Review: Gaga’s Born This Way

“In the most biblical sense, I am beyond repentance…But in the cultural sense I just speak in future tense.”

My fascination with Lady Gaga goes beyond her crazy costumes and intense dedication to her performance art. In fact, it’s in spite of all that. I see her antics as she intends: part of the character she plays called Lady Gaga, not Stefani Germanata. I mean, have you ever seen an interview? She seems so personable and friendly and humble, and I’d like to drink some Jameson (her favorite whiskey) with her. She simply knows how to market herself (and her music). Case in point: the hype leading up to this album.

I feel like the video for “Alejandro” was the harbinger of all that is leather and awkwardly sexualized religion and, thus, this entire album. Still, I don’t think what came before prepared any of us–including her fans–for where she went with her “Born this way” video. At all. I mean, Mama Monster shows us her interstellar birth, how do you top that?

It left many of us wondering just where she would go with the new album. Those lucky enough to see her in concert (yay, I did!) or on her HBO special may have heard her play “You and I,” which makes you feel like you’re sitting in a local pub and a talented regular is rockin’ the keys and some one just bought you a shot. But then there’s “Heavy Metal Lover,” “Bloody Mary,” and “Judas” which reference religion in a seemingly irreverent way.

Personally, I’m impressed. I really thought I’d be listening to a revamped version of the Fame Monster, but no, Gaga (in true Gaga fashion) dashed all my expectations into the ground with her McQueen heels. Overall, the album could be described as “Uplifting Dance Party.” While “Born This Way” made me expect a lot more techno than I’ve been used to with Gaga’s music (a music genre I have a ‘meh’ relationship with) she offers a lot of different styles to break up the overtly upbeat dance tunes. People give her a lot of crap saying she “ripped off” Madonna, but I think the Black Eyed Peas tend to commit bigger sins of copy-cat-ism. At least Gaga admits to taking inspiration from Madonna’s music but doesn’t openly sample it. Instead she builds something new from it.

Sure, it’s similar, but it’s a modified homage.

“Judas” is catchy and amazing–I LOVE the music video for it too: more dancing, less awkward intergalactic birth scenes and prosthetics. In this song in particular you can hear Gaga’s versatility as her voice sounds different from verse to chorus to bridge.

Overt religious references mean added controversy for BTW

“Americano” is also greatness. Have you seen the movie Nine? The one about the Italian filmmaker, not the animated one. If so, then hopefully you already know where I’m going, but basically it makes you feel like you should be either doing an awesome DWTS-worthy ballroom dance or stomping around a fountain in the middle of a square. I also feel like this is definitely one that, if you didn’t know it was Lady Gaga before listening, you’d never guess it was her singing.

Simple is better, Gaga!

Overall, the songs are great to dance to. In fact, I need to cut this short for a Gaga Dance Party with the bestie. I’ll leave you with a couple awesome lyrics:

“Jesus is the new Black,” -#9 “Black Jesus/Amen Fashion”

“I’m on the edge of glory/ And I’m hangin’ on a moment of truth,” -#11 “Edge of Glory”

“Mi corazón me duele por mi generación,” -#5 “Americano” (trans: My heart hurts for my generation.)

–By Ashley Espinosa

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