Gigwise editor Jason Gregory gets a first listen...
jason gregory
10:12 18th May 2011

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.

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