The ubiquitous Lady Gaga has conquered the charts, shocked us with her bizarre apparel and created an army of “Little Monsters” that live and breathe to the beat of her music.
Born Stefani Germanotta, the edgy pop superstar released her second full studio album May 23, entitled “Born This Way.” She attained the first place position on iTunes and received a bevy of praise from her insatiable audience instantaneously. For this most recent musical endeavor, Gaga applies a “bigger is better” mentality with busy songs and flashy lyrics.
The result was catchy, messy and inconsistent, all at the same time. The album starts with track “Marry the Night,” which she co-wrote with Fernando Garibay, a Mexican producer, DJ and songwriter. While I wasn’t a particular fan of this four-and-a-half-minute musical cacophony, it did set the stage for the rest of the album.
Unfortunately for Gaga, several songs come off as almost interchangeable, with nothing distinctive or compelling about them, like title track “Born This Way” and sacrilegious “Judas.”
Luckily the album is an assortment, containing an equal amount of radio-friendly jams and amped up singer-songwriter hits, such as the already popular “Yoü and I.” The song is a depart from the rest of the album, and is effectively a rock anthem devoted to a “cool Nebraska guy.”
“Yoü and I” is to “Born This Way” as “Speechless” was to “The Fame Monster:” an emotive smash exhibiting Lady Gaga’s true lyrical ability and hit-making power. I would imagine this to be the type of music she would make more often if she were from Texas instead of New York. The track samples Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and makes use of the band’s guitarist Brian May.
Gaga grooves behind May’s guitar and electronic beats that fuse together in “Yoü and I,” and the result is a fun, summery hit. Another feel good track from the album, which the world is probably already sick of, is “The Edge of Glory.”
The song has already been performed on Saturday Night Live and American Idol, and was featured in an ad for Google Chrome. “Glory” provides the same mega-synth leanings of other songs from the album, but does so in a light, inspiring way.
This is somewhat surprising, considering Gaga wrote the track while saying goodbye to her dying grandfather in the hospital with her father five months ago. The track is the most eclectic of the bunch, utilizing violins and a saxophone solo by Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
The sax solo is the high point of the song, after which Lady Gaga’s chimes in with her infectious chorus, belting, “I’m on the edge with you.”
The album artwork for the standard album shows Gaga fused to a motorcycle, in keeping with her theme of unpredictability. The cover does provide a theme for many of the highway-ready hits, such as the appropriately titled “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love).” She sings her sultry lyrics in French, Spanish and German, all the while providing beats that could easily narrate a road trip.
There are also religious leanings in “Born This Way;” namely the soft rock hit “Bloody Mary,” which pulses and purrs with each consecutive beat. “We are not just art for Michelangelo to carve,” says Gaga. I can just picture her donning religious garb while bumping and grinding to the beat (potential music video idea?).
No, this album is not the Gaga many expected after “The Fame,” or even her 2009 EP release “The Fame Monster.” But despite its faults, “Born This Way” showcases Lady Gaga as a talented lyricist and pop hit-maker, and will surely accelerate her fame even faster. Whether you like it or not, Lady Gaga and her disco stick are here to stay.