Lady Gaga - Born This Way
The problem with having a mind blowing last album is that it’s not easy to follow up, least of all if you’re one of the most photographed women in the world.
But Lady Gaga, in between a 201-date world tour, a collaboration with Polaroid, modelling for nine Madame Tussauds waxworks and actively campaigning for the overturning of the now-defunct US military’s ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy, has to find time to write her next record.
Somehow though, she managed it.
The lead single from her new album of the same name Born This Way is already the fastest-selling song on iTunes ever, despite the fact it’s been out for less than two weeks, and for good reason.
Although the lyrics, which are commendable in theory for their pro-equality stance, are dubious at points (‘Don’t be a drag/Just be a queen’ being one fine example), that’s not to say it’s a bad thing.
The message may have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but it’s not one that deserves subliminal references.
Its demands are obnoxious and anthemic, and Lady Gaga just about pulls it off.
Born This Way is a storming disco anthem that takes no prisoners.
Although it’s not as instant as Telephone or Bad Romance and its thumping bass-line is perhaps more comfortable to listen to in a club than it is on your iPod on your way to work, for a song that Lady Gaga says she only wrote in ten minutes, it’s pretty astounding.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lady Gaga review without the ubiquitous Madonna comparisons thrown in – there are certainly similarities with Express Yourself, but it doesn’t detract from the magnificence of the song whatsoever.
Pop music has always been a continuous cycle of sampling, so it would be unfair to mark this one down for it.
Besides which, just as Madonna was an inspiration and an icon for a cohort, Lady Gaga is the same for a generation who know little more of Madonna than that purple leotard and an affinity for adopting children.
Born This Way was released Friday February 11, 2011.
Lady Gaga - Born This Way: 4/5.