Lady GaGa – Born This Way

Since the release of her first album The Fame back in 2008, much has changed for Stefani Germanotti aka Lady GaGa. She’s worn a dress made of meat for a start, and jumping out of coffins on-stage in now de rigeuer. She’s also sold the small matter of around 15 million copies of The Fame – give or take the odd one – so her fans and the watching world are pretty curious to see what new album Born This Way will sound like. GaGa herself has stated that this album will be full of “sledgehammering dance beats” and on first listen, she’s true to her word with the odd flamenco and europop moment thrown in for good measure…

The ensemble kicks off with Marry The Night, its insistent beat leaving you in no doubt that she will do just that – no one-night stands here. Hot on its dirty heels comes outsider anthem Born This Way and kudos to GaGa for inserting the word ‘transgender’ into a song and it not seeming clunky – quite a skill. The ‘take me as I am’ theme continues on Hair: “I’m not a freak, I’m as free as my hair,” sings GaGa. This is a key impetus of the whole shebang – with this album, GaGa is making it personal and reaching out to the outsiders in America, where country music and Jesus are not the be-all and end-all. I am what I am she’s saying, and you are what you are, herney.

Of course, not that Jesus doesn’t figure in this opus – that would be remiss of the Lady. He comes into play on lack-lustre single Judas, where GaGa claimed she was rewriting The Bible; and also on the Like A Prayer-esque Bloody Mary. But beyond being true to yourself and questioning religion, this is an album that was born to dance, with nearly every track infused with slamming dance beats, retro 80s synths and audio lazers slicing into your psyche at every opportunity. With Scheisse, it’s clear that GaGa spent some time in Berlin’s club scene; grinding guitars mesh together with 80s synths on Bad Kids. On You And I though, GaGa strays into Shania Twain territory, perhaps indicating where her she might take her pop circus next…

Lady GaGa isn’t going to escape the Madonna comparisons any time soon with this release, but if I was her, it’s not a comparison I’d be losing any sleep over. If GaGa has only half the impact of Madge she’ll still be phenomenally succcessful and the one key difference between the two is that GaGa can honest-to-god sing, a much overlooked quality in performers. I reckon it might sell a few.

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