Lady Gaga “Born This Way” Review

The early-Aughties show “Queer as Folk” nudged gay culture one ruby-red slipper closer to the mainstream. As Will and Grace exchanged their thousandth hackneyed pun, characters on the Showtime series dealt with laugh track-unfriendly issues ranging from coming out to adoption to HIV/AIDS.

They also, as it happens, spent a lot of time dancing in the club to here-and-queer anthems that sound an awful lot like Lady Gaga’s latest. “Born This Way” is a shock of throwbacks and cultural appropriations, co-opting both Madonna’s “Express Yourself” chin-up lyricism and the campy house style long associated with gay culture.

“Don’t be a drag, just be a queen,” Mother Monster speak-sings. Rhyming “Orient” with “Chola descent” might rub the touchier folks in the crowd the wrong way, but everybody else should just be happy to party like it’s 1989 (the year “Express Yourself” first hit the radio).

The single is, in some ways, the next logical move in Gaga’s quest for global domination. There’s no louder advocate of letting one’s freak flag hang high than Lady Gaga; in that way, this ode to outsiders might have been inevitable. And in its unabashed hijacking of Gaga’s influences, “Born This Way” is a trite, uninventive letdown. We’re dancing along anyway. (6/10)


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