Lady GaGa‘s rise from the dance clubs to world domination didn’t take too long, less than 4 years actually. For her arty and controversial performances, and her headline grabbing outfits she’s definitely become a household name. And now with 5 Grammys for her first two albums and countless Top 10 Hit singles she’s a force in the industry as well. The only thing lacking in GaGa’s arsenal thus far has been, to put it simply, good songs. Her 8-track EP “The Fame Monster” showed promise, but her full length debut album was almost all pure Pop/Dance fluff with pretty tepid dance beats and insanely stupid lyrics. On her latest sales-smashing release “Born This Way“, GaGa manages to show sneak peeks of the artist she is while not totally shedding the commercial sound that made her who she is. Truth be told, the production on the album (taken on mostly by Fernando Garibay) is the best element by being four to the floor club fodder yet still managing to be a little more dark. The production highlight is “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)” a dance song on ADD that refuses to stay put with it’s constantly changing drum beats and off kilter tempo changes. This weird, almost Industrial meets House sound is present throughout most of the tracks so the albums sound is something a little familiar but also something not typical on Pop releases like this.
And here’s where GaGa shows her greatness, by not getting drowned out by all the goings on within each track. Whether she’s paying homage to herself with her stretched and exagerrated vocals on “Judas” (vocally a “Bad Romance” part two), playfully experimenting with German on “Scheiße”, or emulating 90’s Power balladeering over dance beats on the title track or “Edge of Glory”, she always makes herself the main event somehow. Her vocal abilities really shine through on this album, not only that she can belt like some of the greats but that on nearly every song she attacks the vocals in a completely different way. By the time you get to her almost country/western ode “Yoü and I” you can fully appreciate her diverse talents. Even lyrically she brings something different to the table this time, by making themes and concepts a little more abstract yet still making the songs fun and catchy. All in all the album is a win and a nice step into a more artistic direction for GaGa, seems her music is finally starting to match up with her unique and creative personality which is a great thing. She’s not fully escaping her Pop chains, but she’s definitley stepping out and delivering something on this album you wouldn’t hear from any of her competitors.