Lady Gaga and I: A Review of ‘Born This Way’

26 May

Some of you have no interest in Lady Gaga, and that’s okay. You’re welcome to skip this blog and scamper away until I write something more interesting. Those of you who don’t openly despise Ms. Gaga for her music or style, sit back, because it’s been a few days and it’s time to review the new album.

I’ve been nervous about Born This Way. Privately of course, as I’m a closet Gaga fan and have been ever since I awkwardly bought a copy of ‘The Fame’ in Target almost two years ago. I enjoyed both The Fame and The Fame Monster, I watched the music videos, I danced to her songs in various bars. It’s hard to describe what makes Lady Gaga appeal to me. Musically it speaks to a small voice in the back of my head, a fabulous voice, but ultimately I respect Ms. Gaga as a person for putting herself out there and, basically, not giving a shit. She plays flaming pianos, wears dresses made of bubbles and scary high heels, and she’s a year older than me. Crazy successful and I could have gone to high school with her. She basically speaks for the nuts among us, the downtrodden, the outcasts, the sad creative types who spent most of their lives being poked by bigger, meaner fish.

So yeah. I like her. It’s lame, I deal with it.

The Born this Way single was the first nervous twitch for me. I liked it well enough, but it didn’t grab at my brainstem and tug it urgently like some of the songs of the past. The video make me check my glass to make sure nobody had spiked it, and the melody was so… Madonna… it caught me off guard. But it was catchy and fun and had a positive message I could get behind, so I took a deep breath and stepped back and said “okay, let’s see where this is going.”

I’ll say it flat: I didn’t like Judas. Not because of the religious issues (this is me we’re talking about), but just because I couldn’t get into the tune or the beat. It was blah. I was unexcited. Continuing to be nervous about the new album.

Cut to Monday, when the album goes on sale on Amazon MP3 for 99 cents.

I’ll be honest with you, fellow little monsters. I probably wouldn’t have jumped for it if it had been posted at the regular internet price of $9.99. For a buck I figured ‘what the hell’ and spent a good hour and a half or so of my working day on Tuesday giving it a listen.

I’ll be more honest with you: I don’t like Born This Way as an album.

It’s got decent individual songs. Some really good ones too. Edge of Glory is a good song, so is BTW. The rest of them I think I’d like if they were remixed by someone and played in a club. But that was the vibe I got from most of these tracks. They were lacking the energy of older Gaga songs to me. She was still singing, still dancing, but it didn’t gel with me. I couldn’t dig it. It felt like they took a bunch of beats you’d hear at a DJ party and then added some vocal tracks on top of it. I’d use words like lackluster, unenthusiastic, meh. Not bad per se. Just not ‘wow’. I wasn’t excited like I was the first time I listened to The Fame.

One song off that album saved it for me though. One song that sounded basically nothing like any of the other songs on the album.

You and I is the second to last song on the album, and it has what every other song seems to be missing. It’s got soul, heart, passion, it sounds like it gives a damn and has more to it than pounding bass. I heard this song, then listened to it again. And again. And once more for good measure.

I love this song.

Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for a good piano melody. Perhaps it’s that the lyrics speak to me. Whatever it is, this song is hands down the best on the album for me, no fight, and it’s saved my love of Lady Gaga. Because it’s real. It’s not just dance mixes and high heels. It’s a song about love and friendship and holding on to the things that matter. It’s got balls, big ones, and it gives a shit. It’s not tired or boring. It’s easy to tell (kind of like you can on Born this Way) that this song is coming from Lady Gaga’s heart, not produced or prodded into something catchy and drab.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t listened to the rest of the album much. I do plan on giving it another chance, and I’m sure some of the other songs will work for me in time.

But I love You and I because it reminds me that even though Ms. Gaga and I live worlds apart, we’re not so different. After all, we’ve both got our cool Nebraska guys.

I don’t have oodles of pride for my adopted home state, but it speaks to me, since even if it isn’t my home state, it’s the home state of the man I’m bonkers about. And if Ms. Gaga can admit the same thing on a multi-million dollar record, she’s gotta be all right.

So that’s my two cents: it’s not my favourite album, but for 99 cents on Amazon MP3, go for it. It has its moments.

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4 Responses to “Lady Gaga and I: A Review of ‘Born This Way’”

  1. katherine2525 May 26, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Hey there, thanks for adding me on Twitter! 🙂 I was hoping to hear a review of Born This Way from some of my Twitter Friends. It’s nice to hear an honest review, instead of fanatical “OMG I freakin’ LOVE her!” lol I felt the same way about the songs I’ve heard so far.

    • theinsomniakid May 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

      I love new twitter friends! 🙂 glad I could help with the review. I’m glad there are at least a couple of good songs, but it’s just not the same as the first time I listened to The Fame or The Fame Monster where I went ‘OMG these songs are AMAZING’. It’s worth a listen-through, but I’m hoping Ms. Gaga can do better with the next album as a whole.

  2. heideelahree May 27, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    One of my obsessive Gaga friends and I had several discussions pre-album that basically came down to this: “Either the next album is going to make her a legend, or she’s going to go downhill.” Maybe the next album will be a recovery, but I agree with what you’ve said. I think she tried too hard. I had a couple I liked, but the songs aren’t fun like her previous hits. The German one makes me happy, as does “You and I,” which I say as a non-Nebraskan. I think Born this Way kinda killed my Gaga love a bit. Like I said, hopefully the next album will be an improvement.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Notes from a Subculture | Not Your Gamer Girlfriend - May 27, 2011

    […] Yesterday I posted a review of the new Lady Gaga album over on my other blog. If you don’t care, you may leave it alone, but if you’re interested in my opinions, you can find it here. […]

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