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Born This Way

Lady Gaga: Born This Way

  • Lady Gaga
  • Pop
  • Out now
  • Interscope, Streamline, Kon Live
reviewed by
Haisam Awad
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Lady Gaga: Born This Way

What can be said that hasn’t already been said
about Lady Gaga? Yes, you’re correct: not much. She effortlessly courts
controversy, while continuously producing music that’s hard to fault for even
the most hardened of cynics. She’s surpassed peers and predecessors without
breaking a sweat, and Born This Way
is of course a circus we all expected it to be.

The album opens with the modest ‘Marry the
Night’ that promises all the quintessential pop you’ll find in the rest of the
album, before getting going with first single and title track ‘Born This Way’;
an uncompromising statement on her own sincere eccentricities. Things really
pick up with ‘Government Hooker,’ which channels all the worst German pop
sounds that you can think of. It strangely works, though: suspend your disbelief just a little, and even casual fans will find it catchy, will
press replay, and even though they’ll be left disappointed, will turn up the volume up to catch the words.

Following on, we find her proclaiming her
love for ‘Judas’. Claiming that Judas represents a never-ending cycle of wrong
decisions, it’s a more delicate window into the very private Gaga soul and the beginning
of a fixation with Christianity. Very little needs to be said with regards to
songs called ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘Black Jesus’, which is devastatingly not a
cover of the 2pac song.

The
religious references are simultaneously provocative and meaningless, and the
music itself is an invariable 80s mix. Think of a crisper, cleaner, cooler 80s sound. Apart from closing track ‘You and I,’
which sounds like a bad pop cover of a rock&roll song, the album follows
the pattern of questionably arranged, dubiously written, catchy pop. It’s only
an ever-so-slight digression from her first album, but Lady Gaga has at least
demonstrated a slight musical depth. It would be unfair to expect the same
impact as The Fame, or for her to rip
up the proverbial rule book again, and so at least this is not offensive to the
senses.

To wrap this up in a package and label it
as a Madonna copy would be unjust and inaccurate. For one, the vocals are
better. Lady Gaga has a better voice; that’s obvious enough. If this must be
held up as a derivative of the 80s sound, though; at least it’s a good one.

It’s
no surprise to hear that Born This Way
has been banned in Lebanon, and will almost certainly continue to ruffle
feathers. There’s a fine line between the insane and the acceptable, the
tasteful and the tasteless; and for better or for worse, Lady Gaga has again
taken the absurd and the ridiculous, and made it completely normal.

Like This? Try

Madonna, Katy Perry, Rihanna

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