Today, Lady Gaga dropped her brand-new single on an unsuspecting populace. The song– titled Born This Way— doesn’t yet have one of Lady Gaga’s overtly-Marilyn Manson-esque videos attached to it, but it is available as a YouTube video with a few static images of the new queen of pop music, and we decided to give it a listen here at Comedy Examiner HQ. What’d we think? Read on for the song (and out thoughts on said song) below, my gentle Examiner readers…
When I was a kid, I listened to Madonna’s “Immaculate Collection” on cassette. There, that’s the most embarrassing thing that I can confess to you, the gentle Examiner readers of the world (though far from the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever been party to, it’s certainly one of the few things that I’m not ready to own up to at the drop of a hat: your friendly, neighborhood Comedy Examiner’s an open book). I would listen to this tape while rollerblading, which is the second-most embarrassing thing that I can confess.
In the years since, my musical tastes have changed wildly. These days, if you were to open up the console in my car, you’d find the following CD’s– all of which are out of their cases and each bearing enough scratches and scars to qualify as having PTS syndrome: the entire Nine Inch Nails discography, a stack of burned Ricky Gervais podcasts, a few Kanye West CD’s, and a Michael Jackson “Greatest Hits” album. I submit to you that none of these selections are as embarrassing as Madge’s “Immaculate Collection”.
(Also) In the years since having Madonna’s “Immaculate Collection” on heavy rotation in my walkman, I have often wondered what happened to Madonna. She used to be the female, pop-equivalent of Michael Jackson, reinventing herself with each new album and always seeming to stay one step ahead of the game. She was a force to be reckoned with throughout the late 80’s and mid-90’s, but around the time she released “Beautiful Stranger”, her following (read: gay men, divas, and housewives desperate to hold onto their teen years) had all but slipped away. Which, of course, made me wonder what happened to “the next Madonna”.
We were told that some new talent would eventually rise up and assume the Madonna Throne, but the offerings were all pretty lame: Britney Spears (who is now known more for her misadventures with an umbrella– and her astoundingly poor skills in the field of mothering two children–than her music), Christina Aguilera (who always seems on the verge of blowing out her own voicebox), and Jessica Simpson (who really thought that chickens might live in the ocean) all flunked the test. Enter: Lady Gaga.
If there’s an heir to the Madonna throne, it is– without question– Lady Gaga. She’s got the support of the gay community, she’s got the same desperate-to-hold-onto-their-teens-and-twenties thirtysomething audience, she’s got the production values, and she’s got that whole “reinvention” thing working for her. Like Madonna, she’s also got the salacious religious imagery in her videos, not to mention the salacious rumors that always seem to be nipping at her heels (for Madonna, it was who she was sleeping with; For Lady Gaga, it’s not who she’s sleeping with, but that she’s not sleeping with anyone…and that she may have male-junk). There should exist no doubt at this point that Lady Gaga is the new Madonna.
So, Lady Gaga has dropped her new song on us all, and I decided to give “Born This Way” a listen. I’ve heard most of Lady Gaga’s former output (there’s simply no denying that “Bad Romance” is a great pop song, not to mention “Pokerface”), but would I enjoy the latest Gaga tune?
I’ve gotta say that my opinion of the song itself comes in second to the immediate imagery that “Born This Way” raises. For one thing, it might not be helping all those hermaphrodite rumors to release a song called “Born This Way”. For the past few years, the persistent rumor surrounding Lady Gaga is that she is, in fact, Sir Gaga. Gaga has flashed her crotch enough times to indicate that these rumors are baseless, but still they persist. Perhaps naming her new song “Born This Way” wasn’t a misstep, though: perhaps she’s just poking fun at all that scuttlebutt. OK, I’ll go with that.
But then we have to consider the second connotation that “Born This Way” brings to mind, and with that connotation comes a sad realization: Lady Gaga’s pandering a bit here. Homophobes have long since claimed that homosexuality– being gay, for the sake of brevity from here on out– is a choice rather than something genetic: they have “camps” where gays can reboot their sexuality, and classes (generally held in the basement of churches) to stomp out one’s desire to partner with members of the same gender. It’s all nonsense, of course, because– as anyone who’s ever given this any serious thought knows, not to mention any number of gay people who know this for a fact– gay people aren’t manufactured: they’re born that way.
Oh, hey, what a coincidence! That’s the title of Lady Gaga’s new song!
On the one hand, I applaud Lady Gaga’s relationship with the GLBT community (that’s the acronym, right?), and we sternly oppose any sort of prejudice (unless it’s against Jay Leno) here at Comedy Examiner HQ. On the other hand, seeing someone pander this desperately– and this early in one’s career– is a little lame. I’m sure that Gaga’s audience will feel differently (you just know that “Born This Way” is already being blared in every gay bar from here to Oklahoma, where gay bars are strictly forbidden), but as a pseudo-outsider to all this, I can’t help but remark on the glaring obviousness of this title.
But, anyway, how’s the song? Well, you’ll have to hear it for yourself, but it’s catchy, and it’s got all the hallmarks of a Lady Gaga tune: it’s got the weird religious imagery (that’d be the references to “H-I-M”, which–according to Gaga Law– must serve a dual-purpose as reference to both God and boyfriend), it’s got the banging club-music, it’s got the fact that it sounds almost exactly like a Madonna song (“Express Yourself”). Yep, all the usual suspects are accounted for here.
It’s also sure to be overshadowed by whatever Gaga chooses to wear in public next, but that’s already been established as the standard M.O. for Gaga’s career: offer up some above-average pop music, and then promptly beat it to death with endless touring, overblown videos, and the kind of clothing that would make Bjork stop dead in her tracks. Ten bucks says Lady Gaga– following this release– appears in public in a ridiculous outfit at some point in the next two weeks.
All that said, I can’t wait to see what sort of insanity the video’s packed with. I’ve got my fingers crossed for breakdancing nuns setting fire to orphanages while a hailstorm destroys a Mormon church. How ’bout you?
My grade? C+.
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