There’s already a growing split in opinion about Lady Gaga’s new, monstrously produced album Born This Way. But what kind of creature is this new Haus of Gaga creation? Is it as charts-ravenous as her previous Fame Monsters?
Right out of the gate, it’s obvious Gaga’s passion for racial and sexual equality issues dominates many of her new songs. It gives her mad karma cred, and certainly tracks like “Born This Way” have proven the pop power of a feel-good anthem, but some say Born This Way is a bit overpowered or cluttered with these anthems. I can agree with these people to some extent – the sermons are there. Others still (myself included) can see and credit Born This Way for bristling with tireless, ear-gasming production and pop ingenuity.
Ultimately, there’s where Gaga’s musical effort stands on the ever-shaky pop fence: genre genius or gut-rotting Clear-Channel radio candy?
This is where Born This Way thrives. It’s versatility as a genre-chameleon (via Lady Gaga and her production team’s ingenuity) make for tracks that are either instantly accesible to braces-and-bubblegum demographics or sinfully guilty in their more adult-themed intonations.
Other than “Hair” (I have an internal aversion to hair allegories as a bias for some weird reason) the album has a vast offering for just about any kind Euro and electronic pop enthusiast (mostly big big big electro-pop drops, super galloping bass and pad-smatterings of euphoria). What’s great about it though is that it still feels as American as Madonna’s cone bra and Studio 54.
Fun, genre-bending digs like “Americano” and “Government Hooker” take pot-shots at bigoted and ignorant social pillars that decry or ignore sexual liberation. Others, like the thoroughly snicker-y “SchiBe”, features Gaga making her own German to the tune of fashion runway-ready stab-synth sirens.
Gaga’s pop language of naughty hieroglyphs, identity politics, and super-sex salvation can sometimes be hard to understand. But her music is so richly produced, (Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow, RedOne, Jeppe Laursen & Gaga, of course) organized, and super-charged that it’ll no doubt cause a chain-reaction nuclear explosion of remixes and dance-floor cameos.
But let’s face it. Gaga’s guilty pleasures don’t stop at her radio-spammed, anthemic bits. She’s really at her most delicious when she pulls back her “Bloody Mary” saint’s veil and exposes the artist beneath. It’s when she exposes that smirking, playful come-hither look and feline allure.
Bringing Down the Haus
Gaga’s music is best when it is joyfully pawing about, sauntering in torn-stockings bass lines and leather-spike pop hooks. “Heavy Metal Lover” does just this, kicking a six inch stiletto through your stereo and straight into your ear-holes.
Ultimately, many may never understand the inner-workings of the Haus of Gaga or speak its language, but they can certainly find a reason to dance along with the fantastic pop demons it lets loose with its music.
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