Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2011

BORN THIS WAY by LADY GAGA

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Lady G’s supposed gay anthem is more about herself than the group she purports to represent.

Song: BORN THIS WAY
Artist: LADY GAGA
Album: BORN THIS WAY - proj. May 2011
Songwriter: Steffani Germanatta, Jeppe Lourssen
Producer: Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow
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Concept
Gaga celebrates being herself, which is fine. But when she advocates being a queen, not a drag, does she really think that this is equivalent to gay liberation? It’s more of an anthem to being a star (as in a star is born). Streisand already did the movie and Madonna already did the music.

Lyric
In contrast to many of her well-written songs, this lyric was penned by others and not quite as sharp. SIGNATURE It doesn’t matter if love him or capital H-I-M Just put your paws up ‘cause you were born this way VERSE My mama told me when I was young We all are born superstars She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on In the glass of her boudoir There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin who you are She said, cause he made you perfect, babe So hold up your head girl and you’ll go far Listen to me when I say CHORUS I’m beautiful in my way’ Cause god makes no mistakes I’m on the right track baby I was born this way POST –HOOK Don’t be drag, just be a queen Don’t be drag, just be a queen Don’t be drag, just be a queen

Groove
Uptempo 16th note groove over a relentless quarter note feel with a heavy danceable backbeat. The classic disco sock cymbal 8th ride harkens all the way back to Donna Summer.

Melody
The melody alternates back and forth with its repetitive hooks in true disco fashion. It’s too bad we’ve already heard it before.

Harmony
The three chords in a loop progression are lifted from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. The same loop is in all sections of the song. I bVII IV I

Structure
Signature A A B B’ A A B B’ C B’’ Signature Verse Verse Chorus Post-hook Verse Verse Chorus Breakdown Post-hook Chorus Chorus Tag

Signature
A vocal verbal shout out lifted from Madonna as well.

Production
The production is classic disco meets electronica with a strong groove and high energy.

Performance
Ms. Gaga does sing this with fun, passion and energy, but the depth of feeling and originality of some of her earlier efforts is not as strong here.

Predicted Longevity
As a dance club hit, this certainly will motivate people to get onto the dance floor. However, its lack of depth doesn't live up to its high concept title and may keep this cut from being an enduring favorite. As far as the anthem aspect, today’s gays are proud of being more than queens. It is presumptuous of Gaga to assume that liberation means drag, makeup and being ready for one’s closeup, Mr. DeMille. I’ll take Garth Brooks’ song “We Shall Be Free“ about loving whomever one pleases as a more suitable anthem any day.

Album Cover: BORN THIS WAY - proj. May 2011

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