No one can deny that Lady Gaga is a workaholic. In the span of three years, the inventive 25-year-old phenom has single-handedly hoisted herself from fledgling ingenue to the perch where she now sits as one of the planet’s instantly recognisable pop successes, boasting multi-platinum record sales, multiple Grammys, consistently sold-out global concerts, and rabid supporters (“the little monsters”) who have utterly redefined the term fanbase.
But, as eveyone knows, becoming a household name has not been without insistent controversy to the point where the name Lady Gaga cannot be uttered without conjuring some provocative thought or image, often with a religious inclination. (There is evidence to prove that Gaga thrives on that sort of shock-and-awe thing.)
As a world-famous provocateur, she’s done it all, from swallowing a crucifix (see the video for her “Alejandro” single) to befriending Judas Isacriot of all people – this latter act serving as the main talking point on “Judas,” the brow-raising second single off her newly arrived album, Born This Way, the follow-up to last year’s commercially well-received Fame Monster. “Jesus is my virtue, but Judas is the demon I cling to,” Gaga offers in the lyrics, which do absolutely nothing to refute the rumours that she is indeed a minion of the dark side. Even the album cover, depicting the singer as a human-motorycle hybrid, is an image that begs to be scrutinized. It’s all part of the Gaga Mystique.
As for the 14-track album, while it’s crammed full of the singer’s trademark uptempo contemporary dance-pop music, the songs are more catchy electro-confection than haunting, masterful gems. That’s not to say, however, that the album is devoid of any genuine standouts, as it includes the guitar-sweetened “Electric Chapel” (note again the religious imagery) and the super-gay-friendly title track laced with spunk for weeks. Equally impressive are the self-worth energizer “The Queen” and the fist-pumper “The Edge of Glory,” which immediately exudes an anthemic air.
Gaga, who co-wrote and co-produced the tracks, smartly recruited such hitmaking gurus as RedOne and Mexico’s Fernando Garibay, who have seemingly attained a mastery of the upbeat synth-pop that she gravitates toward so freely.
In the end, though Born This Way is not an album that will dramatically alter the arc of Gaga’s already triumphant career, the limitless force that drives a great many of the songs is bound to keep her “monsters” on their dancing feet.
BEST TRACKS: “Electric Chapel,” “The Edge of Glory,” and “Born This Way”