Lady Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which included the hits "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "Bad Romance" and sold over 15 million copies worldwide. The album earned her six Grammy nominations and two wins as well as a slew of other awards recognition, including a record setting thirteen MTV Video Music Award nominations. Gaga is the first artist in history to claim four #1 hits from a debut album ("Just Dance," "Poker Face," "LoveGame" and "Paparazzi").
She is also the only artist in the digital era to top the 5 million sales mark with her first two hits. Gaga broke the record when her single "Poker Face" reached 5 million in sales after her debut single "Just Dance" accomplished the same feat the year before. She has over 1.3 billion combined views of all her videos online. She is also a staple in the social networking world. She's one of the biggest living people on Facebook with over 33 million 'likes' and is #1 on Twitter with over 9.5 million followers.
Her third studio album, Born This Way, is scheduled for release on May 23, 2011. The first single from the album, title track "Born This Way", set a music industry record by becoming the fastest single in history to reach sales of 1,000,000 copies (five days after its February 11th release). Only the 19th single to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (issue date February 26,2011), the recording was Lady Gaga's third #1 on the chart. "Born This Way" was Gaga's 7th single to hit #1 at Top 40.
Gaga is well-recognized for her outré sense of style as a recording artist, in fashion, in performance and in her music videos. Her contributions to the music industry have garnered her numerous achievements including five Grammy Awards amongst twelve nominations, two Guinness World Records and the estimated sale of 15 million albums and 51 million singles worldwide. Billboard named her both the "2010 Artist of the Year" and the top selling artist of 2010 ranking her as the 73rd Artist of the 2000s decade. Gaga has been included in Time's annual "The 2010 Time 100" list of the most influential people in the world as well as Forbes' list of the "The World's Most Powerful Celebrities" in the world. Forbes also placed her at number seven on their annual list of the world's "100 Most Powerful Women."
If you come into Born This Way and expect to hear the exact same type of dance-pop that laced The Fame and, to a lesser extent, The Fame Monster, you will likely be a bit disappointed with this album. It isn't bubblegum.Have you ever looked up videos of a young Gaga on YouTube? Have you watched stripped down performances of her dance-pop singles? If you have then you should realize that at her heart Lady Gaga is a rocker chick who has an instinctive ability to break these songs down to a pop enough core that they connect with a broader audience. However, in Born This Way, Gaga didn't feel the need to break the songs down as far as she did previously.I think this is smart as it keeps her about 30 paces ahead of the Gaga mimickers who have sprung up during the past two years and the established stars who have transitioned to trying to claim a piece of her thunder (Katy Perry, I love your music too, but your public persona has become more and more Gaga in the past 18 months.)Gaga really shows off her voice in Born This Way - in a much more clear and resonant manner than she was able to with The Fame. "Marry the Night," "Electric Chapel," "Edge of Glory" and "You and I" are show pieces from this perspective. Electric Chapel and Marry the Night are superb fun to listen to.In reference to comments in a prior review about "Judas" and "Bloody Mary." The in-your-face parallels in songs like Judas and Bloody Mary are poetic in their power while not getting too broken down in the details of a bad relationship. Judas without the name of Judas as the song would become another cliche about loving someone who always betrays that love. By using the name Judas, it is given from the start that this is betrayal at its most extreme and the song can operate more freely within its dance beat without having to explain this fact throughout 2 verses and an extended bridge cycle. I, personally, don't really understand people who freak out about her writing a song with the name Judas as the title. It was probably chosen simply because Benedict Arnold didn't fit the rhythm as well.Sorry for the ranting, but really, read some poetry and come back to the imagery in Lady Gaga's songs and let us know if it's still complicated. I'm thinking it will not be.I think if you are looking for a different but well-crafted Gaga sound, you will find it in Born This Way. The sounds are powerful, the lyrics cleverly crafted and the voice stunning. (Stunning because Gaga lets her songs lead her voice instead of constantly having to show off how well she sings.) If you want pure pop, you will not find it here.ETA: The bonus tracks definitely add a spark to the CD. I like the dance-esque remixes for work-outs. If you can grab Born This Way for a cheap price the first week of release, do that and then download the special edition tracks separately. After the sale prices end, just splurge on the Special Edition.
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