Album Review: Lady Gaga, “Born This Way”
By Sarah Jorgensen
I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan. However, even I was a little nervous for her new album, Born This Way, to drop. How could she ever top the tremendous commercial success of The Fame and its follow-up, The Fame Monster?
The answer: meshing a variety of trendy sounds with catchy lyrical hooks in one, cohesive package. Throughout Born This Way, Gaga crosses dubstep and techno beats with 80s arena pop in a remarkably seamless way. This is seen on the best of the albums’ tracks, including its energetic opener “Marry the Night” and the upbeat ode to her wigs, “Hair,” complete with 80s-style saxophone and melodramatic drums. Her heavier techno tracks, including “Heavy Metal Lover” and “Scheibe” are pretty excellent. At its high points, this album really soars – just take a listen to “Edge of Glory” and try to tell me that it isn’t epic.
Gaga also takes more steps to really show off her vocal talent, which is best demonstrated on the Elton John-esque “You and I” and “Americano.” These are two of my favorite songs on the album, because it really reminds you that damn, this woman can really sing.
This isn’t to say that the album doesn’t have its weak points. At times, the songs sound too similar, especially later in the album. This results in some forgettable songs, including “Fashion Of His Love” and “Bad Kids.” Additionally, some songs, including the album’s second single “Judas,” perhaps try a little too hard to be overly edgy, especially lyrically. Were the overdone religious references really worth it?
On the note of Gaga’s lyrics, they are the icing on top of a much more substantial musical product; they are really hit or miss. The radio hit “Born This Way” is undoubtedly inspirational and empowering, but it certainly isn’t the most lyrically complex song ever written. If Gaga wants to cement herself as a true legend, she may consider striving for slightly more intricate lyrics.
On the whole though, the album possesses a quality of true continuity that is rather rare in current pop albums. Undoubtedly, the more complex pop that Gaga sings is still a rarity within the music scene today. As a listener, it’s great to hear her reach her “Edge of Glory” and know that she still has even further to go.