Sunday, July 10, 2011
Born to Slay
It's been a little over a month since Lady Gaga's third album Born This Way was released. I never got the chance to write a review of the album, and every time I'm on blogger or thinking of my blog I think to myself, "damn, that's a void I need to fill." Hence, here I am: I'll be giving my thoughts on the CD now that I've had a month with it and now that my opinions and outlooks on songs have changed - some for the better, or some for the worse.
In a broad sense, it was unreal to finally have new music. I'm a massive, massive Gaga fan, and that's no secret to anyone; time drags on without anything fresh, and while I'm the first to recognize that she needs time away from the spotlight to avoid overexposure, I was itching for something new. As a whole, BTW is fantastic, though it isn't perfect, nor is it the greatest album of the decade as it was touted before its release. (that is the album's downfall: unbelievably high standards that, even if it was flawless, would be impossible to meet)
The album opens with Marry the Night which is incredible letdown. It was one of my most anticipated songs and everything about it comes across as underwhelming for me; I like that it's daring enough to change up the beat after a "fake-out" ending - and by that I mean conventionally the song ends with a final chorus before it kicks into an entirely different tempo with an extended outro; it isn't enough to save the great expectations I had, but so be it, as I see this as a future single. Born This Way itself follows, and while I'm glad it did it's job as a lead single and garnered great success, it's just not my favourite. Perhaps its just too corny for me. The final real personal "letdown" is the third track, Government Hooker, merely because she used a remix of the song for a fashion show months ago and the final version was almost identical - in that sense I was only disappointed because it wasn't fresh to me. It is, still, a great song, and I particularly like the obnoxious bleep censoring in the final lines as well as the filthiness of the lyrics overall. You'd think I'd hate the album after disliking the first three songs, eh?
Judas is next, and the album kicks into high gear. I've already detailed my thoughts on Judas here on my blog, and nothing's changed; I love it all the same, if not more, since the video is the best she's made. Americano, the fifth song, a Mariachi inspired dance powerhouse with a killer beat and instantly catchy hooks (la la la la la la la, anyone?), is perhaps among my top three Gaga songs of all time, if not my favourite Gaga song ever, even though it's ridiculously cheesy; Hair screams single potential despite its unique manufacturing (and by that I mean the first verse is like a ballad, the second verse is onwards has a dance beat, and the whole song features a saxophone), and the song is only heightened by the sheer excellence of her live acoustic performances of it. Seriously, Youtube any acoustic performance of Hair - maybe the one in Singapore, where she literally cries when the crowd belts out the lyrics to her, and I swear to god if my heart wasn't made of adamantium I would've cried too (I got massive chills, though). Scheiße is amazing. The beat is ridiculous. Mark my words, it's the next single, and it will be huge, aside from my paranoia about the profanity - it is, after all, named the German word for "shit."
The eighth song, Bloody Mary: holy shit. Hands down the finest song she has ever, ever written. Lyrically, it's incredible; its sound is haunting. I look at Bloody Mary like I consider Dance in the Dark to be the high point of The Fame Monster; dark, not overly radio appropriate, though bloody incredible, and almost "unknown" to the point where it's a personal gift to the fans, unspoiled by overexposure on the radio. I adore this song.
And so we hit our sang. Black Jesus † Amen Fashion, the first of three bonus tracks, is too misguided for me to like it, even though it still is bearable to listen to; I try to like Bad Kids as hard as I can, but it too underwhelms me, given that the hard attitude of the verses is completely yanked away by the overtly bubblegum choruses; the second bonus song, Fashion of His Love, is easily my least favourite of the entire album, and I look at is as just plain awful. The 80s sound to it doesn't do it for me, nor do the undeniable similarities to Whitney Houston; I do like, however, that she uses a verse from an unreleased song of hers called Earthquake which I adore. It isn't enough to save the song for me, though, and I would go as far as saying I do hate it.
The album regains its momentum with Highway Unicorn (Road to Love); this song in particular was a standout to me given that I completely wrote it off before listening to it just because of its stupid title. Instead, it sounds in the vein of Poker Face, and the multitude of hooks keep it continuously fresh. Heavy Metal Lover has quickly become one of my all time favourites, but unlike Americano, it took a while to grow on me. The song reminds me so much of her first CD The Fame, and the cool vocal style and lyrics coupled with a great beat makes it amazing. Electric Chapel, aside from the bonus tracks, is the only song I look at as album filler, but even then, it's still a great song, and only recently has it started to creep up in my mind more and more much like HML did, and who knows, after playing it on end to get it out of my system, I'll probably adore it.
The Queen is just awful. I like the direction of her lyrics (an ode to the fans, beautifully written at times, too, but the sound is bad) but it comes off as, simply, awful. (it's extremely off putting where instead of a post-chorus she sings "the que-ee-ee-ee-e-e-een, que-que-queen, que-que-queen, que-que-queeeen." Bloody terrible) I only enjoy the song as it switches tempo much like Marry the Night; if the entire song was slow with the guitar, I'd love it. It's a treat to finally have Yoü & I officially, but nothing can compare to hearing it live, as I've had the pleasure of hearing it. The album comes to a close with The Edge of Glory which is beautiful. While I'm not overly thrilled it became the third single (even though it's very successful), and while I absolutely loathe the video (utter, utter shit), I love the song dearly.
Do not miss: Bloody Mary, Americano, Heavy Metal Lover, Scheiße, Highway Unicorn (Road to Love), The Edge of Glory, Hair
There you have it. An overlong and overdue review of Born This Way. As I said before, it's a solid entry to her repertoire, despite some missteps which are easily remedied by the skip button. No, it isn't the greatest album of the decade, but it's way up there, and I'm more than okay with knowing that these seventeen songs (save some) are the songs I'll tide myself over with until her next release - I'm not greedy; I know it'll be in a few years. It'll be worth the wait if it's anything like this was. Waaaa-aaaah, waaaaa-aaaa-aaahhh, Americanoooo!
(I would also like to say: I am no longer going to mention Lady Gaga on my blog, or at least, it won't be as frequently, which I realize has happened and I swear to you, while I am a huge fan, she does not run my life)