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.

Schei├če: "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.

2 comments:

J.Mensah said...

Amazing album! I got the standard edition. I don't like the bonus tracks. Scheibe is my favorite too--I like singing along with the bullshit at the beginning. aasshhhtiii asshhitti flouuggnn ajksdha monfreer monsterr...

Chris B. said...

What does Gaga say about JFK in "Government Hooker?" What is this song about? Does it have anything to do with her recent activism over the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gays serving openly in the American military? I'm curious.