Two months after the victorious repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” the gay community (along with anyone who has ever felt unloved or out of place) have found their latest anthem. Lady Gaga released her single “Born This Way” off of her album of the same title (due out at the end of May) on February 11, 2011 and it has wasted no time becoming the latest record to top the charts.
Even though previous hits such as “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” shot up the charts to number one on the Billboard hot 100 this is Gaga’s first single to debut in the top spot. You’d think that would be enough of an accomplishment for one artist but when you’re the reigning mistress of shock-and-awe you tend to go above expectations. Born This Way also marks Billboard’s 1000th number one hit and with 4,548,000 digital downloads in the first three days (announced the MTV Newsroom) Gaga has officially made history as the highest selling debut album for a female artist surpassing the Queen of Pop herself, Brittney Spears.
While “Born This Way” is the brainchild of, possibly, the most unique pop artist of the decade it will not be winning any awards for originality. Every Madonna fan that listens to the track will have a sense of déjà vu with the realization that “Born This Way” is essentially “Express Yourself” with a new coat of paint. And even though this is not the pop star’s first imitation of the 80s icon, “Born This Way” is a song that feels like it has been done countless times before.
Lyrically, it is an entertaining, uniting, and animated piece of music and despite its moments of cheekiness (“Don’t be a drag, just be a queen!”) it is without a doubt a feel-good song reminding the listener “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive.” On the surface “Born This Way” is just pure fun but the more you listen the more forced it begins to feel. It’s as if Gaga put all her effort into being the ‘Patron Saint of acceptance’ and forgot to write an original piece of ‘monster-worthy’ music. There is just something genuine missing about this song which leaves the listener feeling unsatisfied.
When you’re Lady Gaga the world holds its breath to see what you’ll do next; what crazy hat you’ll wear, what guilty pleasure dance mix you’ll release, what egg you’ll hatch out of. It’s a lot of expectation for a 24 year-old Italian girl from New York to live up to but the Lady rarely let’s her fans down and even though “Born This Way” has it’s moments of artificiality it is still a delightful ray of happiness in a world that so desperately needs to remember “Love yourself and you’re set… I was born this way.”