Love her or hate her, there’s no denying Lady Gaga made a huge splash into the pop world with her debut album The Fame. There’s no argument that the girl has talent, creativity and is wonderfully whacky and she was recently listed on Forbes as the most powerful celebrity, ousting Opera from the position.
I personally love Gaga. She has drive and convictions, she has climbed her way to the top and made us all sing and dance and smile with her. I thought her recent mentoring on American Idol showed how clued up she is on what works on stage. Her first album was uneven though - of greatness mixed with fillers that had more than a faint undercurrent of Madonna-ness. She followed this with Fame Monster, a mini-album that was braver, darker and crazier (see the into to Bad Romance – weird but brilliant). So I waited with bated breath for her second full album Born This Way and after it arrived on Saturday (thanks Amazon for the early delivery - the official release isn’t until today), I eagerly put it in the stereo to see what she had dreamt up this time.
The stand out song for me is Born This Way, the debut single. An anthem of acceptance - accepting and loving yourself and others, tolerance and a reminder that we should be proud of who we are. The message is faultless and Gaga plays it with a stomping dance song. Yes, we know there’s a hint of Madonna’s Express Yourself there but both songs are utterly fab so I’m not going to complain.
Another highlight is Government Hooker, with a opera-like opening and a strong bass line. The song is deep and dirty, unmistakably Gaga. The singles Judas, Hair and The Edge of Glory are a triple threat – brilliant sing along, dance songs. Bloody Mary is slower tempo song with religious elements musically and lyrically, and some good string intros. Electric Chapel has a great guitar sound alongside throbbing beats. You and I is the real ballad of the album and I love the passion and emotion Gaga displays here, seems to be the most honest moment and should be a future single.
Low points? Well, there are some weird bits. Americano is a bizarre Mexican sounding sing, a bit like a bull fighting anthem and Scheibe appears to be an ode to speaking German. Highway Unicorn and Heavy Metal Lover kind of blend into one. The Born this Way remix that closes the standard issue album is pointless and should have been left off the album in my opinion.
Overall, Born this Way is a vast improvement on The Fame and is more consistently good than the Monster mini album. The album is slightly more experimental with some interesting intros and elements of religion, opera, world music and rock. Gaga makes sure she runs the show – co-writing and producing all the songs and plating some of the instruments. This lady is musically talent there’s no doubt here. I’d like to see her collaborate with some other artists but she may go down the Madonna route and just do her own thing, we will have to wait and see.
So what about Gaga’s mark on the music world? Well, if she continues to push her music further and allows herself to widen her range a bit more she could certainly be this generation’s Michael Jackson or Madonna. She’s got the kookiness and the talent and the attitude and the fans. So her little monsters can be happy, she has avoided the sophomore slump and produced a great quality pop/dance album we can all enjoy.
Gaga – I’m still a fan. 4 / 5 stars!