Today, I’m in mourning for the Gaga of old. Then I’ll get to my (rushed) track-by-track thoughts on Born This Way.
Oh, Lady Gaga. I really don’t know what to say. I really liked your first two (one and a half?) CDs. Every song on them could have been a successful pop single. Maybe you should have just ridden on the wave of The Fame until you got some of this stuff out of your system. “Summer Boys” or “Starstruck” would’ve made great singles right about now. And, I mean, I love what you’re doing with donating to charity and all that; don’t get me wrong. But couldn’t you just … go back to singing about money? And sex? I’m talking about sex in a casual, “we met at a nightclub” way, not “I’m a hooker” way (your words, not mine, Gaga). And maybe spend more time crafting the musicality of the songs themselves and less time on your wardrobe (as fabulous as it is)? I didn’t go to your concert hoping that you’d heal my heart, restore my vision and raise Firefly from the dead. I just like your music. You’re a great singer, a great lyricist. But … no more Jesus. No more “I’m a loser but I can be whatever I want.” No more German techno. WE GET IT ALREADY.
Poor Gaga, in low-budget music videos:
Random Bubble-Gum Gaga:
Classic Gaga (bizarre and over the top—visually, musically and lyrically—but it all makes sense and speaks to a common human feeling/experience):
Born This Way breakdown:
1. Marry the Night She won’t give up on her goal of … marrying the night? OK, sure. A ’90s electro jam. "Love is the new denim or black." Hmm.
2. Born This Way You’ve already heard enough about it, and I don’t want to listen to it again. Weird Al’s parody, though, stands up to repeat listenings:
3. Government Hooker Good, not great. Sounds a little like ABBA, weirdly, or something from No Doubt’s Rock Steady album.
4. Judas Poor “Judas” has gotten a mostly undeserved bad rap, thanks mostly to the video (I too am offended by the excessive use of motorcycles). Religion can be used as a metaphor, you know. I don’t think Lady Gaga is actually in love with Judas Iscariot. This is a song about betrayal. Besides all that, this is one of the best songs on the album—a mix of Gaga’s weird techno chanting and a standard vocal pop chorus. (If that doesn’t sound good to you, then how have you gotten this far into the blog?)
5. Americano A bilingual mariachi/techno song. And that's all I have to say about that.
6. Hair This song is boring, despite the saxophone and Gaga’s ’80s raspy belting. And, really, rhyming “hair” with “prayer”? I expected better of you, Gaga.
7. ScheiBe A techno song sung entirely in German for the first minute. Once it gets into English, this song says "prayer" a lot, too. Yawn.
8. Bloody Mary This “rave ballad” starts out good (words I never thought I’d say), but it’s heavy on the religious stuff again.
9. Black Jesus "Jesus is the new black!" I think those lyrics speak for themselves.
10. Bad Kids Lady Gaga is mad and thinks she’s a loser. Sounds like a Scissor Sisters song.
11. Fashion of His Love Singing more about how she was insecure. If you listen with only one ear, it sounds like a Christian inspiration song. (She’s actually talking about Alexander McQueen, not God, though.)
12. Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) We can be strong, we can be strong, follow that unicorn on the road to love … I think Gaga cribbed this from a Rainbow Brite movie.
13. Heavy Metal Lover This is where you start to realize (well, probably earlier if you're smarter than I am) that all of the songs sound kinda the same.
14. Electric Chapel Ditto.
15. The Queen This starts out as a better song, but then you realize that the chorus pretty much sounds exactly the same as “The Edge of Glory.” It also ends with more than a full minute of guitar and Lady Gaga belting “Whoa-oh-oh-oh,” like something that was cut from the end of the Footloose musical (yes, I've seen it).
16. You and I I’ve heard this song before, performed live and on TV shows. I was kind of disappointed with the heavy-handed country-fying of this track, especially the male auto-tuned backup singers and the lack of piano. But I still like it.
17. The Edge of Glory This is a song that would have been only released on the Japan version of a Kelly Clarkson CD. I don’t know why it’s a Lady Gaga single, or how it gets stuck in my head.