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Born This Way is Lady Gaga's second studio album that was released on May 23, 2011 by Interscope Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Marry The Night 4:24
  2. Born This Way 4:20
  3. Government Hooker 4:14
  4. Judas 4:09
  5. Americano 4:06
  6. Hair 5:08
  7. Scheiße 3:45
  8. Bloody Mary 4:04
  9. Bad Kids 3:51
  10. Highway Unicorn (Road To Love) 4:15
  11. Heavy Metal Lover 4:12
  12. Electric Chapel 4:12
  13. Yoü And I 5:07
  14. The Edge Of Glory 5:20

Album BackgroundEdit

In March 2010, Lady Gaga disclosed that she was working on a new album, saying that she had written most of the songs for the proposed album.

Meanwhile, producer RedOne described it as Gaga's "freedom album" as her manager, Troy Carter, felt her public image would begin to change after the release of "Born This Way."

A few months after the announcement, Gaga exclaimed that she had finished writing songs for the album: "It came so quickly. I've been working on it for months, and I feel very strongly that it's finished right now. Some artists take years. I don't. I write music every day."

In another interview, Gaga declared the album "the anthem of [this] generation," as she continued, "It includes the greatest music I've ever written. I've already written the first single for the new album and I promise you, that this album is the greatest of my career."

Besides sessions on tour buses, the recording sessions and mixing for the album took place at Abbey Road Studios in London, England, Studios 301 in Sydney, Australia, Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, Australia, Gang Studios in Paris, France, Livingroom Studios in Oslo, Norway, Allerton Hill in the United Kingdom, Warehouse Productions Studio in Omaha, Nebraska, Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada, Officine Meccaniche in Milan, Italy, Miami Beach Recording Studio in Miami Beach, Florida, and Germano Studios in New York City.

Brian May, a guitarist of Queen, and Clarence Clemons, a former member of the E Street Band, worked with Gaga on the album.

CompositionEdit

The album opens with "Marry the Night", a song that was written as a homage to New York City.

It is a dance-pop record which contains church bells, a thumping four on the floor house beat, a funk rock-influenced breakdown and has been noted to contain elements of disco, techno, funk and Hi-NRG music.

The song's sound has been compared to that of 1980s pop and glam metal artists, including Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar and Bonnie Tyler.

The next track, "Born This Way" is about how everybody is equal, regardless of skin color, sexuality, or creed, and that every person can fulfill his or her dream. Compared to Madonna's "Express Yourself", the song features Euro disco beats.

The third track of the album, "Government Hooker", contains elements of opera music and a dance melody resembling genres such as techno, trance, industrial and post-disc as well as a hip hop-influenced beat. It has been compared to the work of German electronic band Kraftwerk.

The fourth song is "Judas", which Gaga confirmed to be influenced by the Biblical Judas Iscariot. The song's lyrics are about being betrayed as well as "honoring your darkness in order to bring yourself into the light," according to Gaga.

The song is a dance-pop and house track, with influences of techno, industrial and disco, a 1980s-inspired pop chorus as well as a breakdown containing elements of dubstep and techno music. In parts of the song, Gaga sing-raps with a Caribbean Patois accent.

The album's fifth track is "Americano", a mariachi song with techno, house and disco influences. Written in Spanish and English, Gaga composed "Americano" in response to the Arizona immigration law Arizona SB 1070.

Critics have noted vaudevillian elements within the song and it has been compared to the work of Judy Garland with Gaga claiming that she sees influence from French chanson singer Édith Piaf.

The sixth track, "Hair" is a song about expressing freedom through one's hair. It has a dance-pop melody, yet it has influences from rock/heavy metal music artists like Bruce Springsteen, Iron Maiden and Kiss. It has also been noted to incorporate disco and Europop music.

The seventh track, "Scheiße" contains German lyrics and has a message of feminism, accompanied by a heavy synths, techno beats, as well as Euro disco influences. The song's melody has drawn comparisons to Madonna and electroclash artist Miss Kittin.

After "Scheiße" is "Bloody Mary", which is a relatively slow-tempo song containing "plucked strings" and "filthy beats" as well as numerous religious references, and a trance-influenced melody.

"Bad Kids" contains 1980s synthpop influences and electric guitars. Its disco beat has been compared to the music of Donna Summer and influences of heavy metal music have been found within its composition.

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" is the album's tenth track. A dance-pop song, it has been noted to have Bruce Springsteen influences, as well as powerful drums and synths.

"Heavy Metal Lover", the eleventh track, is a song of electropop and techno tendencies, which has been noted to contain elements of house music, electro-industrial beats and has been compared to the power pop of the 1990s. Synthesizers are used as a focal point for the song.

Following "Heavy Metal Lover" is "Electric Chapel", a heavy metal-influenced pop song noted to contain elements of Europop that has been compared to the work of Madonna.

The album's thirteenth track, "You and I", is a rock and roll ballad which contains elements of country rock music. The song contains a moderato tempo and Queen guitarist Brian May is also featured on the track. It samples Queen's 1977 single "We Will Rock You."

The fourteenth track is "The Edge of Glory", which refers to the death of Gaga's grandfather. It is an upbeat song of dance-pop, electronic rock and synthpop tendencies; it also contains a saxophone solo by Clarence Clemons which has drawn comparisons to blues music.

One of the bonus tracks is "Black Jesus + Amen Fashion", a pop song which draws influences from 1980s and 1990s electronic and club music, including Broadway.

"Fashion of His Love", the second bonus track, is a 1980s-influenced dance-pop song that contains references to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Born This Way" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, having sold 1,108,000 copies during its first week, making it the 17th album to sell over a million copies in a week.

It was Lady Gaga's first number-one album and the highest first-week total since 50 Cent's album "The Massacre." She was also the fifth woman to sell one million copies in a week (after Whitney Houston with "The Bodyguard" soundtrack and Britney Spears with "Oops... I Did It Again!")

"Born This Way" was certified double platinum by the RIAA; as of March 2019, it has sold 2.43 million copies in the United States.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Born This Way" received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics.

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 71, based on 34 reviews.

Dan Martin of NME said that "it's a damn good thing" that Gaga "doesn't know when to hold back" and complimented her for pushing musical boundaries to its "ultimate degree."

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine opined: "There's nothing small about this album, and Gaga sings the shit out of every single track."

Cinquemani compared it to The Killers' album "Sam's Town," calling it "bloated, self-important, proudly American, an exercise in extraordinary excess."

Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield felt that "the more excessive Gaga gets, the more honest she sounds."

Caryn Ganz of Spin felt that "excess is Gaga's riskiest musical gamble, but it's also her greatest weapon, and Born This Way relentlessly bludgeons listeners' pleasure centres".

Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly said that the album is "rewarding but wildly uneven", although "the album's sprawl still shows off the breadth of her talent."

Despite criticizing her for "letting her skills as a songwriter slide ever so slightly," AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine complimented Gaga's composing "sensibility" and "considerable dexterity at delivering the basics."

In MSN Music, Robert Christgau found the album to not be on-par with "The Fame" or "The Fame Monster", but added that "both of those keep growing, and with its mad momentum and nutty thematics, this one could too."

In a mixed review, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune felt that the album was rushed and sounded like "a major artist sprinting to please everyone all the time."

Evan Sawdey of PopMatters called it "her weakest album to date" and wrote that it combines "some daring songwriting with some remarkably repetitive themes and beats."

Chris Richards of The Washington Post found it "boring" and said that, "at its worst, it sounds like reheated leftovers from some '80s movie soundtrack."

Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times opined that Gaga lacks musical adventurousness and that "She's unsubtle in her message, unsubtle in her dress, and, most important, unsubtle aesthetically ... If Gaga had only spent as much time on pushing musical boundaries as she has social ones, Born This Way would have been a lot more successful."

Andy Gill of The Independent critiqued that "the broader [Gaga] spreads her net musically, the less distinctive her art becomes."

The Boston Globe said that the songwriting "feels thin" and called the album "the most deflated moment in pop music this year".

Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice commented that Gaga's "we-shall-overcome sentiment" is expressed more effectively through the album's "egalitarian use of house beats" than through her "sloganeering", which he found "trite" and "[un]insightful."

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