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  • jshambley

Lady Gaga - 'Born This Way'

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Album: Born This Way

Artist: Lady Gaga

Release Date: May 23, 2011

Genre: Pop

Length: 1:01:07

Label: Interscope Records

Producer: DJ White Shadow/DJ Snake/Fernando Garibay/Lady Gaga/Robert John "Mutt" Lange/Jeppe Laursen/RedOne/Clinton Sparks

Rolling Stone Top 500 (2012): N/A

Rolling Stone Top 500 (2020): #484

Lady Nah-Nah...

Mega-Popstar, Lady Gaga, with her second studio release, Born This Way shot Gaga into a pop realm many wish to reach but few actually execute. The album peaked at #1 across the entire world even on the US Billboard 200, with the single of the album "Born This Way" becoming the 1000th song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album opens up with "Marry The Night" a more low-key dance pop track than the rest of the record, this song is the perfect opener to a 2011 pop album. The track features simple lyrics, club-like beats from the instruments and Gaga's distinct vocal sound. This track is quickly forgotten however when followed up by the smash hit "Born This Way". Gaga starts the song "It doesn't matter if you love him...or capital H.I.M '' announcing the track as a LGBTQ+ anthem. The song provides the listener with a catchy track, putting all of Gaga's talents at the forefront.

After the first two songs however, not many other songs scream anything unique. There are gems such as "Judas" with the heavy arena rock wails and drum sounds and "The Edge Of Glory" which gives the album a fantastic closure that allows Gaga to belt the lyrics. While the entire album is an enjoyable listen for the most part, a lot of the songs are heavily outdated due to the release being early 2010's and I'm listening to this during 2021. The overall instrumentation is quite cheesy, utilizing a heavy synth-pop club sound that starts to blend together song-to-song. The differences in each track are there and noticeable, but eventually, across the record's hour playtime, you start to question if you've heard the song before.

The lyrics Gaga sings about throughout the record are personal, touching and inspiring to many people and groups in the world. Especially paired with her emotion and how she enunciated everything, these lyrics eat through your brain and you can feel the messages being ingrained into your neural canals.

Despite Gaga's strength in the singing, lyricism, arrangement and her pop-star status, the beats and instrumentation ruin the album for me. Gaga herself absolutely killed the entire record, learning German for "Scheiße", the more dreary "Bloody Mary", and an almost country sound in "You And I", all of the strengths Gaga gives us just makes this overall record more disappointing.

I think if the record was made for release in 2021, or some other era of music that wasn't dominated by dance-pop beats and EDM influences, Born This Way would be one of the best pop records ever, and even though the accolades say it is, I disagree. The album has a set of fantastic singles in "Born This Way", "Judas", "You And I", and "The Edge Of Glory" but many forgettable songs like "Bad Kids", "Highway Unicorn", and "Electric Chapel". If you are a fan of dance-pop, go ahead and give the album a full listen, but if that genre annoys you overall, I'd say avoid and just listen to the four singles I mentioned...

Favorite Songs: "Born This Way", "Judas", "You And I", and "The Edge Of Glory"

Least Favorite Songs: "Bad Kids", "Highway Unicorn", "Electric Chapel", "Hair"

Production Quality:

  • Mix = 6/10 (Overall decent mix but sometimes overwhelming with certain sounds and aspects)

  • Innovation = 3/10 (Overall a not very innovative record but given extra points for being an LGBTQ+ anthem album)

Songwriting Quality:

  • Arrangement = 6.5/10 (Overall the song aspect of the record is there and arranged very well)

  • Lyricism = 10/10 (Fantastic lyrics that empower people)

Instrumentation Quality:

  • Vocal Timbre = 10/10 (Do I need to explain)

  • Instrumental Timbre = 2.5/10 (Too dancey and cheesy nowadays)

  • Group Chemistry = 5/10

Overall Likability:

  • My Personal Rating = 3.5/10

Overall Rating: 5.6/10

Any confusion on how the rating is weighted/calculated, please look at my "About" page.

Remember this is all my opinion! Let me know if you agree, disagree or have any comments!

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