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The Problem With... Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"


For every good idea that Lady Gaga has, she also has a bad one. Bad enough, even, to make you reconsider how good the original idea was in the first place.

This even applies to her image. Hey, I'm all for creating fantastical characters -- they're inseparable with popular music culture, from Bob Dylan to Ziggy Stardust -- so Gaga's over-the-top persona is, mostly, a welcome thing. Even if all that she's actually offering is a transparent mash-up of Marilyn Manson, Madonna and Bjork.

Maybe it's original. Maybe it isn't.

But, as anyone who has heard Gaga's latest single, "Born This Way," knows, her disco remix of Madonna's "Express Yourself" is about as unoriginal as Gaga gets.

Sorry, folks, but I'm gonna have to get all Level 9 drag with a +2 heavy blade on this one.

Let's start with the good. For starters: How about that disco beat!

And, uh, that's about it.

Unfortunately, that might be be enough to satisfy Gaga's established demographic. But lyricism matters, too. Gaga once said she wrote the words for this song in 10 minutes and, let's face it, it's pretty obvious when you hear generic lines like "We are all born superstars" and "I'm on the right track, baby." Her choice of words in the breakdown is also pretty sloppy, doling out labels for people who may want to express themselves beyond said labels.

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But who uses the word "Orient" anymore? Takes me back to subjugation under the British.

The aim here, obviously, is to exalt Gaga's audience across the board. But the messages are mixed. Is Gaga telling her listeners that they should be happy with themselves as they are upon birth? Or is she telling them to change and express their "true" characters?

I'm not really sure. We all know that there's room in life to occupy different identities without hiding oneself or living in delusions. All we ask is that, whether the role is original or a tribute, you put some effort into the concept and execution. In other words: A tiara from Hot Topic does not a princess make.

Which is fitting -- because "Born this Way" needs more than a tiara. It needs a makeover.

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