I’ve Moved!

Sorry that I seemingly abandoned the site.

But I actually am abandoning the site.

This site is officially defunct. I’ll now be blogging about Gaga — and about a million other things — at my new homepage, www.alexknepper.com.

Don’t worry — the Gaga plagiarism list is still a go!

See you all there! Thanks for the great times at this blog. We had tens of thousands of visitors and got featured at ONTD, Pink Is the New Blog, and more. It’s been a good run — and I’m not done speaking out against Lady Gaga.

New Project Idea: The Gaga Plagiarism List

So, how about a little site project?

As I re-listen to Born This Way, I can’t help but notice that almost every track has obvious influences — sometimes a bit too obvious. “Born This Way,” of course, infamously rips off “Express Yourself.” But who is talking about how “Highway Unicorn” directly rips off “Poker Face”? Have many people mentioned the striking similarities between “Electric Chapel” and Kylie Minogue’s “Cupid Boy”?

My own musical taste is probably too narrow to successfully point out all of the examples of rip-offs and questionable lines on the album. I’ve got a few more examples in the wings, but I want to see what you guys can come up with, too. When I make this list, I’ll categorize the various examples into ‘slam-dunk,’ ‘a bit suspicious,’ and ‘likely coincidental.’ I’d say that “Born This Way”/”Express Yourself” is a slam-dunk example of a rip-off, while the oft-cited Kelly Clarkson comparisons in “Edge of Glory” are likely coincidental.

At any rate, let me see the best examples of what your ear heard. We’ll turn this into a master list and spread it around the stan world.

Lady Gaga’s Trashy Nip Slip Raises Eyebrows

I’m a day late to this, but I’d be remiss not to mention it.

Wearing a positively ghastly get-up, Lady Gaga revealed a bit more than she bargained for while preparing to accept an award honoring her as some sort of ‘style icon':

Yikes.

Born This Way Second-Week Sales Nosedive

Damn! With sales of only 169,000, Gaga’s sales have plummeted an astonishing 85%.  The decline from her real sales — about 700,000 — is normal and on par with albums like Femme Fatale. But with the Amazon deal, Gaga faces some embarrassing publicity ahead.

Second-Week “Born This Way” Sales Take a Massive Plummet

Damn:

While it’s too early to gauge exactly how many copies “Born This Way” will move in week number two, estimates suggest it could sell around 200,000 by June 5. While that would represent a staggering drop from her No. 1 debut, it’s not unusual to see albums that are heavily front-loaded in terms of first-week sales fall off a cliff in their second week.

From 1.1 million, 200,000 would represent a staggering 82% drop.

I’m not sure if that sets any particular record, but, thanks to the Amazon deal, that’s much higher than the standard 60-70% drop that most big-name albums experience in their second week.

Thoughts?

“Born This Way” Track-by-Track Review – Revised and Edited

These are my thoughts on the album now that it’s had some time to settle…

This is lengthy, so just click on the More button if you’d like to read it…

Continue reading

Gaga on the Born This Way Ball Tour: “I’d Never Name a Tour After My Album!”

Um…

“What’s most important to me is that the spirit of the Monster Ball is not dead,” GaGa explained to Billboard. “That the Monster Ball kind of lives on through the new show, and that the idea of the Monster Ball is what my tour is always called.”

“We just do sort of variations on this theme, sort of beautiful idea of all the fans getting together and rejoicing in their identities, which is what the Monster Ball is all about,” she continued.

The singer also said she dislikes the notion that every tour has to be based solely around the album she is promoting at that particular time.

“It’s essentially like a painting that we’ve created together, so I don’t want to make a new painting. I just want to create the next in the series,” GaGa added. “I’m never gonna be the kind of artist that just slaps the name of my album next to my tour.”

So, like — It’s not the Born This Way Tour. It’s the Born This Way Ball Tour. See how artistic and high-fashion it is now?

Lady Gaga’s Real First-Week Sales Are…

Pigrez reports:

We knew it! We knew our wifey could do it!

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way is set to hit the 1 million sales mark in its opening week!!

Unit sales for the album were originally predicted to be around 800,000 copies, but with Amazon’s incredible 99 cent promotion, BTW will passing the 1.15 million mark.

A-ma-zing.

Except…

Industry sources told Billboard.biz on Friday that Amazon sold some 440,000 downloads of the album — nearly all of which were the 99-cent version (a more expensive deluxe version is also available).

Subtracting that number from the grand total leaves us with slightly over 700,000 albums sold. Let’s assume that ten percent of those buyers would have still bought the album, anyway (which is generous to Gaga, given that all three of the people I know who bought the album through Amazon would never have bought it for $12). That brings us to a grand total of 750,000 albums sold.

That’s pretty damn good. But it ain’t on the level of Speak Now or Tha Carter III — to say nothing of Oops!…I Did It Again, whose wig Gaga failed to snatch.

It’s an impressive total. The next question is: will Gaga set the record for the biggest sales percentage drop from #1? Albums like this usually drop around 60-70% in their second week out. With the Amazon deal gone, a 70% drop from 750,000 is a staggering 81% drop from the inflated total of 1.15 million. Gaga had better hope that the promotional blitz she’s been on keeps her afloat. If I had to guess today, I’d say that she’ll probably end up with something like 300,000 sold in her second week — still a massive drop, but enough to keep her from garnering embarrassing headlines.

“Born This Way” Going for 99 Cents on Amazon

Yes, I’m serious.

Gaga must really want those first-week sales numbers.

Whatever her final sales tally is, though, there’s going to be a huge question mark hanging over them, now, though.

“Born This Way”: Track-by-Track Live-Blog Review

This is an initial review. I’m going to write about the tracks as I’m listening to them, in order, including the singles we’ve already heard.

Here I go…

1. “Marry the Night”: After hearing the MQ Farmville release of this song, I was more than a bit underwhelmed. It sounds better in HQ, of course, but it still leaves me cold. The basic problem with this song is that it’s basically hookless. What, in this song, is supposed to draw me in? It feels like there’s potential, here: the melody to the verses is pretty good, and would have served as a better melody for the chorus, leaving the existing chorus to serve as a post-chorus, similar to the ‘Oh…’ in ‘Judas.’

Perhaps worst of all, though, the ending drags on for a minute without going anywhere at all. It’s the musical equivalent of blue balls: what on earth did I listen to this song for? I kept waiting for some kind of payoff, and I never got it. A horrid choice for the opening track.

Initial impression: C-

2. “Born This Way”: Why in hell wasn’t this the opening track? It’s The Statement of the album, and is — don’t take this as a compliment for this plagiarized, trite mess — quite frankly, a more interesting song than “Marry the Night.” It even seems like a breath of fresh air after that unfortunate track. But I’ve beaten this song to death dozens of times in dozens of ways. I have nothing more to say.

Impression: Still an F for plagiarism

3. “Government Hooker”: This is the track that was on everyone’s lips — a lot of Little Monsters had their hopes pinned on this track to be the second coming of “Bad Romance.” (Actually, most people thought that “Judas” was the second coming of “Bad Romance,” but we’ll set that fact to one side for now.) The big question mark was how greatly the track would differ from the the Mugler remix.

The answer ended up being: Not at all. After an overlong intro, the track kicks into earnest with some of the dirtier beats we’ve heard so far, but — well, they’re the same ones we’ve already heard. The verse remains completely uninteresting, though; this entire song looks like it’s going to live or die by its hook, just like at Mugler.

At the time of writing, I’m 2:40 into the song and I’m on the verge of shoving knives into my ears. The verses are dissonant, ugly, and jarring.

What a horrid letdown. I had high hopes for this song. It went nowhere. Who let her release this atrocious mess? If it weren’t for the quality of the hook — which is quite real — this song would be among the worst she’d ever released. Total disappointment.

Initial impression: C-

4. “Judas”: I love this song. A lot. I’m in love with “Judas.” It would have fit nicely onto “Fame Monster” — and I still like it. I must have been the only person on Earth to do so, however, given that it completely flopped on the radio.

Oh, well. Everyone flops. Anyway: the song — despite a few clunky lyrics and a misguided breakdown — is quite good, and the final minute is breathtaking: “I cling to!” — That’s a great pop moment. I’ll still be listening to this song sometimes a year from now. It’s the highlight of the album, so far.

Impression: A-

5. “Americano”: I’m at 0:30 as I write this — it sounds messy so far. I never had high hopes for this song, so even a pleasant listen will be something of a nice surprise.

Okay, I’m now at 1:00. It’s not happening. I’m going to struggle to get through this track.

I’m at 2:10. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’m just gonna sit back and say nothing in the hopes of not losing my damn mind.

3:40 — Yes! Here’s a nice outro. That was a nice ending. And it’s ending! I’m so happy!

Fuck, that was painful.

Initial impression: D

6. “Hair”: My thoughts about this haven’t changed much since yesterday. But listening to the joyful chorus of this song is euphoric after the four minutes of trash that I just sat through.

I actually love the melody to the chorus in this track. The last ninety seconds are breathtaking. The way that much of the instrumental drops out of the second-to-last chorus is really inspired.

The lyrics remain banal, at best, but RedOne’s sparkling production and the brilliant melody to the chorus rescue the song from what could have been, in the hands of Fernando Garibay and DJ White Shadow — who have done nothing but disappoint, so far, up to Track 6 — something a lot worse. Why was RedOne granted only three tracks on this album? He’s proving more and more to be Gaga’s true ‘secret ingredient.’

Impression: B+ overall, A for the chorus

7. “Scheisse”: The last of the RedOne tracks. I’d actually never bothered to listen to the preview at the Mugler show, so this track came to me fresh. Because it’s RedOne, I walked into it with high hopes.

Gaga’s penchant for inserting random foreign phrases into her words has always been irritating. I suppose this track was meant to “get it out of her system.” I’m at 1:00 as I write this and so far I don’t like this at all, but we all know that Gaga songs are structured around the chorus,with the verses just needing to be tolerable enough to get you there (if they’re good, all the better, but they’re never the point).

I’m at 2:00 as I write this: What is this, some feminist anthem? At any rate, the chorus is good but not as memorable as RedOne’s other contributions. Two out of three ain’t bad, though — and it’s actually a better hit-to-miss ratio than his “Fame Monster” contributions. What messes up this song has nothing to do with RedOne, though: it’s, as usual, Gaga’s obnoxious lyrics. The verses are insufferable.

Initial impression: B-

8. “Bloody Mary”: Alright, back to the Fernando Garibay tracks. The track somewhat resembles “Alejandro” when it starts out. The verses go nowhere, for me, and the lyrics are — are you noticing a pattern, here? — a bit overwrought.

The chorus is very Madonna. I can see myself enjoying this more after a couple of listens, but this track, on the whole, screams ‘filler.’ I have little to say about it. It’s simply not very interesting. It’s pleasant, but it’s forgettable.

Initial impression: B-

9. “Bad Kids”: I anticipated hating this track. I figured that it would be some kind of anthem for Little Monsters about how freakish, outcast, and eccentric they supposedly are.

I’m at 1:30 as I write this: I was right! And, to top it off, it assures the Little Monster listening that they’re still special to Mommy Monster. Gag me.

Initial impression: D+

10. “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”: Um, is it just me, or is the chorus to this song almost note-for-note the same as “Poker Face”? Down to the syncopation, it’s the same damn song! What the fuck is this? If I wanted to hear a “Poker Face” remix, I’d go buy the fucking “Poker Face” Remix EP on iTunes.

Initial impression: F for plagiarism. (And this was done with Fernando Garibay, while “Poker Face” was with RedOne, so, yes, I’m calling plagiarism.)

11. “Heavy Metal Lover”: This, with “Electric Chapel,” was one of my two most-anticipated tracks. At this point I’m extremely disappointed in the album, so I’m hoping that the next two tracks can redeem it in some fashion for me.

I’m at 0:47. This production is nice. She’s, for the first time on the album, allowed her producers to use her voice as an instrument to blend into the overall final product. In that sense, this track is really a production showcase for Fernando Garibay, who comes off fairly well, here.

Unfortunately, the track is nearly hookless. A song with a title like this should capture the spirit of heavy metal: balls-out, dramatic, and theatrical, with some slashing guitars or perhaps some blast-beat drums to mix up an album that promised to be innovative but is failing to deliver.

Instead, it sounds — well, nothing like that. This boring track will probably rank as the album’s biggest letdown for me. This sounded nothing like I was hoping. It’s boring.

Initial impression: C-

12. “Electric Chapel”: For the love of God, I hope that this track can redeem this album. I loved the preview and the title is awesome. Here we go…

0:40 — Ooh, I love this beat. It sounds sparkling in HQ.

I’m at 1:00 as I type this. The production to the chorus is lovely. The melody is subtle and is the kind of thing — oh, that piano! — Ooh, this is good. I like this track. — Ooh, there’s some guitars! (Where were they in “Heavy Metal Lover”?) Look how giddy I am to have come across a good track!

This sounds like a song that The Saturdays would kill for. And I love The Saturdays. This is a hot track.

3:00 — A friend just pointed out to me that the melody to the verses was basically identical to the melody to the verses of Kylie Minogue’s “Cupid Boy” — which, alas, is true. And the song only came But it doesn’t diminish what is still a good song.

Initial impression: A-

13. “You and I”: Um, for some reason, my download didn’t have this. Sorry. I’ll have thoughts later.

14. “The Edge of Glory”: This was the perfect closing track to this album. Nothing else could have done the trick. My impression of the song remains the same: it’s got a nice, anthemic chorus, passable lyrics, a nice theme — and then the cheesy sax break nearly kills the momentum (it doesn’t help that you can ‘see the seams’ of where the saxophone was inserted). But it’s still a good enough song that it’s worth listening to more than a few times — and more than good enough to deserve a slot as the final track.

Impression: B+

Overall: Holy shit, what a disappointment. The only track that I liked that I hadn’t already heard was “Electric Chapel,” which was one of my most-anticipated tracks. That song met my expectations. The rest were either filler (‘Bloody Mary,’ ‘Heavy Metal Lover’), corny (‘Bad Kids’), plagiarized (‘Highway Unicorn’) or downright messy (the ghastly ‘Americano’).

The presence of four or five strong tracks makes this album impossible to give a terrible grade to, and even when certain songs are weak as a whole, the production is often quite good.

Best track: “Judas”

Worst track: “Americano”

Best chorus: “Hair”

Worst chorus: “Heavy Metal Lover”

Best production: “Hair,” “Electric Chapel”

Worst production: “Government Hooker”

Biggest surprise: “Hair” (most had high hopes for this; I did not)

Biggest letdown: “Government Hooker”

Best lyrics: “Electric Chapel”

Worst lyrics: “Bad Kids,” “Government Hooker” (tie)

Not as good as: Femme Fatale

Better than: Loud

As good as: Teenage Dream

Music: B

Lyrics: C-

Production: B+

Overall: B-

Was it the album of the decade?: No.

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