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Born This Way - Lady Gaga Review


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#1 November

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 08:43 AM

Album: Born This Way

Artist: Lady Gaga

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Release
May 23, 2011

Label: Interscope

I'd originally gone into this album thinking I'd have a lot of terrible, negative things to say, but nobody else here was going to listen to it and review it so I figured I might as well do it anyway. Lady Gaga is the Madonna of our generation, so naturally I expected this album to be a mess because even Madonna had plenty of flops that still went on to sell ludicrous amounts of copies, and sophomore albums just have this tendency to suck a lot. Then again, Gaga's debut album was The Fame and that album is so shitty and thrown together that I was probably underestimating her ability to actually make decent music that flowed well. Not to mention that the first two singles, Born This Way and Judas, are so underwhelming on first listen that I was not very excited to hear the rest. Regardless, here we are.

Having gone in two awkwardly different directions on The Fame and The Fame Monster, I wasn't very surprised when Gaga changed her sound again. By listening to the singles you wouldn't really know it, they just sound like typical pop nonsense, but once you listen to the full album you can hear a lot of really nice little nuances of sound that are a throwback to what made the '80s the defining era of pop music. I'd hate to pull the trigger on this a bit too soon, but if recent changes in the behavior and style of pop artists in lieu of Gaga's success are any indication then we're probably about to see a major change in the way the mainstream sounds and I like it.

"Marry The Night" is the absolute best way to start the album. There are better songs on the album, but "Marry The Night" introduces you to the album by delivering you the sound you can expect to hear without assaulting you with the title track first thing, something I appreciate as someone who dislikes the acceptance anthem for which the album was named. Though the chorus is peppered with auto-tune, it's hard to care when you're enjoying the experience so much. It starts off somewhat disappointing, sounding more like a choir rehearsal than a pop record, but she hits you pretty hard with the chorus. Where the song really shines is in the later half, where the buildup to the end of the song invokes more of a happy, danceable feel than the rest of the track can muster. This being a pop record, the lyrical content isn't mindblowing, but it's still an enjoyable track that I can see becoming a late-night party song deep into summer 2011.

Despite my initial dislike of "Born This Way" (the track), it does sort of set the mood for the '80s sound explosion that you're going to hear for the rest of the album. A very clear relapse of Madonna's "Express Yourself" in both lyrical content and sound, "Born This Way" is probably the single track with the most mainstream potential and it shows (The song set records in singles sales within its first week of release). Though I think it's one of the weaker tracks on the album, Government Hooker has a lot of potential to grow into a more likable track when you consider it's sandwiched with the underwhelming "Born This Way," "Judas," and "Americano," the last of which really isn't a bad song, but it can seem sort of redundant and its lyrical themes are a bit controversial even among her supporters.

"Judas" is an awkward track in that upon first listen you get this sense that this girl could record herself taking a dump and the queens would flock to buy it. While that's true, the song has an infectious quality about it. I don't want to like this song, I think it's too repetitive and sounds like it was recorded with a low quality mic, but calling it an "infection" earlier is probably the best thing I could say to describe how it sticks with you. Even if I skip it while listening to the album, I find myself singing along to it in my head anyway. The more I listen to it, the less I hate it. It doesn't hurt that it's the prime example of why some people have some sort of hidden respect for Gaga: "Judas" caused quite a stir with the Catholic church (then again, what hasn't?), proving that she doesn't give a fuck if you don't like her message. Gaga doesn't afraid of anything.

The album's next song is far too catchy for its own good. "Hair" opens up with the artist lamenting that her mother used to cut her hair as a means to "punish" her for her self expression (isn't this the same woman that four tracks ago was curling your hair and putting lipstick on little!Gaga?) and quickly explodes with more of the '80s regressions that make this album worth listening to. I'm not a fan of choruses, I think they're the most overrated part of songs, but the chorus to "Hair" is arguably its shining moment. Although I'm not partial to the lyrics in "Hair," the instrumentals more than make up for it. The later half of the song is accompanied by a saxophone that would make Eddie jealous (umad, Meat Loaf?), a sound that will become more prominent as the album progresses.

"Scheiße" is arguably the very best track on the album, certainly my favorite, despite the annoyingly untranslatable German and computerized instrumentals. Much like "Judas," Scheiße is one of the most memorable tracks on the record perhaps because of how different it sounds from the rest of the album. It feels right at home in virtually any setting, but was clearly inspired by Europop runway songs that make fashion shows just a lot more dancey and way less boring. The lyrics (the ones that make sense, anyway) are empowering, far more than "Born This Way" or "Hair," although they are much more specific toward women than the other songs on the record. Being a raging fag this doesn't make much of a difference to me, but, you know, whatever. Scheiße is the industry's "dream single" right now, which is to say that it's probably the best option for singles success and game-changing sound that this record can provide. Instrumentally it has hard throwbacks to Madonna's "Vogue" era, bringing the sound of the album up to the early '90s, you know, that pre-Britney/Boy Band part that didn't suck.

The worst possible follow up to the album's best song, "Bloody Mary" is a pain to get through. It's exhaustingly slow and comes at an awkward point in the album where all of the songs were just starting to get up to speeds that made it incredibly fun to listen to. It's that "cock block" moment on the record that makes you sit back and wonder what the fuck the producer for this record was on when he decided this would be a good spot to put this song; it fits in much better at the very end of the album, sandwiched between fellow slow jams "Electric Chapel" and "Yoü and I." It's not a bad song, but it really kills the mood that the middle of the album was starting to set up and doesn't really provide anything to justify putting it here.

"Born This Way" starts its decline to the finale with "Bad Kids," another one of the better tracks on the record. The '80s influence is the strongest here, especially in its chorus, and the lyrical themes are also some of the best despite not being terribly deep. Following that is "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)," an enjoyable listen but easily forgettable and probably better suited to go onto an EP or a B-Side than a full album, a quality it shares with its follow-up "Heavy Metal Lover," although the latter does get points for being arguably the song with the most bedroom potential on the album. Yeah, I sometimes rate albums by how easy they are to fuck to. Sue me.

"Electric Chapel" is possibly the most underwhelming addition to the album in regards to its boring chorus, but the rest of the song is actually really enjoyable. The best part about Electric Chapel is the soft-rock sound it proudly puts on display, easily differentiating it from the rest of the album with its guitar riffs. It also has lots of sexy time potential; definitely my guilty pleasure on the album. The album's only ballad, "Yoü and I," is one of its standout tracks. In typical Gaga ballad fashion, it sounds decidedly like something Elton would sit down and pound out on his piano or the power ballads that made rock more accessible to non-fans in the late '80s. We also hear a lot more of the guitar that makes "Electric Chapel" such a treat here and her vocals are outstanding, especially as the song comes to a close. "The Edge of Glory" is easily one of the top five tracks on the album and a brilliant song to close on. It has flakes of sound from every era that mainstream music was at its best, showing off the danceable pop of the mid-'90s at its start and ending on the sax heavy blues-rock of the late '70s and '80s, and Gaga's vocals here are lovely.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with "Born This Way," it is genuinely a game-changing album that I think will have a huge impact on mainstream pop music. It starts off sort of rocky, having only one standout track among the first three or four, but it picks up speed in the middle. The album has some trouble with song placement toward the end, particularly in "Bloody Mary," but the bookends make up for this in spades. The throwback to the late-'70s to the mid-'90s sounds really makes this album the whole package, making it one of the most accessible pop albums since before Britney and The Backstreet Boys started to ruin the mainstream. Standout tracks include "Marry the Night," "Scheiße," "Bad Kids," "Yoü and I," and "The Edge of Glory."

8/10

#2 M.C MyZtery

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 05:09 AM

ive been starting to like gaga more lately.
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#3 Grand Sage

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:33 PM

I'm just going to say, this is the record to my life..

And I quite disagree with a lot of the critique because some of your favorites are my least favorites.

Bloody Mary, Heavy Metal Lover, Electric Chapel, and Judas are my favorites off the album while Bad Kids and Government Hooker are my least favorites. However, Scheiße is high up on the list.

I'm kinda in love with GaGa. JSYK.

Born To Slay: A Track-by-Track Review of the Apostle of Pop's New Masterpiece

Marry the Night A fantastic start to the album. It starts out very slow and builds into an explosive chorus that screams GAGA. I agree that it isn't the best song on the album, however it is very indicative of what to expect for the remainder of the journey that is Born This Way. The lyrics are very personable and, though not fantastic, the instrumentation is fantastic and the groove gets me dancing.

Born This Way Chart-wise, this song did very well as the lead single off of the album of the same name. BTW, unlike Marry the Night, is NOT indicative of the album's sound. It's a simple pop-tune with a not-so-hidden message, but the production of the song was pulled off well.

Government Hooker Likely my least favorite song on the album. This song was actually released in the form of a remix for a MUGLER Women's Fashion show a few months back and I enjoyed the remixed version more than this one. I think this is because the original just seems too slow in tempo and there isn't enough sound--in other words, there simply isn't enough going on to captivate my ears. If there's any track I skip on the album, it's this one. However, the chorus is pretty sexy.

Judas One of my FAVORITES. Now a lot of people really just don't like this song. I don't know why. It's been compared to Bad Romance (Is that not a good thing?). What sets it apart from Bad Romance and keeps it in line with this new album though is the heavy influence of industrial beats and sounds. The choreography for the song is also addictive, just saying. It has a fresh sound to it and I really enjoy it.

Americano Another song I kinda say "meh" to. The beginning bores me, but if I listen long enough to get into the main part of the song, I can get down with it. It's not exactly innovative but it sounds a little more "mexican-influenced" than her previous "Alejandro" circa Fame Mons†er.

Hair Truly a beautiful song. It tells a story in the beginning about how she wanted to dress the way she wanted and how she expressed herself through her hair. Her hair was a representation of what she stood for, how she was being an individual. I think that it's great and really fits the concept of the album. As far as the music goes, it's great too. The chorus is catchy, the tempo is danceable, and the addition of Clarence Clemons (RIP) on saxophone was a welcome one, indeed.

Scheiße If this were to be a single, I'd take out some of the German gibberish because the song really flies when it gets to the chorus and actual English lyrics. It's a female-empowerment anthem about not taking scheiße from anyone and doing things yourself, really. It's a new sound that we don't hear regularly in today's music, so I welcome it.

Bloody Mary One of my FAVORITES on the album. It's haunting, slow, and changes the pace for the rest of the album. Riddled with industrial influence much like Judas and Heavy Metal Lover (ahead), this song was a daring track for GaGa to put out, indeed. The shrieking after each chorus gives me chills! And one can't help but put your hands in the air and dance when listening to it, however slow the song may be.

Black Jesus † Amen Fashion The first of the "bonus tracks" for her Special Edition. It's decent but it doesn't live up to the rest of the album. It's reminiscent of Michael Jackson to me because of the bass movement, though. I dunno. It's just okay.

Bad Kids Don't really like this song much but I catch myself singing it sometimes. It's her anthem to people who grew up as "bad kids," and she's saying she loves everyone no matter who you are.

Fashion of His Love Ah, a tribute to the late Lee Alexander McQueen. Also, it takes lyrics from one of my favorite unreleased tracks of hers from long ago, fan-titled "Then You'd Love Me" or "Earthquake." It's a good song, really, but rather generic and fitting on an album such as The Fame.

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) The song reminds me of Poker Face mixed with some sort of Rock song. I dunno. I like it, it's single-worthy, and it might do well on radio. It's different enough to possibly change the pace of modern music. You can hear her Bowie influences here.

Heavy Metal Lover SO INDUSTRIAL. By FAR her most industrial song to date. Again, this is a bedtime song. And not the sleeping kind. The bass is ridiculous and I love it. There aren't so many lyrics in the song, either. But it's so. RAUNCHY. "I want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south," she chants. WELL OKAY. And the best part about the chorus? There are 3 words in the chorus. It's just Oooooooo-ooo-oo, ooo-oo-oo, oo-ooo, ooo-ooo, Heavy Metal Lover." Fantasmigasmic.

Electric Chapel Ugh, I could just listen to an instrumental version of this song and be happy. The guitar! The solo! Mmm. And when it comes to the melody, it's really just great. I love it. I don't have a whole lot to say. But I love when she goes all growly-rock-n-roll on us.

The Queen The last bonus track, it's about her wanting to be the best she can to support her fans. It's really good and the end reminds me of the beach for some reason. My favorite bonus track.

Yoü and I Much better from the version she performed on her Monster Ball. And the guitarist from QUEEN played for her on this track! It's really great and it's about her love for Luc Carl, her on-and-off boyfriend from New York. It's just... lovely rock-pop-power ballad.

The Edge of Glory Clarence Clemons again! It's her first adult-contemporary chart and I applaud her for it. The sound is much more mature, yet it's fun. It has a deep meaning and it shows off a little more of her vocal talent than previous singles have.

Album: 9.5/10

#4 Erif

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:50 PM

It's funny because you are both gay
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#5 Nitro

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:56 PM

Yes, but GS is a queen, while Nova normally acts pretty straight. Its the reason why Nova doesn't take offense if I call him a fag, but GS would.

#6 November

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:57 PM

Also, I'll reiterate for like the tenth time that Erif is the only person who ever mentions in liberal frequency that I'm gay.

Maybe he's hiding something.

#7 Nitro

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:58 PM

Its a given that Erif is gay. But its okay, because we have all accepted that

#8 Erif

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:13 PM

I just don't want anyone to forget.

Or something horrible may happen.
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Alright, I'm tired of mind games. Which one of you two is the mom and which one's the dad? The dad would be the one that shoved the sperm into the other guys ass and pulled it out of the uterus.- BBB


To protect the forum from devastation.
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#9 November

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:16 PM

Thanks Erif. Always got my back, ohohoho.

#10 Grand Sage

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:24 PM

Yes, but GS is a queen, while Nova normally acts pretty straight. Its the reason why Nova doesn't take offense if I call him a fag, but GS would.

I am in no way a queen in real life, actually. I'm just a queen for you guys because this forum needs some life. :P

#11 Erif

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:38 PM

Thanks Erif. Always got my back, ohohoho.

As opposed to you're front? Yeah, I guess that'd be a bit [i]gay[i/i], hohohoh
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Alright, I'm tired of mind games. Which one of you two is the mom and which one's the dad? The dad would be the one that shoved the sperm into the other guys ass and pulled it out of the uterus.- BBB


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#12 Grand Sage

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:43 PM

Isn't this topic about Lady GaGa?. ;__;

*cough*

And obviously I reviewed the Special Edition of the album (review is up now).

#13 M.C MyZtery

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 03:49 AM

i danced poker face like 50 times today on kinect if that counts for anything.
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#14 Nitro

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 04:41 AM

I wonder if i can hack into mcs kinect and watch him dance XD

no creepiness intended

#15 M.C MyZtery

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 05:07 AM

its not my xbox xD;
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