Monday, May 23, 2011
Lady Gaga: Born This Way
Lady Gaga's second full-length album arrived in stores today (for as little as $1 at Amazon.com, which is a pretty amazing deal). I listened probably 3 times through today. Generally I'm pretty pleased, although it's not perfect. It's a pretty relentless album but it has a lot of variety, so I'm not suffering listener fatigue as yet. Here some initial impressions:
Marry the Night: Great choice for an opening track. Starts quiet and dramatic before bursting forth with a charging beat drenched in '80s electro dance-pop. An instant favorite and certainly a future single. Produced by Garibay, who is the most prominent producer on Born This Way, showing up on 11 of the 17 tracks.
Born This Way: It has its detractors, but I still love it.
Government Hooker: This is an odd one. Not sure how I feel about it yet. The JFK reference doesn't seem very natural. It sounds a bit like Britney Spears' "Gimme More."
Judas: This is the first RedOne-produced tracks on the album. Another one that I really love.
Americano: It's got a Latin thing going on, which is different for her. Still a bracing piece of dance pop. Quite over the top.
Hair: The saxophone makes its entrance on this second RedOne production. Nice melody and I like the little touch of piano, but the lyrics are pretty silly even for her.
Scheiße: "I don't speak German, but I can if you like" says Gaga at the top of this harder club-oriented song. Got a real '90s dance music sound to it, which is fun. Among the tracks so far that aren't singles, this is probably my second favorite after the opening track.
Bloody Mary: There's a lot of religious imagery on this album, but that's it--it's just imagery and nothing really deep (I don't think, will have to check out the lyrics to know for sure). Slower and theatrical. Reminds me of Pet Shop Boys in a way.
Black Jesus + Amen Fashion: This is one of the extra tracks on the longer edition ( after buying the $1 Amazon version, I cherry-picked the three additional tracks from iTunes, so we're looking at about $5 total for this). Surprised this isn't just on the album proper. It's pretty cool. A bit disco-ish. This is produced by DJ White Shadow, who shows up as co-producer on several other tracks.
Bad Kids: This is another self esteem pop song in a vein similar to "Born This Way." Her message of universal love for all the outcasts doesn't really seem that genuine, but I guess it's a good sentiment.
Fashion of His Love: Another bonus track. This is very '80s, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood style '80s. Fun song. Again, this is better than some of the album proper tracks, so I definitely recommend getting the 17-track version of this.
Highway Unicorn (Road to Love): Kind of messy production here, making the song go all over the place. Then the very melodic chorus breaks through the mess like a breath of fresh air. Not sold on this one yet, but it does have a pretty good beat.
Heavy Metal Lover: It's got a synth-based beat like "Born This Way," but otherwise sounds pretty different. Despite the title, this is dance pop through and through.
Electric Chapel: Here's the electric guitar along with some strings. Nice musical intro that segues into some pretty strong electronic keyboards. This song has a lot going for it actually, despite being buried back toward the end.
The Queen: Another bonus cut. Odd chimes at the beginning--like the sound the trolleys make in San Francisco. Then the tempo speeds up and we get upbeat dance pop.
You and I: Mutt Lange produced this song and it totally sounds like it, riding that country/rock/pop sound he does so well. I wonder if, in another world, this appeared on a Shania Twain album. Tempo wise, this is probably the slowest the album ever gets.
The Edge of Glory: The current single. I like this song, but not as much as "Born This Way" or "Judas." Still, I find myself singing it odd times, so it's definitely sunk in.
So, there you have it. It's pretty long, but I wouldn't characterize much of it as filler. Certainly far less so than The Fame. A proper review should follow this weekend.