Like any other album there are highs and lows. Good thing about Born This Way is there are many more of the former, rather than the latter. The highlights include the great title track, which in my opinion, is the best pop song of 2011 thus far. It sends a positive message about loving who you are and accepting your true self. The beat is incredible and the hook is unforgettable. On You and I, Gaga slows it down a bit and lets the piano carry the song. It’s a nice diversion from an otherwise pop-rock filled album that can energize any dance club. This is a song that shows her true vocal talents as she belts out several high notes, especially toward the end. Government Hooker is the most interesting track on the record due to its immediate link to what many unfaithful politicians have been up to these days. Obviously many of them can’t seem to stay faithful to their wives and look for comfort (:-)) elsewhere. Gaga touches on the subject in the song that you can’t help but sing along to. The lyrics of this track are interesting, to say the least, and it is a memorable one.
The Edge of Glory is my favorite track on the album. It has an anthem type feel to it and Gaga appears to be having a lot of fun with it. It’s easily the most ‘sing along to’ track and features saxophonist, Clarence Clemons, from the E Street Band. Clemons saxophone, which appears in a couple of tracks, doesn’t act as an unnecessary addition to the songs on which it appears. In fact, it makes the songs that much better. On Hair, which is the most well put together song on the album, his smooth sax shows up in just the right spots to add a nice flow to the song. Adding to the excellent use of the sax is the even better use of raging electric guitar throughout. This is one of those songs that seems ridiculously silly in theory (the tagline is ‘I am my hair’), but when Gaga wrote it she knew what she was aiming for. She has mentioned in interviews that when she did something her parents disapproved of, her mother used to cut her hair while she slept at night as a form of punishment. Well, the track fully states how Gaga (aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta) felt about that situation. It is a song about being yourself and wanting those around you to love you for who you are – no matter how odd you might appear to be. Of course the most controversial track is Judas. The title alone is enough to stir people up, but there is a simple meaning to the track. Although Gaga uses Judas and Jesus Christ as references in the track, it’s basically about someone who betrayed her, but she’s still in love with them…like Judas betraying Jesus, who loved him despite his ultimate sin. The fact remains that this is one of the most energetic tracks Gaga has produced to date. It’s fast, loud, and in your face…it works. Americano boasts a Spanish vibe that rivals any pop song produced by a true Latin artist. Highway Unicorn and Heavy Metal Lover are also quality tunes that are pop music gold. The electric, heavy metal like guitar that accompanies many of the tracks adds something special to this otherwise pop heavy record.
There are a couple of tracks that fall flat on the album, but overall it is a great success. One major complaint though – please stop using the word ‘BABY’ in every song. Obviously, Gaga likes using the work as it fits into most of her hooks quite well, but give it a rest…or come up with another word that sounds equally as good for the songs chorus lines. I realize that not everyone gets this chick and some don’t care to, but I appreciate what she brings to the table as far as talent, marketing, and overall appeal. Her Madison Square Garden concert that aired on HBO last month was amazing and proved just how entertaining and energetic her performances are. Vocally, she is underrated and having seen her in concert twice – I can assure you that she is much better than people give her credit for. No, she doesn’t have the pipes of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston (back in the 1990′s), but she doesn’t claim to. Lady Gaga is the definition of ‘really good pop music’. Honestly, I see her being a force in the industry for years to come. She’s incredibly creative, has a unique, albeit sometimes odd fashion sense, and is one hell of a songwriter. Not to mention, she sold over 1 million copies of her album during the first week (yes, I know Amazon had that $1 deal, but people still bought it). I am a fan…and not ashamed to admit it.
The following are some tweets/facebook posts by Gaga referring to what some of the songs on Born This Way are about or what inspired her to write them -
BAD KIDS is inspired by stories many monsters shared with me on the road. I wanted a song to tribute their stories. ImABadKidToo
BLACK JESUS was Justin Timberlake’s favorite. Its about how putting on a new spirit is as easy as putting on fashion. Amen.
BLOODY MARY is about living halfway between reality and fantasy.
GOVERNMENT HOOKER was inspired by Marilyn Monroe + political mistresses. I wonder what they were privy to + what they affected.
I wrote HAIR about how my parents used to get pissed at my outfits and my hair when I was a kid.
AMERICANO is what the American dream means to me. #LipstickRevolution
I wrote MARRY THE NIGHT about having a good time in NY with my friends, and how I would never be a Hollywood girl.
THE QUEEN is about bravery. Being unafraid to be great.
I began writing ELECTRIC CHAPEL in Australia. I finished it in Europe on my tourbus. Its about needing to feel safe to find love.
On my birthday I drank a whole bottle of wine and danced to THE EDGE OF GLORY by myself. It was the best bday ever.
Marry the Night
Born This Way
Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)
Heavy Metal Lover
Yoü and I
The Edge of Glory
plus BONUS TRACKS:
The Fashion of His Love
The highlighted tracks above are the best on the album. I recommend this record to anyone who likes pop music…and to anyone who likes when a musician gets creative and lays it all out there. Despite a couple of lackluster attempts, overall Born This Way is a major accomplishment for Lady Gaga. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
BORN THIS WAY Rating:
Below is the video for The Edge of Glory featuring the late Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band. Clarence passed away June 18, 2011.