Friday, February 11, 2011

B-B-Born This Way

Two Gaga posts in a row?  I know, I know.  I really can't pass this up.  Not that I have a defined plan for this post at all, I think it'll be all over the place.

Do I love the song?  Absolutely.  The beat is unbelievable, the fast pace is refreshing (if not a little TOO fast - but I think that's just because for the past six months the slow tune of the chorus sung at the VMAs has been stuck in my mind and I'm used to it), her vocals are as good as ever.

I'm glad the song is doing extremely well on its first day of release.  #1 on iTunes in 20+ countries around the world - awesome.  I'm more than confident that the song will debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  If it's any signal, every radio station in the area (and upon my research, in the country and in the US) has been playing the song every hour.  I am beyond excited for the Grammy performance of the song.

Now for the negatives.  Oh, yes, there are always negatives.

I'm worried that the song will fail, commercially if not with reception.  Gaga fans alike have expressed a dislike for the song, and countless sites and media outlets are calling the song out as ripping off Madonna.  I'm concerned that the revolutionary sounding dance beat isn't overly commercial, and that the general public may not receive it overly well on the radio.  That's just foolishness now, though, looking at the sales and radio airplay.

My main problem with the song, though: I've grown bored of the whole inspirational wave of music on the radio - We R Who We R, Raise Your Glass, Firework, Fucking Perfect (Fucking Perfect is a really really gorgeous song though).  We get it, it's a great message to send to listeners.  Love yourself.  If not for the overload, I'd still like the idea.  In fact, I don't have a problem with the message in Born This Way at all.  It's problem is that it's a bit too heavy-handed.

Gaga's new song comes across as nearly TOO specialized.  (I'm opening a can of worms here) The thing is, given her outspoken stance on the issue and lines like "don't be a drag, be a queen," the song feels far too much like a gay anthem.  Yes, yes.  She addresses race and religion and beauty and what have you, too; in fact, race plays a big role in the spoken word bridge of the song.  Like I mentioned, though, the fact that we know Gaga is a massive gay rights advocate and that people like Elton John have branded the song as "the new gay anthem," the song feels like nothing but that.  Again, I don't have a problem with that.  I don't have a problem with the song being a gay anthem.  My problem is that the song seems ONLY like a gay anthem.

Consider, say, Ke$ha's We R Who We R.  Dreadful song, I know.  But that song, too, is a "gay anthem."  Its lyrics are largely applicable, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Ke$ha herself stated that she wrote the song in response to the influx of gay teen suicides.  Here's the difference: the song isn't "exclusive." (and I really, REALLY loathe using that word, but it's the only way I can make the point clear enough)  What I mean by that is sure, a young gay teenager can take the song and apply it to themselves; so can a straight male teenager, "they are who they are;" so can a female teenager, straight or gay; so can those with self esteem issues; so can those of varying races.  The song's lyrics, however poor as they may be (poor in this example.  For the sake of this you can ignore it all and use Firework as this whole example), are general, so general that ANYONE can relate.  Born This Way, on the flip side, as I've mentioned, seems a bit too focused and specialized.  Maybe it's just me.

Either way, I truly do appreciate Lady Gaga for the heart she puts behind her lyrics.  I appreciate her growth as an artist; definitely in her sound, but more specifically in her subject matter - she's gone from songs like Money Honey to Born This Way.  I only hope that her album isn't full of her political agenda - yes, while I like the growth from singing about the superficial to singing with meaning, I DON'T want my enjoyment of the songs clouded by an overbearing message.

Born This Way, though, seems like it might be just that.

No comments:

Post a Comment