Born This Way
Rating: 1 / 5 Stars
*This review has also appeared on Epinions and Amazon.*
Cons: Lyrics, musicianship, cheap production, repetitive and uninspired melodies, comparing of gay people to monsters and freaks, offensive, religiously inaccurate, and just plain old boring.
I avoided this album like it was musical cancer. Not because I was afraid of liking it. But rather because I just didn't want to have to listen to it. I listened with open ears and an open mind and wondered whether or not Born This Way would have any sort of substance to it. Firstly, does it live up to GaGa's debut record, which can be regarded as her version of She's So Unusual. Well, no, it does not. And that isn't saying much. Frankly stated, Born This Way is so bad, that we need a new word for bad. It is not bad because of the way she dresses; it is not bad because of the fact that she gave the album away with proof of purchase of coffees, game cards or cellphones; it is not bad because it premiered on a Facebook game: it is bad because the songwriting is very hollow, uninspired and generally lazy. It is bad because the melodies are boring and plagiarized. It is bad because it is simply not memorable or catchy. It's difficult to continually give one one-star ratings to Lady GaGa's music-it's just what's expected of me. But I hope people read this review and find the merit behind it. I genuinely did not like this album, and I still have no clue why people eat her up.
The hype of this record must first be address. Before promotion for The Fame Monster was over, little bits of information about this new album began to surface. It was hyped as being the album of the decade-of the century, even, and we should all be paying attention. But much like anybody under that amount of pressure, they aren't able to deliver. This was true of Cyndi Lauper, and it was true of Alanis Morissette. And thus, it happened to Lady GaGa as well. Unlike on her first album, GaGa truly took a whiff of herself and began to believe that she was the second-coming of Madonna. And as a result, the first single released from Born This Way, the anthem-esque title-track, was a direct rip-off of one of Madonna's better known singles. Except this time, people noticed the correlation between her and Madonna, and it wasn't positive. Was the song a hit? Yes. Was it a monster? (No pun intended-I wonder why she wasn't selected to be on Kanye's Monster). No. In fact, I would barely call it a success. It set the tone for the rest of the album, though: bad lyrics repeated more than anything on a Police song (and Sting loves to repeat himself). Its follow-up was Judas, another uninspired song that tries too hard to take it to the next level. Really, in a world where Madonna has done it all before, it was just a new middle. Not to mention the fact that her take on Mary Magdalene's story is wickedly inaccurate-for the record, MARY MAGDALENE WAS NOT A WHORE; SHE WAS AN APOSTLE.
But the singles didn't get real insight into the rest of the record, which is very, very long. But long doesn't equal quality. Rather than focusing on anything I would call an earworm, GaGa released a bunch of mediocre, haphazard tracks without any meat to them. Heavy Metal Lover has an industrial production that sounds more like tin than steel, and ballad You and I has a decent ending but a bland opening and middle. Most, if not all, of the songs on this record never go anywhere. They want to be showstoppers, but none of them are the least-bit impressive. The song Scheiße, which is German for what you do in the bathroom, offends my ears and my brain with its gibberish introduction and mind-numbingly bad chorus, and outside of Bloody Mary, which has a brooding melody to it, there's nothing I would want to hear more than once. Lady GaGa seems content to waltz down the road that Madonna, Grace Jones and Dale Bozzio had already carved out, all the while bringing nothing new to the table. She is not edgy, and she is not that interesting. But one thing that really annoys me is the way she seems to think she's the Queen of Homosexuals-she knows almost nothing about gay culture and the struggle we endure day-in-and-day-out. There is not a day that doesn't pass where we don't feel a little one morsel of shame or torture, particularly living in America. And songs that pander like Born This Way just make me feel like a spoon-fed baby without a choice. A friend of mine recently posted to his Facebook wall, that all gay people are monsters. When verbally slaughtered by his other friends, he responded with, "My name is Lady GaGa, and this is my message." And he was right. Her lowering of homosexuals to mere freaks and monsters and outsiders is not helping the cause, but only serving to destroy it. By the time the seventeen songs are finished, you will only feel underwhelmed, slightly bored and very, very sleepy. GaGa's voice croaks and roars like a kitten trying to be a lion, as her desperate grasp onto her fame begins to slowly and silently erode.