Thursday, 17 February 2011

The right track?


Right let’s have a discussion about Born This Way, the new song from the biggest popstar in the world right now whose name is Lady GaGa. You might have heard of her, she’s quite underground but once she has her breakthrough hit I predict big things in her future. I’m talking ITV2 big here.

Seriously though, Born This Way has not quite had the glittering reaction Lady GaGa was presumably hoping for, has it? Sure, the Little Monsters on Twitter are shitting their pants over it, “putting their paws up” and declaring it to be the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, begotten not made, who is seated at the right hand of the Father. But is it actually any good?

Well yes actually, it is, if you like the idea of someone going “I am the biggest gay icon in the world, but I have not quite achieved the biggest gay anthem of all time yet” and then setting out to make a song so gay-oriented that I imagine the first time Ross Kemp heard it he re-decorated his living room, prepared some madeleines before going out and bumming Louie Spence. Luckily, I do indeed like that idea, and I am very pleased with it. It is not quite Dance In The Dark but it is certainly better than I Like It Rough.

The main criticism people seem to have with the song is that it sounds a lot like early 90s Madonna, particularly Express Yourself. Now, if you are one of the “Little Monsters” on Twitter saying “IT SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE OLDDONNA, MOTHER MONSTER [blech] IS COMPLETELY ORIGINAL” then you need to have a good look at yourself. If you can’t hear the similarities between Express Yourself and Born This Way then you’re a fucking idiot and you shouldn’t be allowed to listen to music.

Thing is, though, I bloody love Express Yourself, long-term readers of my blog will know that I listed it as my favourite Madonna song back when she turned 52 so you’d think a song that was basically Express Yourself 2.0 would piss me off. But it doesn’t. The way I see it, I enjoy listening to Express Yourself so why wouldn’t I enjoy a song that sounds a lot like it but also like a Lady GaGa song?

To me, saying it’s too much like Madonna is a bit like saying METAPHOR ABOUT TO BE NICKED OFF POPJUSTICE ALERT ALERT ALERT “Well this cake is a bit too tasty for my liking, it’s a lot like that tasty cake I had last week” or something or whatever.

The other criticism people seem to have is the lyrical content. I admit if you take the lyrics away from the song and read them to yourself they do lack a certain poetry. They are basically a list of clunky affirmations seemingly designed to make pimply girls feel good about themselves.

Saying that, it is not a poem. It is a song. So when you put the aforementioned not-really-the-best lyrics-in-the-world words to music, it becomes something else entirely. It doesn’t sound like a let’s-hold-hands-and-be-happy song, it sounds empowering and like you want to go out and be the biggest freak you can, because you were “born this way”. Or is that just me?

One other important point to keep in your head is that GaGa wrote this song in response to all those horrible suicides in America carried out by gay teenagers who were being bullied. If you, yourself, were bullied then try and cast your mind back. Was there a book or a song or a film you took solace in to make everything seem better? I will now share with you a song I listened to all the time back in those painful angst-filled days when I had no friends:

Looking back, this song is not exactly subtle in its message, is it? But at the time I didn’t listen to it and think: “now Amy Studt, I like the message you’re trying to put across but you could have done it in a more understated way, instead of explicitly telling me that it is ‘OK’ to be a ‘misfit’, couldn’t you?” What I thought was: “Wow, Amy Studt was a misfit and now she is dead good, that’s comforting”.

Young teenagers listening to the latest song from their misfit idol aren’t going to go “Goodness me, Lady GaGa has out-and-out told me that it doesn’t matter if I am gay or straight or bi or transgendered, I think I’d have preferred she shrouded this song in imagery and let me decipher the message for myself”. They’re going to go: “That woman is dead popular and she says it’s OK to be the way I am, I feel a bit better about myself now”.

I’m not saying someone is going to switch on the radio, ready to kick the chair out from underneath themselves, only to hear Born This Way and go “FORGET IT, I LOVE MY LIFE”, but if it’s going to make some people feel about themselves then it really isn’t that bad, is it?

My point is, critics, this song is not for you. And it isn’t for me. It’s for people who are unhappy with the way God made them for whatever reason, it’s for people who are despairing or hurting for things beyond their control. So cut the song some slack. Either you can be cynical and rip it to shreds, or you can accept that it's going to help people and move on from it.

Besides, I don't believe any of you would hear this come on in a club and go "Hmmm, I think I'll sit this one out, it sounds a bit too much like Express Yourself and as for those lyrics..."

I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to be brave.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not totally impressed and I was in a gay bar last night when it came on and the dance floor cleared.
    I love Amy Studt, I bought her album for 50p in a charity shop a few weeks ago,'Under the Thumb' is great. She wrote a song for Britney's new album but she doesn't know if it will be on there yet x