Born This Way: The Review

…Oh dear.

Well, here it is. Believe it or not, I’ve been genuinely looking forward to hearing this, and while I didn’t camp out all night like I did for Britney’s “3,” I rushed to the computer when I woke up an hour ago. I’ve listened a few times now, and, well, it’s sort of exactly what I thought it would be.

It’s alright. And that’s not to be read as “Alex said it was okay, so it must be actually be awesome!” — I’ve always considered myself a fan of Gaga’s music, including many album tracks like “Boys Boys Boys” and “Starstruck” (both of which are better than “Born This Way”). But right: it’s not quite the “anthem of our generation,” and not quite befitting a lead single of the “album of the decade.” Some of Gaga’s stans are out in full force already, declaring that the song is fantastic on its own merits and shouldn’t be judged solely on whether it “meets the hype,” since, well, nothing could do that.

Well, no, I suppose that nothing could, and that would be a perfectly valid point if Lady Gaga weren’t her own one-woman hype machine. It wasn’t Rolling Stone that called this song the anthem for our generation, after all — it was her. It wasn’t Entertainment Weekly that called her next album the defining work of a generation — that was her, too. It wasn’t The New York Times that declared her one of the best songwriters in the industry — that, once again, was Lady Gaga herself.

She has yet to show that she can even write a song without peeking over at Madonna and Ace of Base’s notes. There’s no shame in covering a song, but you really shouldn’t change the title and lyrics and declare that the whole thing came from your pen. The conventional wisdom is completely right, this time: thirty seconds into the song, my jaw literally dropped: “Oh my God! It’s Madonna!” The song is “Express Yourself” on steroids, with all of the quality lyrics replaced by bromides from motivational posters.

Let’s try to review the track on its own merits, though, if that’s even possible.

Fernando Garibay’s production accomplishes exactly what Lady Gaga intended: while the dance beats don’t quite qualify as “sledgehammering” — the chorus to “Bad Romance” felt more sledgehammering to me; this track feels more, well — I won’t use the word “glacial” as PopJustice’s stan review did — but more, I’ll say, by-the-book. The production is as gay as the lyrics, but more to the point: they aren’t distracting, and they allow the lyrics and melody to emerge as the focal points of the song, which one can imagine is what she wanted. That’s dangerous new territory for her, though, as her fame has largely grown out of RedOne’s dance beats — not her lyrics, which have, to this point, been chants about boys, clubbing, sex, and booze. She rose to fame as someone who releases catchy party music. This song is a massive gamble, and the production does nothing to mitigate that fact.

The lyrics are a little awkward when matched with the melody, and parts of the second chorus and bridge feel like they were duct-taped and nailed into the rhythm, as if there were some sort of danger that they’d keep popping back out. “They just won’t fit!” someone yells, and Gaga replies: “Oh, we’ll make them fit, alright!” (Prime example: “Bullied or teased” does not flow well at all.) The second verse is even odder and feels like a stream-of-consciousness ramble, with no one phrase having any logical connection to the next. Lyrics like “whether you love him or capital H.I.M.” are weird in all the wrong ways: I suppose she means “whether you’re gay or religious,” but it’s awfully contrived. Surely one of the greatest songwriters in the industry could have come up with phrasing that was a bit better than that.

Who allowed her to release this? Which record company executives gave this song the green-light? Is this some grand conspiracy by the Haus of Record Executives to create a backlash, humble her, and make her easier to work with? Because, in releasing this blatant ripoff of a song, it’s clear that she thinks that she’s an invincible goddess who can create a smash simply by her namesake. But it’s exactly as self-indulgent, contrived, generic, and ego-tripping as I had been anticipating for weeks. This is it? This is what she’s been dying to let us hear? This is — her worst single to date.

The world finally awakened to Kanye West’s narcissism when he rushed the stage to steal the mic from Taylor Swift. The world should now finally awaken to the fact that Lady Gaga has been blatantly thieving from her superiors and is in desperate need of being taken down a few notches.

Mark my words: sometime in March, we receive word that “Born This Way” was just a “buzz single” and that a RedOne track about approaching boys in a club will be released as the album’s main single. Call it a hunch.

2.5/5

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13 Comments

  1. Ducky
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “she thinks that she’s an invincible goddess who can create a smash simply by her namesake.”

    And she has the right to think that because it’s true. NO ONE else but Gaga would be able to pull off such a clone of a song and not get ripped apart from music critics.

    • Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Did you miss the post above this one? She IS getting ripped apart!

      • Ducky
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

        But from I’ve read, music critics are letting it slide. Rolling Stone gave it a 4/5. Top40 gave it a 5/5. Prophetblog gave it a 3.5/5.

        No one other artist could rip off a song that badly and be given that much grace.

    • CCCC
      Posted February 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m really getting sick of people who say “she can rip off a song and get away with it if it sounds good” are you listeneing to what you say? this isnt a sample or a cover, it’s ‘her own song’ and your still agreeing with the fact it’s a ripoff, and yet you still say ‘thats okay’.

      you know how many people could rip songs off from 2-3 decades ago and ‘improve them’? a shitload of artists, but it turns out /some/ people have some respect instead of being self-indulging jackasses.

      just wanted to say that. because being an artist myself, not a singing one but a drawing/painting one, I’d be right pissed if I made something, someone else copied and hyped themselves up and got all the glory/credit for my original composition. whoever came up with this “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” shit was probably the one copying.

  2. Jayden James
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Prophet’s review was quite back-handed to say the least… LMAO

  3. LadyBritBrit
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I hate how her fans are treating the exact matching of the song like a good thing. A modern Expres Yourself people have been saying. I don’t even get that. If Britney ripped off another song she would be torn apart and killed. I mean some people thought HIAM was too modern and should’ve been more futuristic and it sounds like Kesha reject (Which it doen’t, I got Kesha’s records and the closest thing to it are her ballads, which aren’t really like HIAM anyway)

  4. MM
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “I wrote it in ten f—ing minutes, and it is a completely magical message song. And after I wrote it, the gates just opened, and the songs kept coming. It was like an immaculate conception.” (From “Vogue”: http://music-mix.ew.com/2011/02/10/lady-gaga-on-the-cover-of-vogue-what-do-you-think-of-her-weird-new-look/)

    Ten minutes you say? Yeah: we can tell.

  5. Scott
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 2:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    I originally came to this site thinking I’d get some interesting insight in to why people might have some legitimate gripes about Lady Gaga. But really… this site is crap. Her appearances on 60 minutes and Leno have blown all of your ridiculous claims to waste. Her sincerity is a breath of fresh air compared to your silly ridicule.

    • Alex Knepper
      Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink | Reply

      Great reply! I love how you addressed points I made.

      • CCCC
        Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

        lol yes, they’ve spammed this comment on every article but havn’t said a word of their thoughts.

  6. CCCC
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “Mark my words: sometime in March, we receive word that “Born This Way” was just a “buzz single” and that a RedOne track about approaching boys in a club will be released as the album’s main single. Call it a hunch.”

    sounds like your hunch was right:
    “http://www.omgmusic.com/news/lady-gaga-talks-new-song-hair
    Following this month’s hit Born This Way, the star confirmed that Judas is the next single. The track was produced by longtime collaborator RedOne and will be out in “a couple of weeks before the album.””

    would read the rest of the article, too, the lyrics to her song also called ‘ahir’ sound as silly as born this way, and I ready somewhere esle she said there will be a song called “americano”:
    “Gaga has described “Americano” as “a big mariachi techno-house record, where I am singing about immigration law and gay marriage and all sorts of things that have to do with disenfranchised communities in America.”
    (I find it funny gaga always has to go with a theme. if you read the first article It says ‘hair’ has a sort of ‘bruce springsteen feel’ Alejandro was heavy on Ace of Base, Poker Face sounded a lot like Kat De Luna song called Calling you, and Born this way was obviously Madonna Express yourself+slight vogue. now when she talkes a song about immigration she uses a ‘mariachi’ theme? lmao. maybe she will channel Menudu or Ricky Martin “cuz they’re mexican”)

    also I found the first article by reading this one, which is just absurd:
    http://www.omgmusic.com/news/lady-gaga-wants-an-exhibit-at-the-louvre

  7. Fos
    Posted March 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    how I love your blog. *bookmarks*

  8. Oscar
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “buzz single”?? hahaha… What song did you mean? Hold It Against Me? or Till the Flop Ends?? Born This Way will be #1 on Billboard and Global Track Chart for another week… 😀

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