, let alone six of them.

Not every track grabs for Top of the Pops glory, however. “Bloody Mary” will satisfy even the most seasoned music fans with its laid back yet uptempo and lush grooves, making it perfect for the holy trinity of music listening experiences: exercise, dance and lovemaking. “Bad Kids” delivers some of the album’s greatest lines, from the casually delivered, “My parents tried until they got divorced ‘cause I ruined their lives,” to the coolly honest, “I’m a twit, degenerate, young rebel and I’m proud of it.” Another late surprise on Born This Way is the unbelievably titled “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love),” a title the song actually lives up to. Not since the Black Angels’ “Young Men Dead” has there been a song so destined for late night highway burns—except Gaga doesn’t drive down those roads. She flies. Even the girl-and-her-piano track “You and I” works as Born This Way’s penultimate song. Any earlier in the album and the track wouldn’t have fit right, showing that not only can Gaga write songs, but she can craft albums as well.

While the songs are consistent and the album moves along nicely from track to track, there are no complete blockbuster moments and Born This Way will not bring many of Gaga’s detractors over to her side. Looking at The Fame Monster as being recorded on the go and consisting of holdovers from The Fame, Born This Way is Lady Gaga’s first proper and meditated artistic statement since her introduction to the world. As far as establishing her longevity, she’s got absolutely nothing to worry about, as long as she keeps respecting the vomit. If Gaga can control her music the way she controls her hype, she’ll be able to create on the worldwide platform for quite some time.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way Tracklist:

  1. “Marry The Night”
  2. “Born This Way”
  3. “Government Hooker”
  4. “Judas”
  5. “Americano”
  6. “Hair”
  7. “Schiße”
  8. “Bloody Mary”
  9. “Bad Kids”
  10. “Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love)”
  11. “Heavy Metal Lover”
  12. “Electric Chapel”
  13. “You And I”
  14. “The Edge of Glory”