Entertainment

Criticism | Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ becomes a masterpiece of self-acceptance

Originally published March 26, 2019.

In 2011, Lady Gaga had already established herself as an expansive icon of contemporary pop culture. In addition to the originality of her songs, the style of which was also revered in the musical and irreverent classicism of the 1980s and 1990s, her passion for saying exactly what she thinks put her in the center of all the limelight, even allowing to its figure of being the most representative of the LGBTQ + community, whose main obstacle to face is self-assertion and the achievement of a dignified and recognized space within society.

But it is clear that the fame and appreciation of his fans, also reciprocal, could not do without sneaky criticism, both in terms of the content of his compositions – examined by the proximity of sex, ambition and l individuality – only from his personal aesthetic. , known to be totally outside the standards he was used to. So it’s not for nothing that the singer, in her masterpiece, launched “ Born This Way ” as an ode to self-acceptance, embracing who you really are without worrying about harsh attacks. of those around you. And in a context that seems more backward than progressive, creating narratives, both literary and audiovisual, that serve as inspiration and support for those who feel helpless, is practically a blessing, a spark of hope in an abyss. obscure and threatening.

The eponymous debut single from her third studio album can be seen as an epic response hymn to the criticism that she not only receives constantly, but all those who are considered “abnormal” and “monsters” suffer for having enough courage. to break secular paradigms and, at first glance, unbreakable. The chorus, alluding to each person’s unique beauty, repeats the phrase “I am beautiful in my own way, because God does not make mistakes” countless times, leaning towards an extremely personal aspect of the singer – religious – to reaffirm that individuals are free to be who they want and to act as they want, since they have the freedom and free will to walk alone. In addition to the touching motivational talk it presents to the audience, the song already shows considerable distance from her previous albums, focusing more on electronic dance-pop than techno. The result was not only positive, but transgressive, being banned from countless Christian countries.

If this song was once a turning point, Gaga excels only with the other bases of her album. “Hair”, one of the promotional singles, is a story of self-love and very engaging confrontation, mainly due to its architecture based on soft notes of classical piano and saxophone which stays until the rhythm of the second verse, gradually returning to strong techno-pop and reaching its climax in an incredible chorus. The track is perhaps one of the best builds of his career, as it uses all the potential it has and explores the artist’s vocal skills. “The Edge of Glory” and “Yoü and I” are very necessary pieces which, at the same time, are complementary and in conflict with the above, not because of the narrative content, but because of their musical composition which is maintained in a more deliberately rich and repetitive rhythm. However, this possible monotony is soon swept under the rug by Gaga’s powerful weaving and the entry of unusual elements – again the saxophone.

As already mentioned, the Christian faith is extremely important to the singer. Not institutionally, but dogmatically: unlike the family creation she received, she does not strictly rely on the words of religious leaders to surrender to the belief of a unique and almighty God, but absorbs what she sees as essential for her own evolution and sets an individualistic, disturbing and completely rethought perspective with contemporary touches that range from the imaginary presence of leather clothing to the mixing of Gregorian chants with the synthetic keyboard. “Electric Chapel”, “Fashion of His Love”, “Bloody Mary” and “Black Jesus + Amen Fashion” are Christian odes, the quadruple alliance, but which do not necessarily fit into a conventional temple: the “electric chapel “refers to go to nightclubs and dance clubs, places where the praise of music and artistic expression is raised to an extreme and ecstatic level; as for the other two groups, Gaga refers both to the time she met a new man to love, Jesus Christ, and to the growing characterization of “fashion” that her figure has acquired. “Jesus is the new black,” she says over and over.

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In this aspect, “Judas”, which also became a promotional single for the album, comes across as one of the most scandalous songs, not only for its construction, but also for the message it conveys: through a Essentially descriptive plot, Gaga embodies the character of Mary Magdalene to say that she loved Jesus Christ as much as Judas Iscariot, the “traitor” of the Apostles who became a martyr since the Middle Ages. However, putting himself in the role of any human being, the artist creates a thesis that analyzes the acceptance of his bad side and his good side, two components of human wholeness – “Jesus is my virtue, and Judas is the demon to whom I lean on “.

As if that weren’t enough, the singer also embraces her compulsive and “lustful of the flesh” side, so to speak, when constructing “Scheiße” and “Government Hooker” style songs. “Scheiße”, starting with an entire prologue sung in German, dialogues with the avant-garde aesthetic of well-known names – including the group Rammstein – and takes the opportunity to put his unique touch on the synthpop, which will become another brand of trade of his albums. The story centers on a sexual encounter between two people, in which Gaga is the protagonist and, although she is shown to be submissive and likely to do whatever the other wants, even talking to certain elements of BDSM (Bondage , Domination, Submission and Sadomasochism), she controls everything and does not allow anyone to judge her for her sexuality.

“Government Hooker,” in this regard, has a much more specific affront that takes the final reactions to an indescribable level. In music, the lyrical ego is free to be bad, to be good, to be sexy, and to surrender completely to whoever possesses it. And even in this dangerous game of seduction, which ends in complete surrender to the body and the extreme of ecstasy, she still has enough control and self-esteem to be able to embody any fantasy of her. partner. Clearly and almost viscerally, “as long as I’m your prostitute” is the phrase that sums up her cravings, unlike the onslaught of “Americano,” an essentially epic tale that evokes the great escapes of literary romanticism in an incredible way electronic tango sketched and which even broadens the horizons of the public.

In addition to the clear departure from the previous albums, Gaga has almost total freedom in “ Born This Way ”, mainly being able to unite references in the same disc to the opera, to the disc and, above all, to the imaginative and musical corrosion. Rock. What makes it majestic and memorable is that the singer has a warm and human sound; each of her tracks is adorned with emotional and personal details, rising like strong statements whose heavy translations resonate like echoes from her twisted and anguished heart.

Rating per track:

Marry the Night – 4/5 Born This Way – 5/5 Government Hooker – 4,5 / 5 Judas – 5/5 American – 4,5 / 5 Hair – 5/5 Scheiße – 5/5 Bloody Mary – 4,5 / 5 Bad Kids – 5/5 Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) – 4,5 / 5 Heavy Metal Lover – 4/5 Electric Chapel – 5/5 Yoü and I – 4/5 The Edge of Glory – 4,5 / 5 Fashion of His Love (deluxe release) -5/5 Black Jesus + Amen Fashion (deluxe release) – 5/5 The Queen (deluxe release) – 4.5 / 5

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