By now you have no doubt heard each and every media outlet in this country, including even those hipsters (more like “break a hip-sters”) at The Washington Post, claiming that Lady Gaga’s new single “Born This Way” is a scandalous rip-off of the Madonna hit “Express Yourself.
Now, I count myself a big fan of both artists and after listening to the Lady Gaga song several times, I really hear no similarities. Although I did find Grammy award winning act Lady Antebellum’s one hit wonder/ chart topper “Need You Now” to be a blatant mix of The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and most anything you tend to hear as backing music in an elevator.
So why is there suddenly a big Lady Gaga backlash just as she is poised to unleash her second full length album bound to be jam packed with hit singles? Is it because she arrived at the 2011 Grammy awards in a giant egg being carried by her ever present “little monsters?” That doesn’t really count all that high on the Lady Gaga weird meter given the fact she once wore a dress made of raw meat.
If anything, perhaps the media should question Lady Gaga about the dearth of monstrously ugly people in her inner circle of “monsters.” Those people who were carrying her at the Grammy Awards looked like they stepped out of the fashion ads in a recent issue of Vanity Fair. Who knows? They probably did.
But don’t just imagine that this Lady Gaga backlash is relegated to internet gossip websites that exist solely to tear celebrities down once they reach a certain level of success. Yes, dear readers, the newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal back in 1974 (The Washington Post) had the audacity to publish an open letter to Lady Gaga admonishing her for her Madonna-aping behavior.
I will grant you that Lady Gaga is much like Madonna in that they both are masters of incorporating visual imagery, fashion, art and video into one cohesive visual package. The Britneys, Christinas, Chers and others have all had moments but never operate in that way so consistently.
Lady Gaga and Madonna are both very outspoken and opinionated women who are unafraid to say what they honestly think about issues of the day much as Lady Gaga championed the abolishment of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” for years (even before she was famous). As a result, many media “reports” portray them as being “difficult” or a “bitch.”
Admittedly, an artist like Ke$ha may also be difficult to work with but that is only because she can’t sing, write a coherent lyric and is probably drunk 95% of the time. Lady Gaga (admittedly like Madonna) puts a tremendous amount of effort and forethought into her next song and her next visual stunt. Her videos are the most visionary, unique and boundary pushing in the entire music industry right now. To put it to you straight, Lady Gaga is the only interesting thing going on in the music industry right now.
So whatever it is about the song “Born This Way” that makes people think it is a rip-off of one of the best Madonna songs of all time I have this to say to you-get over it. The song “Born This Way” is a true milestone in popular culture because it is the first time anyone wrote a theme for young gays and lesbians trying to come to terms with who they are and find their strength living in a world full of homophobia.
As a gay man, it made me wish that I had a song like that in High School. Then I might have just come out early and saved myself years and years of pain. The TV show “Glee” is even devoting a whole episode to honoring the song (called “Born This Way”) and it will deal with the coming out process of Dave Karofsky-the gay, closeted, homophobe who once kissed the character of Kurt played by Chris Colfer.
You could claim this focus on the “Madonna-link” is just some people’s way of not having to deal with the fact that someone finally had the guts to say gay people are born “that way” and that “God doesn’t make mistakes.” There should be a dialogue going on right about “Born This Way” but it should be the notion that all human beings are equals under a God that even Lady Gaga believes in. Now that’s revolutionary and something even Madonna herself would be very proud of.
Source: Washington Post