Alright Little Monsters, well all 33 million of you here on Facebook. The day has come! Announced earlier in 2010, when wearing her now infamous meat dress, Lady Gaga announced her new album title “Born This Way” after winning the “Best Video of the Year Award” for her groundbreaking single, Bad Romance. Fast forward to New Years Eve, Gaga bares her naked ass and a denim jacket with a unicorn and text emblazoned on it which reads “Born This Way” which is announced the single will be released on February 11th, 2011 (my birthday by the way), the album released on May 23rd 2011.
Damn it feels good, for the time to come. I wanted to talk about her promo campaign for the album too, which is the most extensive album promotion efforts I have seen ever for an album. Not so much in creative or innovative promotional efforts like the viral/fictitious website campaign behind Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero or Radiohead’s In Rainbows “pay what you want” price modeling, the campaign dominated in sheer ridiculousness and exposure. The most unusual being the Farmville/Zynga partnership which made Farmville players go GaGa for GaGaVille the week before Born This Way dropped. Also, with the number of singles dropped before the album release, which was about 4 on iTunes, and then some through concerts (including the HBO Monster Ball special), blogs and fashion shows (Sheibe, Government Hooker, You and I). Also, the frequent performances and guest spots, Best Buy Mobile Phone bundle deals, and an interesting deal where Amazon Prime customers could buy the whole album for 99 cents on the release date. To sum it all up, there is no escaping Lady Gaga when she’s doing promo for her newest album. Like her or hate her, she definitely knows how to get you to know who she is, and how in your face she really is.
The music. It’s pretty interesting to see the evolution you see in the statements made in the lyrics and production of Born This Way. The production is favored to be very busy and chaotic at times, which Gaga had stated the album was chock full of “sledge hammer dance beats and catchy melodies.” “Marry The Night” serves as an anthemic opener piece, which has dominant vocals, and side chained melodies which make you wanna go four to the floor on the dance floor. “Born This Way” is a monster of a lead single, which is inspired by her strong LGBT fan base she has acquired over the last 2 years, and her anthem song to them. It could be applied to anyone really, she touches everything from sexual identity, race, and religion on the album. “Government Hooker” is just a down right dirty doom disco track which makes the fiercest of dance floor queens savor in its glory. “Judas” was chosen to be the second lead single, which is inspired by Judas Iscariot and the story in the Bible of Judas and his betrayal. Gaga wrote the song about ex boyfriends who betrayed her, but she still loved them, you know she’s attracted to those bad boys. :D. People thought Gaga had been totally evil and satanic with Judas, numerous Judas reaction videos on youtube of children crying at Gaga becoming “evil.” The song is metaphoric, and it tells a story of her experiences with betrayal and the dark side of relationships. I like Judas a lot, I have listened to it numerous times before buying the Born This Way cd. Moving off the Judas train, we have Americano, which is a classic Mariachi inspired dance number where she sings in Spanish and English. Hair is a creeper of a song, which sounds better once you’re listening to the full album, it’s theatrical, it’s pop, and very broadway. We all love our hair, it’s about time someone recognizes how important hairstyle is to us! I love to change my hair, and be as free as my hair. Sheibe, starts the dark side of the album, (by the way Sheibe, translates to “shit” in German) it becomes a futuristic dance floor killer filled with nasty dirty electro and lyrics making all women fearless, and acting without permission. Maybe I could learn some German, but hey I can speak German if you like. “Bloody Mary” also starts this dark disco/dubstep craze, where she explores religion in ways similar to Madonna, it’s time to dance with your hands above your head. The track kinda sounds like something Justice would have produced. Lady Gaga is also very influential in the fashion industry, she says “Jesus Is The New Black.” The song “Black Jesus + Amen Fashion” is more over a story about her start in the New York clubs, and her fashionable influence coming out, making a fun song which really sounds very 80’s/early 90’s Madonna. Looking at the album cover, you expected to hear some metal, and “Bad Kids” has that metal attitude, it’s the song about being the “Bad Kid baby!” Apparently her parents got divorced because she “ruined their lives.” I really like this song, I feel like a bad kid all the time, we bad kids need our song dammit! 😀 So you’re into the Born This Way experience, and here comes the lyrics reminiscent of the 80’s and all it’s excessive glory, which makes you wanna run on a cat walk and strut your shit like you’re born this way. “Fashion of His Love” baby. Ride, Ride, Pony, Ride Ride. It’s a known fact at this point that Gaga wants to explore your ear drums with her rainbow colored unicorn and her pony, all through the night. What is it with women and unicorns anyways. Ponies? Awwwwwww Gaga, this is cute. I thought you were trying to be entirely fierce and brutal on this album too. Ride, Ride, Pony, Ride Ride. This song makes me wanna ride a pony now, lol. Better have your “Heavy Metal Lover” riding your dirty pony all through the night. Gaga cannot wait to “hose her dirty pony down.” She also wants your whiskey mouth all over her blond south too. Gaga has the punchlines, just like Kanye did on My Twisted Dark Fantasy released in Christmas 2010. Taking a ride down the “Electric Chapel” we are taken into a guitar driven frenzy of an album which meets a funky 80’s arpeggiated baseline which takes you into a world inside this “Electric Chapel.” Madonna would be proud at this point, hell she said it was cool. “The Queen” is a grower on me and a song I could consider filer, honestly. I did get the Special Edition though with 17 tracks. It’s that final stretch on this overly long and epic album, it’s is very guitar driven and pop. When I first listened to The Fame, I didn’t expect so much to come from Lady Gaga at first, but everyone became blindsided after hearing the 4 number 1 singles which came off that record. “You And I” is a great fucking song, hands down. The lyrics are meaningful, and powerful. It sounds much better as a piano/acoustic tune really. The power rock version presented on the album version for Born This Way, is pretty cool though, even having legendary guitarist Brian May of Queen playing guitar on the track. It’s pretty bitchin. The ending track “The Edge of Glory” is a beautiful power dance anthem, which sounds like a stadium filling dance anthem for people achieving great things. We are all on the Edge with you, where we are falling over in love.
Honestly, I don’t care much for comparisons, but she kind of went for a cacophonous production similar to what is heard in M.I.A.’s “Maya” album which dropped last year, where there is numerous and endless layers of avant garde electronic melodies, effects, and cut up samples in part with each track. Sometimes the album feels a bit overproduced, and some of the excesses may not really be necessary. At least the album didn’t take 17 years to make, so we can’t call it “Chinese Democracy” or anything like that. This IS Lady Gaga we are talking about here, so excessive eccentrics are expected and her fan base embraces them openly. To quote Spin Magazine’s review “excess is both Gaga’s weakness and strength.” This is something she excels in, taking her over the top theatrics to new highs on each release and live performance. This is what put Gaga on top of the musical heap. She is not the first eccentric female performer, nor will she be the last. She is a marketer’s wet dream, and she can get away with bloody murder as an artist, and still have favorable reviews. She has achieved a status few bands/performers can do, is do something which is totally different or out of the box from their established identities as an artist and make a statement. To me this is kind of like when Radiohead made Kid A, which was their first album which Radiohead experimented with electronics in their music. This is different, however, obviously this is what Gaga wanted in the first place. To make a statement and make an album for her fans. Not about the self indulgences of The Fame or the post immediate fame demons and reactions of The Fame Monster. This album is a forward moving statement for Gaga, who has achieved fame levels comparable to Barack Obama or Michael Jackson. This review came forth from a different perspective from which I normally take when reviewing underground artists who are trying to get heard. To understand Born This Way, you really have to understand who Gaga is, and her experiences which have helped craft this record. Nowhere on The Fame do you hear her singing about being bullied, or about being a “freak who dropped out of art school.” This is a sophomore effort and should be treated as such. With Born This Way, Gaga is well aware that people know who she is. For Gaga, she has a role to play for people, and a demanding fan base of people who look up to her and watch her every move, she is always on camera, and the Paparazzi will follow her until they love her. She wanted to take the advantage of this popularity and make an album to motivate and inspire people, in her own special way. This is the sign of a truly artistic and creative person, who knows that she has the bean counting marketers gripped by their balls. This is what I love about Gaga. She makes all the freaks and different people out there, much like myself feel good about ourselves in a very honest and passionate way. This is why I am such an obsessive little monster. Paws up!
With this much hype behind an album, it is pleasing to hear Gaga never disappoints, Born This Way is a great album which shows self evolution in herself and her art. It is very obvious Gaga wanted to make an album relatable to her fans, it would have been redundant to make another album about being famous, since Lady Gaga has become the most talked about entertainer in the world, in less than two years. So, Gaga chose to take a different approach, making an album for “all the bad kids” out there, for those who feel different to the majority, and for all the freaks out there who like purple rainbow unicorns and stuff. Listen to Born This Way with an open mind, and enjoy the hell ride through the album, and enjoy the spectacle. This is what Lady Gaga does best, and she will make damn sure you know of it. This is in your face, this is pretty at times and downright ugly at other times. Don’t be afraid to jump on her motorcycle with Judas strapped onto your back, the ride is a rewarding one you will not forget. Even the Nay-Sayers will have something to say about it. You may not like it, but at this point Gaga is fiercely moving forward and working hard, she’s even announced a new tour weeks after ending the 2 year Monster Ball tour in Mexico City. We were Born This Way baby!
-Chris Big Money
I wanted to bring some attention to some of the dope ass remixers that Lady Gaga employs for the listening section. Enjoy!
Lady Gaga – Scheiße (DJ White Shadow Mugler) (Audio)
Born This Way (Twin Shadow Remix) ‘HD’
Judas (Goldfrapp Remix)
Lady GaGa – Hair (Alessio Silvestro Remix) (Pitched)
Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (Grum Remix)