Lady Gaga Lady GagaBorn This Way
Dear Lady Gaga:
It doesn’t matter what you do. As the biggest mainstream pop star of the 21st century, many people would love to see you crash and burn. I don’t blame them, you yourself are the cause of those bad thoughts, a few months ago saying that you were working on the biggest album of the decade. Your mouth is too big, and you know it. The overexposure of some of your worst songs as advance tracks of the most talked about album of this year didn’t help. You made a cover version of “Express Yourself”, and a track like “Judas”, suffocated in an opaque euro-trance production that leaves “Bad Romance” skinless. I have to confess, I feared the worst. No matter how I look at it, I didn’t understand the strange stratagem you followed. And even less, that horrible artwork that caused so much sorrow among jobless graphic designers. What would your beloved Alexander McQueen think of all this? Thank heavens he can no longer torture his eyes with such ugliness.
Ever since you got together with Steven Klein for the video of “Alejandro”, my faith in you started to fade. You got ahead of yourself, using all your bullets too quickly. I didn’t care about what you were doing anymore, so not even the egg you appeared with at the Grammys seemed funny to me. Not to mention the live performances of your new songs, that showed a choreographic clumsiness that made me think that it was all a fantasy, months ago, and that you had been enthroned without good reason, before your time. But as the dreamer and defender of lost causes that I really am, I was waiting to hear “Born This Way” in all its glory in order to find out if I was witnessing your decline or your resurrection as a hyperbolically glam post-modern pop icon.
The truth is, despite the number of haters with whom you’ll never have a cordial relationship, “Born This Way” will allow you to keep going on and awaken the ire of your generational competitors when it comes to placing your behind on the fictitious throne of show business. Unlike others, your new personality uses references to the queerest Hi-NRG ( “Hair”), nineties dance of the kind that tries to win the Eurovision song contest ( “Marry The Night”) –as you showed on “The Fame Monster” (Interscope, 2009)–, and the clichés of testosterone rock ( “Electric Chapel”). Such a cocktail of influences could suffocate anyone. However, you kept your part of the deal to sign a collection of tracks, which, without being extraordinary or visionary, do their job of entertaining people for another season. It’s true that the production gets polluted by that easy 4x4 beat with epic tendencies and accelerated BPMs that soil the melodies –like on “Judas” and “Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)”– and make the analysis of each of the songs a lot harder. So take my advice: if you fired RedOne, and reminded Fernando Garibay that “Dance In The Dark” was the best piece of your previous episode, the problem would be solved.
In spite of that, the most interesting thing about your new face is the clear intention of distancing yourself from the sugary pop anthems for nice families. By toughening up your sound and approaching the image of some kind of sexually electro industrial diva, you have restored my faith in you. “Government Hooker” (the snippet of which you used when you were on Thierry Mugler’s show), “Scheiße” (even though you speak German with a Frenchified accent) and that pseudo-interlude called “Heavy Metal Lover” mark a risky move that is praiseworthy, even more so if one keeps in mind your detailed plan to rule the candid masses.
Although with that tacky, and a bit embarrassing, “Americano”, you wanted to make your own “Spanish Lesson” (or even worse, your own “Desnúdate”), and “Yöu And I” (or: how to emulate Def Leppard and Queen with the help of Brian May), you scored points during your live show for fucking the piano, I have to admit that I can’t stop listening to “Marry The Night” (which is just screaming to be your next single) and “The Edge Of Glory”, where you have taken Springsteen’s populist epic to your part of the field. The fact that Clarence Clemons parodies himself for the occasion shows that the sax player of the E Street Band is a crazy guy.
And now, what? If the script stays like this, you will keep making lots of money, the gays and unadjusted will keep dancing to your tunes like there’s no tomorrow, believing in you, and you will keep touring the world making sure nobody forgets about you. But don’t lean back too much, music-wise. You got away with it, but since you’re the one who’s supposed to set the pace in pop today, I expect more from you, knowing that behind all the monstrosities there’s something more than talent.
PS: I’m still waiting for the Gagaist “Like A Prayer” or “Ray Of Light” I know one day will come.
Sergio del Amo