Gigwise editor Jason Gregory gets a first listen...
Jason Gregory

11:12 18th May 2011

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If you didn't already know, Lady Gaga has a new album out next week. It's called 'Born This Way', and in the preceding months has seen the singer embark on one of the most ridiculous promotional campaigns in memory.

She's arrived on stage in an egg and a coffin, performed sitting on top of a giant stiletto and adorned herself with horns.

But what else did we expect from a singer who in just over two years has become the biggest pop star on the planet.

As 'Born This Way', which is Lady Gaga's first full length album since her debut 'The Fame', hits the internet, Gigwise editor Jason Gregory gives it a first listen. Here is his track-by-track guide to 'Born This Way'.

1 - 'Marry The Night'

We wouldn't expect Lady Gaga to start slowly, and so 'Marry The Night' finds the singer getting ready to “lace up my boots” and hit the town. Musically, this is an electro stomper straight from the 80s with a huge chorus complete with a clap-a-long midsection that's sure to be lapped up by the star's Little Monsters.

2 - 'Born This Way'

The album's foundation, 'Born This Way' is already a fan favourite, and a song that I praised during Gigwise's first listen back in February. It's a ridiculous, camp dance anthem that appeals right to the heart of Lady Gaga's devoted fanbase. (Just don't tell her it still sounds like Madonna's 'Express Yourself'.)

3 – 'Government Hooker'

As Lady Gaga purrs out her own name (something which is growing a little old) during the track's opening, a dirty techno beat takes over that contains production so clean you could see your face in it. (It's no surprise it was used during Mugler's show at Paris Fashion Week.) After reminding us of her name, Lady Gaga's lyrics attempt the political - “Put your hands on me, John F Kennedy” - but come out sounding rather silly instead of agenda setting.

4 – 'Judas'

Released as the album's second single, 'Judas' already feels like its been around forever – but not in necessarily a good way. While the electro house beat and twisted breakdowns are still captivating, lyrically it's a song that feel as dated as the anti-reglious criticism it has come in for.

5 – 'Americano'

It's time for Lady Gaga to go all Latino, fusing Spanish lyrics with a bold and precocious brass and string section, which seem to be going head-to-head with each other throughtout the track. It's a raw and aggressive sound clash that wouldn't go amiss in a Gogol Bordello setlist. One of 'Born This Way's' highlights.

6 – 'Hair'

Up there with one of the campest songs on the album', 'Hair' is another track that's written directly with Lady Gaga's fan base in mind. It's feels like an uplifting sigh of relief – a track about being free, independent and who you want to be. But ultimately you can't help but feel that if the line: “I've had enough, this is my prayer, that I'll die living just as free as my hair” hadn't been written by Lady Gaga, then you could easily mistake it for a Rebecca Black lyric.

7 – 'Scheiβe'

Sadly my grasp of the German language doesn't allow me to relay what Lady Gaga is saying throughout 'Scheiβe', but I can tell you that it's the best song on 'Born This Way'. It's a cheeky mix of techno and trance, and one of the few songs on 'Born This Way' where the lyrics seem to relate to the emotions of the music – something Lady Gaga mastered more consistently on 'The Fame' and 'The Fame Monster'.

8 – 'Bloody Mary'

Rightly so, Lady Gaga takes the tempo down on 'Bloody Mary'. As the title suggests, it's another track containing Biblical references that are bound to stir up more controversy with religious groups. Sadly that's about as noteworthy as it gets, as the rest of the track leaves little impression.

9 – 'Bad Kids'

“We don't care what people say, we know the truth,” Lady Gaga sings on the opening of 'Bad Kids', as the electro tempo is amped up again. It's another song about being care-free and not letting being “a twit” and “a nerd” get in your way, because baby you were born this way (sorry, had to do that.) After the disappointment of the previous track, Lady Gaga rediscovers her ability to create a strong chorus, which is bound to get fans singing in unison.

10 - 'Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)'

True to its title, 'Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)' is the musical equivalent of driving along an open road surrounded by mountains where unicorns roam freely to the sound of 'Born This Way'. If that sounds ridiculous, it's meant to be – and so is this song. While the track sees Lady Gaga introduce big, Springsteen-esque rock breakdowns into her music, that about all that's exciting on a track that collapses under the weight of its ambition.

11 - 'Heavy Metal Lover'

We've jumped back into electro house territory for 'Heavy Metal Lover', which is Lady Gaga's ode to a potential suitor. “I could be your girl, but would you love me if I ruled the world,” she sings in the tracks chorus, seemingly paying tribute to her own emphatic success. It's another rather forgettable number, but the quality of the production, which is the one consistent through the album, is worth a mention.

12 - 'Electric Chapel'

Opening with a stabbing electric guitar, 'Electric Chapel' is pulsating 80s classic rock, albeit with a dance beat, which is something genuinely different from a singer who has come to rely on synths a little too much. Will be a live highlight.

13 - 'You And I'

Lady Gaga's been performing this track live for months and, having been fortunate enough to see her singing it at her grand piano in person, it's a delight to find it included on 'Born This Way'. It's anthem in the making, and is perhaps the best evidence yet of just how powerful Lady Gaga can be when she strips away all the shiny, big production. Complete with a hair-raising guitar part from Queen's Brian May, which only adds strength to an already near-perfect song.

14 - 'The Edge Of Glory'

After the quality of its album predecessor, 'The Edge Of Glory' has a lot to live up to, and, quite frankly, it just doesn't. As far as closing tracks go, rather than leave your feel like Lady Gaga's at the forefront of modern day pop music, 'The Edge Of Glory's' throwaway chorus sounds like something Miley Cyrus could conjure up in five minutes.

With it's dramatic title and Lady Gaga's recent promotion, you imagine the singer sees 'Born This Way' as a concept album – a gift to her fans about the power of feeling free and being yourself. And while on certain songs that's true, and the Little Monsters will have reason to rejoice at the Church of Gaga, too often it's an album that doesn't feel like it has the clarity of vision to make the concept a reality; one minute it's a dance record, the next it's stadium rock.

If this is Lady Gaga standing on the edge of glory, then she better step back and think if it's really the legacy she wants 'Born This Way' to leave behind.

What do you think of this track-by-track guide. What are your thoughts on 'Born This Way'? Leave your thoughts in the comment form below.

Lady Gaga - Through The Years

  • Way before Lady Gaga, Stefani Germanotta as a young girl taking first communion in second grade at age of seven

  • Seven-year-old Stefani Germanotta sitting at her piano in 1993.

  • Lady Gaga wearing sunglasses in Halloween 2000, age 14. At the time she was a student of the exclusive Convent of the Sacred Heart Catholic school in New York.

  • Miss Stefani Germanotta singing in Christmas concert (middle), age 14

  • Lady Gaga playing piano and singing at International Night event, age 15 – circa 2001

  • Lady Gaga at a winter dance in 2003, age 17.

  • Lady Gaga in a picture with senior class from 2004 yearbook (bottom row, far left)

  • A personal profile picture of an 18-year-old Lady Gaga when she attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2004

  • An 18-year-old Stefani Germanotta appears on MTV's 'Boiling Points' - a reality show which puts unsuspecting subjects in irritating situations and awards them $100 if they stay cool and collected for the duration of the prank. Gaga didn't stay the distance! - 2005

  • An early Gaga live performance at The Bitter End in Hollywood, California – January 2006

  • A brown haired, 21-year-old Lady Gaga plays Lollapalozza Festival in Chicago. The set is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in her career – August 2007

  • Lady Gaga transgresses into the style icon we all know and love at the Michalsky Fashion Show at Uferhalle, Germany – July 2008

  • Lady Gaga performs at Perez Hilton's 'One Night In New York City' event at The Highline Ballroom – October 2008

  • Lady Gaga's very first headline show in London at the G-A-Y nightclub – January 2009

  • Lady Gaga supports The Pussycat Dolls at the Manchester Evening News Arena – January 2009

  • Wearing a teapot inspired outfit, Gaga performs at the 2009 Brit Awards ceremony in London with The Pet Shop Boys and Brandon Flowers – February 2009

  • The second show of Lady Gaga's first gargantuan tour – The Fame Ball Tour - at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California. The tour, which included an appearance at Glastonbury Festival lasted until the autumn – March 2009

  • Gaga's first, slightly awkward appearance on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross – April 2009

  • Lady Gaga does her first 'nude' magazine shoot for The Rolling Stone – May 2009

  • Lady Gaga rocks Glastonbury Festival – June 2009

  • Gaga baffles at a press conference for Isle of MTV in Malta wearing what appears to be a gimp mask – July 2009

  • Channelling the spirit of the Twilight saga, Gaga flashes her fangs at photographers at London's Heathrow Airport – August 2009

  • Lady Gaga performs at the MTV Video Music Awards,a performance which angered some charities after she pretended to stab herself on stage, unleashing fake blood – September 2009

  • Lady Gaga speaks on the south lawn of The United States Capitol at the rally for the National Equality March – October 2009.

  • Lady Gaga and Madonna's infamous kiss on Saturday Night Live – October 2009

  • Looking slightly freaky at the 13th annual ACE Awards Gala held at Cipriani, New York City – November 2009

  • An iconic still from the 'Bad Romance' music video – a promo which has attracted more than 200million views on YouTube alone – November 2009

  • The opening night of the North American leg of The Monster Ball tour hits Tornoto's Bell Centre – November 2009

  • Lady Gaga meets The Queen following the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, England – December 2009

  • Lady Gaga at the Castle Pub, Horn Lane, Acton, London, England after her appearance on the X Factor – December 2009

  • Lady Gaga rings in the New Year at Fontainbleau in Miami Beach, Florida with a typically outrageous show – December 2009/January 2010

  • The headline stealing Lady Gaga 'hair hat' unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Center – January 2010

  • Lady Gaga dazzles in a space-age outfit on the red carpet of The 52nd Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The singer scooped two awards: best dance recording for Poker Face and best electronic/dance album for The Fame – January 2010

  • Lady Gaga ups the weird outfit ante at her second Brit Awards ceremony. The tearful star won in all three categories she was nominated in – February 2010

  • The opening night of the European leg of The Monster Ball tour kicks off at the Manchester Evening News Arena and Gaga. Featuring giant monsters and awe-inspiring sets, the tour is an emphatic success – February 2010

  • Now an outright pop megastar, Lady Gaga gets a tattoo dedicated to her millions of 'Little Monsters', her fans – February 2010

  • Gaga channels the spirit of The Incredibles following one of her triumphant shows at London O2 Arena – February 2010

  • Lady Gaga stars in the epic, nine-minute Jonas Akerlund directed 'Telephone' video. Easily one of the defining moments of her brief career – March 2010

  • The singer has continued to shock, wearing a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010.

  • Lady Gaga's Monster Ball was one of the biggest tours of 2010 and saw the star perform over 100 dates around the world. It still hasn't finished.

  • On New Years Eve, Lady Gaga revealed that her new album Born This Way will be released in May 2011.

  • The single, which features this incredible photo, was released on February 11.

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