Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (CD Review)

You can both love her and embrace everything about her or you can hate her and pretend you are one of the cool kids.  Whatever you side is, there’s no denying that leading lady of pop is back.  I’m talking about Lady Gaga of course.  I thought long and hard before writing this review.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  Life is too short to waste on things that truly do not matter so in the case of Gaga’s newest album, Born This Way, I let it slowly digest for the past week before deciding whether or not it was truly worthy of investing time in and writing about.  In other words, the verdict is in.  I’m a fan of Gaga’s newest album.  However, I always hate it when people give me such a simple answer.  It irks me to no end.  The word okay also does that too.  What does okay even mean?  It’s like maybe.  It means nothing. Anyway, rest assured, I am a complex person of taste and etiquette.  So you can sleep easy knowing that I gave you an honest assessment of why I like Lady Gaga’s third album, Born This Way.  Let’s get started!

The standard release of the album (there are so many flavors and editions) consists of 14 tracks.  Interscope Records released the album on Monday, May 23rd.  That’s an untraditional release date in my opinion.  Don’t you think?  Usually works of art are released on Tuesday’s or the occasional Friday’s.  But anyway, that’s what happened.  I’m not really sure of why it is, but let’s just roll with it for now and not sweat the small stuff.  However, interestingly enough, before her latest effort even hit retail outlets, 4 tracks (“Born This Way,” “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory” and “Hair”) were released for radio airplay.  Those were also accompanied by 2 music videos (“Born This Way” and “Judas”).

So what does it sound like?  I’m sure you have already heard it, but just in case you have not, go put in some of your old Madonna CD’s from the 80’s and 90’s.  You know you still have those.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  I’m a huge fan of Madonna, so you already know I’m digging this latest effort from Gaga.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this album is a hybrid and throw back to the pop, dance and electronic music of the 80’s and 90’s.  There’s nothing that’s going to blow your mind here or make you say “Wow!  I have never heard something like this before.”  But that’s okay.  Just like in the case of movies and their plots, there is really no such thing as an original sound anymore (in my opinion).  I think that died with the advent of Korn back in the 90’s (LOL).

Here’s a fun fact for you.  I just thought I would throw this out here.  The single “Born This Way” (track #2) is the fastest selling song in iTunes history.  However, like my buddy Gregg said the other day, there’s no “Bad Romance” on this album.  And this is just my opinion, but it may take several listens before you truly appreciate the sounds here.  That was the case for me.  There’s nothing that mind f*&^ed me here like “Bad Romance,” “Telephone” and “Alejandro” did on her latest outing (see my complete review here).  There is however, history here for me.  What do I mean?  Calm down!  I’m getting to it.  Geez!  Impatience is not attractive on you.  She wrote the song “You and I” (track #13) right here in the hometown of yours truly, even though the song is about Nebraska…LOL (go figure).  How many people can say that?  I know this to be true as Lady Gaga told us the last two times she was here in concert (see our reviews here and here).  She wouldn’t lie to us, would she?

Born This Way features contributions by Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow, RedOne, Jeppe Laursen and others.  And I’ll be honest.  I was exaggerating a bit when I said it sounded all like classic Madonna.  Sure, the album could be called a throwback to Madonna, but there are many varying styles of music to be found here.  If you listen close enough, you can even find elements of jazz and metal mixed in, among others.  You get the picture.  This isn’t a clone of everything came before.  This release sees Gaga taking a sharp right turn from the candy pop that made her famous and I always applaud an artist for taking risks, especially ones that work.  However, if it was a perfect word and I had my way in everything, then I definitely would have chose different cover art.  Gaga’s face and arms are fused/superimposed into a motorcycle.  WTF!  It looks like a bad Photoshop job that I could have made.  Instead, why wouldn’t she have played off her sexuality?  All the images contained within the booklet are turn-on’s, so why couldn’t the cover art have been?  I’m sure when we get Born This Way 2.0 I will get my wish, but until then I will just have to grin and bear it.  Dammit Gaga!

All kidding aside, I really only have three minor complaints in regards to the songs contained on Born This Way.  I would have picked a stronger opener than “Marry The Night.”  The song is not atrocious, but I would have picked something banging to lead off the tracks of the most anticipated album of 2011.  My other two complaints are purely based off my own personal likes and dislikes.  I’m not a fan of “Hair” or “Bad Kids.”  “Hair” is a song I would throw on the B-side of the single back in the days and “Bad Kids” just sounds too immature like it should have been a song Britney Spears could have lip-synched in her Mickey Mouse club.  That’s all!  And now with the good!

The song that initially took me the longest to get used to as a single on the radio has ended up becoming my favorite track on the album.  I’m talking about the subtly titled “Judas.”  The video may not be as dynamic and mesmerizing as “Bad Romance” was, but this song definitely sounds killer blasted while driving down the highway.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just me.  Other highlights, excluding “Born This Way,” include “Heavy Metal Lover,” “Bloody Mary” and the German thriller, “Scheiße”  Scheiße, loosely translated, means poop (or the expletive version of it).  Ha ha.  Brilliant!  I love it!  Perhaps, the best lyrical line, as pointed out to me by my buddy Gregg again, is in the song “Heavy Metal Lover.”  If the hypnotic electronic opening wasn’t cool enough for you, try these lyrics on for size.  “I want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south.”  If you don’t understand what that means, then you shouldn’t be reading this review. You’re too young!  Get out of here!

The song titles, as found on the standard US release, are as follows.

1. Marry The Night

2. Born This Way

3. Government Hooker

4. Judas

5. Americano

6. Hair

7. Scheiße

8. Bloody Mary

9. Bad Kids

10. Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)

11. Heavy Metal Lover

12. Electric Chapel

13. You and I

14. The Edge of Glory

So there you have it folks.  I definitely wouldn’t call it the masterpiece Gaga refers to it as, but in my opinion, Born This Way has more memorable moments than dull ones.  That’s always a good thing in my book.  If you were among the lucky ones to score this album at the rock bottom download price of 99 cents on Amazon last week, then praise the Lord.  If not, there’s still time to get this at a really good price while the getting is good.  Amazon is currently selling both the CD and mp3 versions of Born This Way for an ultra cheap price of $7.99 and $6.99.  That’s a real good deal in my opinion.   What’s your take?  What are you waiting for?  You could be listening to Lady Gaga’s newest release right now.  The album is only a click away.  Get it now!  Thanks for reading!




4 Responses to “Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (CD Review)”

  1. Jiminy Criric

    she’s OK…

  2. Sean Ferguson

    Other than seeing her on Saturday Night Live, I’m not familiar with her music but everything I have heard sounds pretty much the same. Maybe if I heard more songs, I could hear the differences. I hate that cover though.

  3. Gregg

    I agree with just about everything you said, except track 7 is called “SCHEIßE!” Not Scheibe. It’s not a ‘B’ but a German character for a double-S. My one disagreement is on “Bad Kids.” I like it and feel it’s well-placed. I couldn’t agree more on the opening track of “Marry the Night” though. It’s mediocre at best. “Heavy Metal Lover” is my favorite off this album.

    As I mentioned the other day, for all intents and purposes, Lady Gaga has two albums. I’m not buying into all this “she has three or four.” No, you don’t release twelve tracks, call that an album, then release those same twelve again with ten more and call it a brand new album. That’s version 1.5, an extension, not an entirely new creature. So with that in mind, I liken the roster of songs from each to a basketball team. With the headlining songs that get all the airplay, those are the star players. The songs that never reach the radio are the bench. The Fame Monster had way better star players, but Born This Way has a much better bench. Songs like “Bloody Mary” and “Electric Chapel” blow away tunes like “Paper Gangster” and “Money Honey.” One point for Born This Way. Then again, like we talked about, there is nothing close to “Poker Face” or “Bad Romance” on the latest release. Point for The Fame Monster.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    I prefer Gentlemen CryCry