Lady Gaga – Born This Way

May 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Lady Gaga | 10 Comments
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  1. Marry The Night
  2. Born This Way
  3. Government Hooker
  4. Judas
  5. Americano
  6. Hair
  7. Scheiße
  8. Bloody Mary
  9. Black Jesus † Amen Fashion
  10. Bad Kids
  11. Fashion Of His Love
  12. Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)
  13. Heavy Metal Lover
  14. Electric Chapel
  15. The Queen
  16. Yoü And I
  17. The Edge Of Glory

Described as the “greatest album of this decade,” Born This Way has been the most anticipated album of the year since the day it was announced. The hype for this album has been so great and I can’t even remember the last time an album received this much attention. Whether you love or hate Gaga, she’s been the talk of the media and there’s no way to get away from her. She gets bigger and bigger as time goes on and it doesn’t look like she’s going to lose steam anytime soon. The album is heavily influenced by the 80s and it mixes rock ‘n’ roll, metal and pop which results in a truly bizarre album. I’ve never been a huge fan of hers but that all changed the moment I listened to Born This Way.

Lady Gaga embraces the dark for Marry The Night which is introduced with organ-like synths and her strong vocals. The song immediately starts building up during the pre-chorus until it explodes into the chorus which is filled with loud drums and heavy synths, creating an 80s dance and rock sound. What’s different about this song compared to the songs from her last album is that there’s an underlying light feel to the track. Gaga’s vocals are amazing as always especially when she belts out in the chorus, “I’m gonna marry the night/I won’t give up on my life.” It’s powerful, loud and it’s a great attention grabber since the upbeat chorus is completely unexpected. The second verse is more upbeat than the first as the percussion is incorporated into it. The bridge is superb and it’s my favourite part of the song. Gaga’s vocals flow so well with the gritty rock elements and it’s just irresistible, “come on and runnnnnn/turn the car on and runnnnnn.” Even at the end, the song throws in new elements like clapping beats and a groovy synth line while Gaga screams out “the night” repeatedly. She couldn’t have chosen a better song to start because this represents the album’s sound of light and dark perfectly. The title track, Born This Way, is an empowering pride anthem and it’s one of the year’s biggest hits. This track left a lot of people torn, including myself, because it didn’t live up to any of the hype surrounding the album. I was extremely confused when I heard it because it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. However, it has grown on me tremendously and works much better in the context of the album. In the intro, Gaga states “it doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M” as the electronic beats start to surface. One of the things that stuck with me when I first heard this song was the light natured atmosphere. In the verses the arrangement is composed of drums and buzzing synths while the bridge adds more synths to the melody, making a more vibrant atmosphere. Before, I felt that the lyrics in the verses didn’t flow very well with the melody and they sounded a bit awkward but after warming up to it, it doesn’t bother me so much anymore. The highlight of the song is the uplifting chorus that comes very close to sounding like gospel inspired dance pop, “ooo, there ain’t no other way/baby I was born this way.” I’ve always been impressed with the bridge because not many artists would actually sing, “no matter gay, straight, or bi/lesbian, transgendered life/ I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive.” It’s the most crucial part of the song and it’s a great message. The clapping at the end gives off a choir vibe and Gaga whispers a very powerful statement, “same DNA/but born this way.”

It wouldn’t be a Gaga album without a dirty song and Government Hooker takes its place as her nastiest song to date. It’s also the first truly dark song on the album and it’s a feast of slutty goodness. Gaga uses her vocals in an unexpected way in the intro as she sings her name in opera and it sounds amazing. With dirty, gritty and stuttering synths Gaga performs in seductive vocals, “I could be girl/unless you want to be man/I could be sex/unless you want to hold hands.” It’s so sexy and it continues to get hotter when the male backing vocals are added in the pre-chorus, “as long as I’m your hooker (back up and turn around).” Her screechy vocals in the chorus, when she screams “hoo-ooookaaaaaaaa-er,” are ridiculously amazing. After the chorus, the drums begin stuttering and the melody becomes a fusion of dance synths for the post-chorus. There’s so much going on in the track that it always has a hold of your attention. The only real political reference appears in the bridge when Gaga speaks in a seductive voice, “put your hands on me John F. Kennedy,” and the maniacal laughter in the background is very creepy. The song still manages to throw out some more surprises as the outro incorporates censoring, “I wanna **** government hooker/stop **** me, government hooker.” This is a rollercoaster of a song and I can’t get enough of it. Judas worked much better than the first single in making me excited for the album and it’s got everything I love about Gaga. This song is structured similarly to Bad Romance but it’s darker and way more experimental. The chanting is just as amazing, “Judas Juda-ah-as/Judas Juda-ah-as/Judas Gaga,” and I may love it more than the chanting in Bad Romance. After the chant, the song erupts into hard buzzing synths and foreboding drums that push forward the dark religious ideas of Judas. I love how gritty the verses sound and Gaga’s vocals are great especially her intonation which is very interesting and her wailing in the pre-chorus. In contrast to the dark verses, the feel of the song changes drastically in the chorus because it is influenced by an 80s dance sound, “I’m just a holy fool/oh baby it’s so cruel but/I’m still in love with Judas baby.” The breakdown in the bridge is unexpected and so are the lyrics, “fame, hooker, prostitute wench vomits her mind,” and “Judas kiss me if offenced/or wear ear condom next time.” It makes the song so much better and the layering of Gaga’s deep and high vocals sound great.

I can’t resist a campy song and Americano is no exception. This song is so over the top, loud, messy and there’s so much going on but it’s one of my favourite tracks. The arrangement has an overwhelming flamenco and mariachi sound due to the castanets and guitar. Laced with the Spanish instruments are heavy synths, making the composition truly spectacular. Gaga employs the Spanish language for half of the verses and she sounds really good, “mis canciones son de la re-revolución/mi corazón me duele por mi generación.” It adds to the Spanish flavour of the music but the highlight is the theatrical chorus. Gaga’s vocals are strong, the lyrics are a lot of fun, “I don’t speak your/I won’t speak your/Jesus Cristo,” and her dramatic wailing in the post-chorus makes the song irresistible for me, “ahhhhh Americaaaa Americanoooo.” The outro is another fantastic part of the song and I love how her vocals sound. This is such an interesting track and its exciting from start to end. This dark take on flamenco is very creative and it’s one of the most daring pop songs I’ve heard. Hair has Gaga proclaiming how she wants to be as free as her hair. This is another empowering song but it’s much better than the first single. It opens with lovely ad-libs from Gaga and she’s accompanied by a delicious saxophone and piano. The first verse is laid-back and it’s very uplifting as she sings with sincere vocals, “I scream mom and dad why can’t I be who I want to be?” During the pre-chorus, the percussion is added and the tempo picks up with Gaga singing “I am my hair.” The song quickly turns to dance-pop for the chorus and it’s so addicting. The added synths are layered with the other instruments, producing a fast-paced power anthem. It even goes into rock and metal for the post-chorus where her vocals become heavily vocoded. The second chorus keeps the upbeat arrangement and the edgy synths go with the rebellious lyrics. Her vocals are gorgeous in the bridge and you can hear the emotion pouring out of her voice as she cries “I’m my hair, I’m my hair/it’s all the glory that I bare.”

Scheiße, meaning shit in German, draws on euro-trance and it’s the only club banger on the album. Gaga announces “I don’t speak German but I can if you like” and this leads to her speaking faux German in emotionless vocals. As she repeats the German hook, the electro melody fades into the song and more layers of synths are added as it continues to be repeated. Gaga’s vocals are killer and the repetition of “scheiße scheiße be mine/scheiße be mine” is massively addicting. She sounds so confident in the pre-chorus and it becomes immediately apparent that this is a female anthem, “if you’re a strong female/you don’t need permission.” With raving synths, fast-paced singing and outstanding vocals this track is a guaranteed club hit. The repeating “I” in the background is surprisingly really catchy and I love the lyrics, “I wish I could be strong without somebody there.” The bridge breaks out into techno and Gaga’s vocals are distorted and stutter to the beat. Overall, this is an unforgettable dance song and one of the standout tracks. Bloody Mary is the most bizarre song on the album and it’s extremely dark. This is the first laid-back song but it’s comprised of spooky synths and haunting vocals. Her delivery is creepy during the verses especially when her vocals go deep because they have a chant-like feel to them, “we are not just art for Michaelangelo/to carve, he can’t rewrite the agro/of my furied heart.” The lyrics are quite creative and she even references Teeth in the first verse, “and when you’re gone I’ll tell them my religion’s you.” The song gets a bit livelier in the pre-chorus and more synths are incorporated for the chorus which is actually quite catchy, “I won’t cry for you/I won’t crucify the things you do.” Her scream after each chorus adds to the horrific atmosphere and the bridge is basically distorted male vocals chanting out her name while she sings “dum dum da di da.” It’s not very creative but it’s kind of catchy and the chanting adds to the creepiness of the track. I really like this song and her belting at the end is a great way to finish it off.

I was looking forward to Black Jesus Amen Fashion because of the title and it’s not what I was expecting at all. It’s an 80s inspired runway dance song and it’s much more interesting than I thought it was going to be. Gaga’s vocals fade in as she repeats “Jesus is the new black” accompanied by retro electronic beats. The verses are filled with a delicious 80s flair that give them a light pop feel that’s reminiscent of Madonna. Gaga’s vocals are fresh, “I grew up in New York City/since I was born on Broadway, baby,” and the modern synths in the pre-chorus compliment the retro vibe. The song transitions into an electropop tune with pulsing synths and vocoded vocals for the chorus, “amen fashion/on the runway/work it Black Jesus.” In the bridge, the music slows down for Gaga to show off her smooth and soulful vocals, “put in on, amen fashion/celebrate a new compassion.” Bad Kids is a rebellious rock ‘n’ roll inspired synthpop song that throws you into the 80s once again. The intro is completely rock as Gaga takes on a bad kid persona, “enough is enough with this horse shit.” It sets up the song nicely and leads into the electronic verses where she sings about her negative qualities, “I’m a bitch/I’m a loser, baby maybe I should quit.” As the song progresses into the pre-chorus, the arrangement turns into a light 80s beat with vibrant synths. It becomes even brighter in the chorus and the 80s synthpop flavour is so infectious, “don’t be insecure if your heart is pure/you’re still good to me if you’re a bad kid.” The piano in the bridge is stunning and adds a whole other layer to the song. The contrast between the dark verses and light chorus is fantastic and I love how uplifting the song ends up sounding. Fashion Of His Love is the most 80s sounding song on the album and it’s one of my favourites. Gaga sings in bright vocals as the synths start to fade in and when the drums are added the song erupts into its retro chorus where Gaga channels Madonna and Whitney Houston. The 80s influence is seriously irresistible and the hook is infectious, “oh I’m seeing all the signs from above/oh I’m gonna be the one that he loves.” With pulsating drums and synths, this is her most cheerful and loving song. Gaga has never sounded so sweet and the “ohs” are beautiful and really add to the catchiness. The second verse is more upbeat because of the drums and as it progresses she sings in a stronger and passionate tone. There’s not much going on in the bridge but the slow chorus after it is flawless and I just can’t get over how gorgeous she sounds. The use of fashion to describe love is cute and it’s the perfect track to show that she still has the fun side that she showcased in her debut album.

Highway Unicorn (Road To Love) is probably one of the weirdest song titles I’ve ever seen. The song immediately opens with the soaring chorus and it has a light rock vibe to it but then it suddenly changes to a heavy bass line for the verse. The verses are definitely the strongest part of the song and I love how she repeats “run run with her t-” before she starts the first verse. While the chorus has a light feel to it, the verses are much darker and incorporate lots of synths. The second chorus is improved over the first because of the barrage of drums. The percussion gives the song some aggression and an old school rock sound, “we can be strong/we can be strong/out on this lonely run, on the road to love.” It’s a lot more uplifting than I thought it would be and I like the transitions from the light to dark sound. All the drums fade away in the bridge where it’s just Gaga and the retro synths, “get your hot rods ready to rumble/cause we’re gonna drink until we die.” The organ at the end is a nice surprise and makes for a great conclusion. Heavy Metal Lover is my favourite song on the album and it may be the best song she’s ever done. Although it’s not a heavy metal song, it still has all the elements of the genre. The synths are loud and gritty while Gaga nails the rocker vocals. The sexual nature of heavy metal dominates this song which is noticeable with the dirty synths and suggestive lyrics, “I want your whiskey mouth/all over my blonde south.” The thing that drew me to the song was the second part of the verses because of her vocals. It oozes sex and Gaga’s voice has never sounded so sexy, “tonight bring all your friends/because a group does it better/why river with a pair/let’s have a full house of leather.” The chorus is simple but it’s cleverly produced and highly infectious. It’s the most addicting chorus on the album and I cannot get it out of my head, “ooh-ooh-ooh-who-who/who-who-who ooh-who-who/who who/heavy metal lover.” The heavy beats fade for the bridge which consists of robotic vocals and I love how her vocals and the music start to fade back into the song.

Electric Chapel is a mid-tempo rock tune mixed with electronica. The guitar riff and church organs create a dark, gothic feel and it’s really infectious. In the verses, the guitar is replaced with synths and her mellow vocals are very sexy, “my body is sanctuary/my blood is pure.” I love how different she sounds and the “doot doo doo/doot doot doo doo” parts are awesome. She puts more power in her vocals for the pre-chorus and gives a little nod to Judas, “follow me don’t be such a holy fool.” The chorus is gloomy due to the heavy synths but the atmosphere is relaxing. Her soft vocals are entrancing and I love how the guitar riff comes back immediately after the chorus. There’s not much going on in the bridge except for Gaga’s ad-libs but the electric guitar is wicked cool. Her raspy, rock vocals at the end are great and I wish she utilized this tone more in the song, “If you want me meet me at electric chapel.” The Queen moves away from the dark sound and goes into a bright up-tempo with a nice message, “I can be the queen that’s inside of me/this is my chance to release/and be brave for you.” The bells and synths blend well together and the uplifting feel is quite addicting along with Gaga’s cheerful performance. There are some female empowerment moments and it’s great to see Gaga making songs like this, “whenever I start feeling strong I’m called a bitch in the night/but I don’t need these 14 karat guns to win/I am a woman I insist, it’s my life.” The chorus is the most upbeat part of the song and it’s filled with blaring synths as well as loud percussion. Her stuttering at the end of the second chorus for some reason is really catchy, “the que-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eeen.” What’s unusual about this song is the bridge because the electric guitar that’s employed begins to slow down and this is the first time I’ve heard a song slow down in this way. Gaga finishes the track off with strong, slow vocals and some great ad-libs.

Yoü And I is the closest thing to a ballad that the album has and it’s gorgeous. Whenever Gaga does a track like this she always adds something new to it in each album and this time there’s a country feel to the music even though it’s a rock song. It samples Queen’s We Will Rock You and features the guitarist of Queen, Brian May, who plays the electric guitar. The synths and piano in the verses make for a fantastic melody and the clapping beats add to the country flair. Gaga’s performance is filled with energy and power. The chorus is full on rock ‘n’ roll due to Brian’s guitar and the backing vocals by Robert John Lange suit the song wonderfully, “somethin’ somethin’ about this place/somethin’ ‘bout lonely nights and my lipstick on your face.” Gaga lets it all out during the bridge where she belts out “babaay I’d rather die, without yoü and I” accompanied by an insane guitar riff. The Edge Of Glory is a powerful uplifting song and it wraps up the album nicely. Gaga wrote this after her grandfather passed away and no other track could end the album as good as this one does. It’s not a sad song but the complete opposite. It’s filled with positive energy and her soaring vocals are so beautiful, “there ain’t no reason you and me should be alone tonight/yeah baby, tonight yeah baby.”  The melody is infectious and it gets more upbeat as it moves from the verses to the pre-chorus. The synths erupt in the chorus for an irresistible feel and her voice is emotive, “I’m on the edge of glory/and I’m hangin’ on a moment with you.” I like how she strongly repeats the title because her vocals shine during these parts. Clarence Clemons appears in the bridge playing the saxophone and it gives the song an organic, jazzy feel. It’s jaw-dropping and the song sounds so much better with it. The pulsing synths before the last chorus sound cool and the chorus is even better with the saxophone. Gaga chose the perfect song to close this incredible album.

Conclusion: Once again, Gaga has improved tremendously and crafted another brilliant album. Born This Way definitely lived up to all the hype and even exceeded every single one of my expectations. I have to give it to Gaga for releasing a non-mainstream album because no other artist in their prime would ever release something like this. She is constantly pushing the boundaries of pop music and she’s proof that music doesn’t have to follow a set trend to be popular. Gaga demonstrates that pop music can be different, marvelous and still attract millions of people. While the songs aren’t that radio friendly they still have infectious hooks and will be stuck in your head for hours. I thought that Gaga was going to leave behind the light feel of her first album so I’m really happy that she mixed it with her dark sound. Many people have been saying that Gaga wasn’t going to last in the music industry and she would eventually fade. Born This Way shows she’s here to stay and she’s the biggest singer in the world right now for a reason. I guess I’m officially one of her little monsters now.

Recommended Tracks: Heavy Metal Lover, Government Hooker, Scheiße, Judas, Americano, Electric Chapel, Bloody Mary, Fashion Of His Love, Hair and The Edge Of Glory

Rating

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  1. Very well-written review! I scoffed a little at SOME of the descriptive terms you used, but only because I’ve been studying popular music this semester, but once off my high horse I agree with pretty much all of this! I do however really love ‘Born This Way’ and think it, as a single, deserves more credit.

    • Thank you! I always have a hard time finding the right words to describe a song :p. Born This Way took a long time to grow on me but I appreciate it a lot more now. It wasn’t the type of song I was expecting so it kind of through me off. I’m glad you agree with my review though :).

  2. This album had gems like Bloody Mary and Judas,but for me it jumped styles too much and really had no flow,the biggest pet peeve for me was her trying too hard,she takes good beats and then adds good lyrics but then ruins them with unnecessary break downs near the ends.

    Fame Monster is her best album and this one feels like part 2,and sequel are never better then the originals.

    you’re review was so good I re listened to the album and no,the album kinda sucked and was too OVERHYPED, most def. not the album of the year or decade.

    • I didn’t really mind that it jumped styles and I thought that it flowed well. I can’t believe you listened to it again after reading my review XD. It means a lot to me that you think it’s good. I like this album much more than The Fame Monster. A lot of the tracks on Born This Way have become my favourite Gaga songs.

  3. You did a great job on this review, and most of the time we actually see eye to eye again. I think I will like this album as much as you do when it has grown on me a bit, with tracks like Americano.
    I believe you spent a lot of time writing this review, and it’s worth it. Loved reading it =)

    • Thanks so much, I did take quite a while writing this :p. We seem to have similar tastes in music which is pretty cool! You’re a lot faster at getting reviews posted though XD.

  4. Very nice, detailed as frig review. Ha :’D I have to say, I’m not a Lady GaGa fan, but this is probably the best album from a top selling artist in a long time. I have to say, I can’t get enough of Judas and Edge of Glory, and I was nicely surprised with You and I. She shows us that she’s not in a rut. I like that, Gaga.

    • Thanks :). I agree with you. I wasn’t a huge fan but this album made me one. The songs are so contagious and the variety of genres shows her versatility as an artist.

      • You weren’t a huge fan? Sorry, but even before this, you gave every single album of her 5 stars, called the first one ‘pop perfection’, claimed that the 2nd one is even better, and now the 3rd one is still even better. So you’re telling us you’re not a fan and just an ‘occasional listener before this album’? Who are you kidding? ;P

        Anyway, nice review, I disagree on some parts, but it’s all a matter of taste and how you managed to describe the song is really good, so I really like this 😉

  5. I shouldn’t have used “casual listener” so thanks for pointing that out :p. I was trying to say that I was never a really big fan until this album. Even though I gave her past albums 5 stars, I didn’t write the reviews until after I heard Born This Way and that may have effected the rating I gave the albums. However, I’ve given albums 5 stars before but I don’t consider myself a huge fan of the artist and I’ve given albums less than 5 stars and I’m a massive fan of the artist. When an album is good and impresses me I have to give it a high rating which is why her first two albums received 5 stars from me. Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you liked the review!


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