Tag Archives: rip-off

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.


“Born This Way” Media Round-Up

Overall, mixed reviews, with a consensus that she blatantly ripped off Madonna.

The Boston Herald:

This morning Lady Gaga released “Born This Way” — the title track from her May 23-due album. How is it?

Well, do you like Madonna? Because Gaga sure does. Her love of the Material Girl isn’t exactly breaking news, but “Born This Way” (listen to it below) takes Gaga’s Madge fetish to a new level. The straight-ahead, thumping club beat nicely recalls “Express Yourself.” The cadence of Gaga’s voice during the spoken-word bits and the stecatto vocal melody is straight out of “Vogue.”

The Sun:

LADY GAGA has faced a storm of criticism from MADONNA fans today who claim her new single resembles a vintage Madge track.

The eagerly-awaited Born This Way hit the net this morning – followed by a flurry of comments saying it bears more than a passing resemblance to the Material Girl’s 1989 Top Five smash Express Yourself.

And I tend to agree.

The Atlantic:

Lady Gaga’s new single “Born This Way” debuted this morning, after months of hype. To say that the musical world is excited for Gaga’s new song—which she will perform this Sunday at the Grammys—is an understatement (a local D.C. radio station has pledged to play it at the top of the hour every hour for the rest of the day).

How does it sound? Pretty familiar, actually.

The Washington Post calls her a thief but likes it anyway:

Lady Gaga’s new release final hit the interwebs Friday, much to the glee of her gaggle of die-hard fans. The song is not art, it won’t blow you away, and it’s a total ripoff of Madonna’s Express Yourself. It’s also a delicious pop song.

The Guardian dissents:

So what does it sound like? Well, a lot like Madonna’s Express Yourself, so much so that those two words are currently trending on Twitter. There’s also some spoken-word bits a la the Material Girl (as no one calls her any more), but it doesn’t sound copycat, more a knowing nod and a cute wink.

Born This Way is a thumping, almost disco anthem that stomps along until the chorus crashes in with the weight of a discarded meat dress. Lyrically, it’s all love yourself whoever you are and “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”. Within the ridiculously camp musical context, the lyrics sound a lot less heavy-handed than it would suggest. One suspects it will probably shift a few copies.

Huffington Post:

No matter what it sounded like, for everyone but diehard “little monsters,” it wasn’t going to be enough. But more importantly, when the song doesn’t work (it doesn’t, in my opinion), there’s nothing you can do to stop the chatter. This morning, #Express Yourself is trending almost as high on Twitter as “BornThisWay or any of its hashtaggy permutations. The Web world has taken the reins on a song they already felt they owned, and for Gaga, there’s nothing to be done. She gave the song over to the world, and the world will respond back…Gaga looked into the reflecting pool and saw nothing but herself — but unlike Narcissus, maybe what she didn’t realize is that the pool was full of sharks.


It’s arguably one of the most anticipated singles of the year, but is Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” all that new?

After leaking the lyrics on her Twitter account, Gaga debuted the single, from her album due out May 23, on Friday. And while #bornthiswayfriday remained a trending topic on Twitter all morning – another term began trending as well: “Express Yourself,” as in Madonna‘s 1989 Top 10 hit. By late morning, “Express Yourself” had become more popular than #bornthiswayfriday on Twitter, with fans and foes alike comparing the songs.

“I’m sorry but it pisses me off so much that Born this way sounds like Madonna’s Express yourself. I expected Born this way to be UNIQUE,” Tweeted one Gaga lover, CelesteLoveGaga.

More to come…

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.