Lady Gaga’s much anticipated sophomore release (or third album if you count The Fame Monster as her second) will be released on Monday, May 23rd.
The album opens up with “Marry The Night”, a song about Lady Gaga’s love for her native New York. Fusing electronic beats with interesting lyrics about belonging, her vocals are not drowned out and the production is quite good on this, especially after the bridge.
“Marry The Night” is a decent album opener, followed by her mega-hit “Born This Way”. And while I believe the song itself was driven more by hype than quality (It has become Lady Gaga’s biggest hit but I don’t think it’s her best song), it sets the tone for the message Lady Gaga wants to get across with this album: embrace who you are, regardless of who that might be.
“Born This Way” is followed by “Government Hooker”, arguably one of the most hyped about tracks of the album. Starting off with a very interesting beat, Government Hooker has a brilliant line on the bridge: “put your hands on me John F. Kennedy.” But is this the monster song of the album? No. It is not something I can find myself repeating on end although I can definitely see it being played at some night clubs courtesy of its stunning beat.
And then comes “Judas”, probably the most controversial song on the album. Discussing the struggle between love and sin with a religious twist, “Judas” was the album’s second single but failed to become a mega-hit on pop radio, even though it follows the “Bad Romance” style closely. What “Judas” and “Government Hooker” have in common is their similarity is their euro-pop roots.
“Americano” is a song that fuses latin beats. It is the “Alejandro” of the album, but unlike “Alejandro”, “Americano” doesn’t pack an extra-punch that would make it a viable radio single. “Americano” is a song about a lesbian romance in L.A. This is followed by “Hair”, a song that I feel belongs on the album of a much younger artist than Lady Gaga. The lyrics on it are corny and sometimes ridiculous. Some are saying this is her song for the tween audience, but I think it could have been so much better. For my full review of Hair, go here.
“Schiße” is a track incorporating German lyrics that I don’t understand. The beat is interesting, however. “Bloody Mary” is another song with religious inferences but it is a very interesting song. Do not be fooled by the song starting off with music reminiscent of Broadway musicals, the beat that comes later on is as grinding as the other songs on the album.
“Bad Kids” is the anthem to anyone who hasn’t grown out of misbehaving. It is her homage to the NYC Club Kids era. “Highway Unicorn” is a song about driving down on the highway in a convertible, another song about freedom and being born to be wild.
“Heavy Metal Lover” is Lady Gaga’s take on fetishes and it is more hardcore than Rihanna’s S&M. While I’m definitely not in this song’s target audience (the genre referenced in the title isn’t something I normally listen to as well), some people will like it. Different strokes, I guess. The song has, however, very cool vocalizations in the background.
“Electric Chapel” is an over the top song, driven by electronic beats where she tells the guy not to be a “holy fool”, a lyric also used in “Judas”, and meet her at the electric chapel. The song, like the many songs before it, also incorporates elements from 1980s music, albeit fusing them with sci-fi elements that lack in other songs.
“You and I” is the first track off the album that people heard when it was performed live last year. This is a piano-driven ballad with electronic beats as well, making for a rather unique sound. The album concludes with Lady Gaga’s current single, “The Edge of Glory”, about being on the edge of something great, be it love, life… the lyrics to this are good, as well as a brilliant saxophone breakdown. However, as I said before, I would have liked it to be slower.
“Born This Way” is an album that can’t be separated from hype because hype existed before the album was even conceived. Prior to its release, Lady Gaga had declared that this album would be the “greatest album of the decade”. I’m sorry, Lady Gaga. While this is a good album, it is not a classic that will go down in the books as the best album of the 2010s. Sure, it is different from most of the mainstream music currently being played, but it doesn’t stray far from that. After all, there isn’t a song on this that doesn’t have an electric beat, even the one that was labeled as a ballad.
So overall, horrible cover and Madonna-comparisons aside, this is an album that holds its own in a music climate where doing so isn’t enough. Yes, it will sell millions of copies and bring in millions for Lady Gaga and her label, but will it be enough to take award-gold? Some award shows will honor it. Others won’t. This is will be far from a clean sweep. But kudos for Lady Gaga on making a record expressing what she believes in, regardless of how radio-friendly it may sound (and on most songs, it actually is radio friendly). However, will this the coveted Album Of The Year at the Grammys? I’m going with no.