Whether it’s dyeing her hair black and white, getting carried in via egg to the Grammy Awards or debuting a radio-friendly song about one of the most notorious backstabbers in the religious world, Lady Gaga sure knows how to get people’s attention. And she does not fail to continue this legacy with her sophomore album, Born This Way.

Lady Gaga

Born This Way
Interscope Records

The reigning princess of pop and fan-proclaimed “mother monster” hits quite a few high notes — both literally and figuratively — on what could be one of the most influential pop albums of this generation. Though that may be saying a lot now, Gaga preaches songs of self-love mixed with sex appeal in a way that hasn’t been done since our Madgesty, Madonna. Comparisons aside, Gaga is ready to continue gracefully weaving her way through the pop world with outrageous outfits and outrageously catchy hooks (Judah-jud-ah-ah anyone?) found on Born This Way.

The album is chock full of pop prodigies such as the lead single “Born This Way” (possibly lovingly ripped off from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”), the smooth-as-butter “You and I” and the arena-ready anthem, “Edge Of Glory.” Born This Way is jam packed with ’80s hairband influence, über European techno beats and a couple of saxophone solos from the E Street Band’s Clarence Clemons (yes, really).

In normal Gaga fashion, the Lady throws some serious curveballs on Born This Way. Unusual subject matter and multiple languages grace the album as she sings about seducing John F. Kennedy on “Government Hooker,” her support for gay rights on “Americano” and Mary Magdalene on “Bloody Mary.” Those are not exactly the key elements one would normally find on a standard pop album. And unless you live under a rock, you know that Lady Gaga has never been one to follow standards — which is a prominent theme on her latest album.

On tracks like “Bad Kids” and “Hair,” Gaga wants her little monsters to know that they can be whoever they’d like to be and not to become one among the masses. On “Bad Kids” she sings, “Don’t be insecure / If your heart is pure / You’re still good to me if you’re a bad kid baby.”

Born This Way not only shines through Gaga’s ability to write creative and controversial material, but also her vocal talent and musical aptitude. The New York native knows her way around a solid song writing session. On the highlight of the album, “You and I,” Gaga slows it down to reminisce about her “cool Nebraska guy” and belt out “I love you.” Though this may seem like a normal pop theme, Gaga gives it a twist with imagery filled lyrics: “I couldn’t listen to a joke or rock ‘n’ roll / Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart.” In true Gaga form, she brings gritty, greasy toughness to a love song.

In contrast to the sappy but stellar love song, Gaga pulls out her normal dance ways on tracks like “Schieße” (which is 75 percent in German) and “Judas.” The beat drops are every techno-head’s dream and even to the non-ravers out there, the dance tracks on Born This Way aren’t too intimidating. Lady Gaga manages to introduce her “Just Dance” days to this more modern and sophisticated scene.

While her devoted little monsters may give this album two full paws up, Born This Way falters at its over indulgence. Though Gaga is known to be over the top, there’s only so much over one can go while still being taken seriously. Because Gaga is such a public spectacle, she puts too much energy in the performance factor of her songs and that tends to overshadow her talent. But quite frankly, it doesn’t matter if you love H-E-R or not — because realistically, she doesn’t care — she was born that way, baby.

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