Skip to main content

How to Listen to Lady Gaga's Born This Way

*UPDATED 5/23/11.

Possibly the most anticipated pop album to come along in years, Lady Gaga's Born This Way has a lot to prove and live up to. After all, LG went as far as to call it "the Album of the Decade." And after sampling - and replaying - this baby while on a retreat in Palm Springs, I have a couple of things to say...

First, almost half of the album (the Deluxe Edition, that is) may polarize fans with its way-out-there, not-so-radio-friendly selections. Second, the insane production value and in-your-face lyrics in some songs seem to convey an inflated ego at work. That, or an insatiable desire and ambition to reinvent oneself while redefining pop music in the process. I'm exhausted just thinking about what's she's accomplished in less than three years. However, with that all said, if you think about it, there really is no other current female artist who's as bold and daring as this chick. Some of you may even hate me for this, but Gaga has now raised the bar so high and continues to influence Top 40 (c'mon, who hasn't worked with RedOne at this point?), that she makes Britney seem like a heavily medicated - and used - sex puppet. I guess there's validity behind the reason why she recently topped Forbes's list of Most Powerful Celebrities.

Here's a primer to fully absorb the just-released and soon-to-be-picked-apart album. The songs are listed in order of preference, starting with the best and ending with the less tolerable tracks that should (hopefully) never be released as singles:

1. "Born This Way" - Annoying Madonna comparisons aside, the inspirational title track should be played first because a) we all know it b) its familiarity will settle you in for a beat-heavy collection of supersonic proportions and c) it'll seem quaint after you get to those final three.
2. "The Edge of Glory" - Just for Clarence Clemon's sax solo alone.
3. "Hair" - Here she continues to preach the message of Being Yourself with this empowering anthem courtesy of RedOne.
4. "Marry the Night" - It's like a lost single from The Rocky Horror Picture Show...if it had been remade in the early 90s (and that's a good thing).
5. "You and I" - The closest thing to a ballad you'll get on the disc, this track has a bit of a country twang to it (is she hoping to woo those Bible-thumping cowboys down south or what?) and delivers some powerhouse vocals.
6. "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" - Another 80s-esque, synth-filled epic that could've been orchestrated by a flamboyant Hans Zimmer and featured on the soundtracks to either Vision Quest or Days of Thunder.
7. "Heavy Metal Lover" - An irresistible cooing chorus gets drowned out by some weighty Auto-tune during which it's reiterated that our gal certainly likes her whiskey.
8. "Fashion of His Love" - Haters who brought upon those Madonna rip-off comments may be tempted to criticize her for mimicking Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" here. Lovers will soak up its glorious danciness.
9. "The Queen" - Be Yourself Anthem #3. And bonus points for the doo-woppy, electric guitar breakdown in the last third.
10. "Electric Chapel" - In which Gaga comes close to channeling Pat Benatar while getting her rocker on.
11. "Black Jesus - Amen Fashion" - In which she tells Jesus to work it on the runway. Really. Because, after all, he's the new black.
12. "Judas" - Because by now, you should be able to digest the stuttering proclamations and blatant religious allegories and forget that this single had crashed and burned the instant it leaked.
13. "Bad Kids" - In which she proclaims to be a loser, and damn it, she's proud of being such a degenerate.
14. "Americano" - No, it's not an ode to her favorite espresso drink. Instead, a derivative Spanish guitar guides us through a sometimes messy wonderland of drunken shouting.
15. "Government Hooker" - It starts out as an odd techno-opera of sorts and then dives head first into S&M Land. I instantly had visions of being tied down in a leather bar and subjected to things I shouldn't type here. Once it ended, I had an urge to go out and get tested for STDs.
16. "SchieBe" - Remember that not-so-radio-friendly thing I talked about? Gaga goes industrial goth here with half of the song spoken (or rapped?) in German - not the prettiest language for a dance song.
17. "Bloody Mary" - More shoutouts to Jesus in what's surprisingly a dance downer. (Paging Depeche Mode...)

*By the way, Disc 2 in the Deluxe Edition features four remixes. The only one worth checking out is the already released "Country Road Version" of the album's title track. (yay for harmonicas!)

Overall: 8.5 (out of 10)

Born This Way comes out Monday, May 23.


Popular posts from this blog

The Class of '98 Turns 40

We are the Class of '98. We're a little too old to be Millennials, yet too young to be GenXers. As of now, half of our lives has lived in one century while the other half lives and moves forward in another. For us, Cabbage Patch Dolls were the 80s, Tamagotchi was the 90s, and Napster was the dawn of the 00s. We grew up with cassette tapes and Saturday morning cartoons. We came of age with CGI dinosaurs and the rise of the Frappucino. And we approach middle age with memes, reboots, and viral videos all designed to distract us from middle age. We were too young to fully understand the words "Challenger explosion." We were too young to appreciate the fall of the Berlin Wall. But by the time places like Waco, Oklahoma City, and Littleton pinged on everyone's radar, we started to grasp how scary the world could be. Our adolescence was defined by jagged little pills, prescriptions from Dr. Dre, and the fact that some of us were naughty by nature. We learned t

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many. Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months ( and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism )... 1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff,  The Golden Palace ), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death. 2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture. The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses. But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash? I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years... "EVERY HEARTBEAT" / AMY GRANT (1991) Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly  (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young