Archive for May, 2011


James Christopher Sheppard reviews Born This Way by Lady Gaga

At last, after months of ultra-hype, Born This Way, the brand new Lady Gaga album, has arrived. Let’s see if it lives up to the expectations and hype.

‘Marry The Night’

Straight into a haunting melodic club track, Gaga sets the pace for the album in style. This is a great song to bridge the gap between The Fame Monster to Born This Way, showing evolution in sound, but playing to Gaga’s strengths. ‘Marry the Night’ eases you into the new album with a soft start, but that quickly turns into those hammering beats Gaga has been promising for months.

‘Born This Way’

The title track and first single, which went on to become Gaga’s biggest hit in the USA, was met with controversial comparisons to Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’. While it is less edgy to her previous headline grabbing singles, ‘Born This Way’ seems to have established itself as THE guilty pleasure. You shouldn’t love it, but eventually, with every listen, you crank it up and dance like the empowered little freak you really are.

‘Government Hooker’

Beginning like a track made for the cult film ‘Repo: The Genetic Opera’, the dirty bass and futuristic messy industrial distortion establishes Lady Gaga’s progression as an artist. This sounds like nothing she has ever done before, yet it somehow seems to be a natural fit. ‘Government Hooker’ quickly dispels the feeling of guilty pleasure from the album.


Second single, which at first received only a luke-warm reception and disappointing sales, now seems to be building momentum. It just proves that it doesn’t matter how big you are, you still need to promote to sell. Gaga performed ‘Judas’ on Graham Norton last week, which was her first UK performance of the song. It definitely gets better with each listen and logs itself into your brain, particularly the ‘Juda Judaas Juda Judaas’ part. Still, an odd choice for second single, but not bad as an album track.


Five tracks in and the tempo shows no sign of slowing down or altering. The hammering beat is still present, but this time has a Mexican flamenco touch to it. Possibly aspiring to be this album’s ‘Alejandro’… it’s not bad, but it’s the least most striking yet.


Released already as a promotional song on Itunes, ‘Hair’ has received generally positive reviews from fans all over the Internet. Lady Gaga has said in interviews that it is some people’s favourite track from the album, but I personally just don’t really connect with a song that’s chorus is passionately singing ‘I am my hair’. The song sounds great however, with punchy ultra-electro elements that thump along next to a piano and a saxophone.


Oh my goodness. German language, german accented speaking, bass heavy hammering industrial beats that smack against a 90s techno beat with synths that Felix’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ would be proud of. This is the most dance that Gaga has ever sounded. Kind of addictive and kind of bonkers. ‘I don’t speak German, but I can if you like’…

‘Bloody Mary’

The tempo slows down momentarily for ‘Bloody Mary’. Religion returns as the main theme, but is far softer than ‘Judas’. While this is mid-tempo, it is dark, synth-orientated and very dance-friendly.

‘Bad Kids’

Sounding the most like Gaga’s earlier tracks, ‘Dirty Ice Cream’ anybody? Perfectly listenable, fun and danceable, ‘Bad Kids’ is just not a stand out track from the rest of this collection. Still, considering the quality of this song and it not being a standout, that is something quite admirable.

‘Highway Unicorn (Highway to Love)’

Sounding inspired by Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘Highway Unicorn’ is industrial orientated and bass-heavy euphoria. There is so much going on here that it is easy to get a little overwhelmed and lost in it. This one will definitely take a few listens, but after those listens, it could well be a fan favourite.

Read the full review at Eyewear


Written by James Christopher Sheppard

A mere two weeks since the underwhelming ‘Judas’ hit radios and stores simultaneously, Lady GaGa returns this week with another brand new song from forthcoming album Born This Way, ‘The Edge of Glory’. The countdown to the new album’s release date on 23rd May is being cleverly marked by a couple of tracks hitting Itunes prior to the release date. Very nice marketing team GaGa. So how is ‘The Edge of Glory’?

Actually, it appears to be the masterpiece song that the superstar has needed to re-establish her place as monster hit maker. Let’s forget ‘Judas’ for a moment and just listen to ‘Glory’. It’s uncomplicated, uplifting, bass-heavy with just the right amount of quirkiness. By the time the brass kicks in, it sounds like Lady GaGa’s stab at doing something a bit Patrick Wolf, who’s last single ‘The City’ featured a similar uplifting and brass heavy sound.

Where the Madonna comparisons have been quite unflattering, sounding like the female empowered club Patrick Wolf is certainly no bad thing. Ironically, GaGa recently said in an interview that she had been listening ‘a lot to this great British artist, Patrick Wolf’. Maybe there should be a Wolf/GaGa collaboration in the future? Now that would be spectacular. Congratulations GaGa, it seems your damage control has worked. Let’s sweep ‘Judas’ under the carpet and pretend that’s just a promotional single, eh?

What do you think of ‘Edge of Glory’ and a possible Wolf/GaGa collab? Shall we start the petition right here?

The beginning of the end for GaGa?
By James Christopher Sheppard

For almost three years now, Lady GaGa has reigned supreme as the multi-million selling iconic pop star of the age. She has launched four of her first six singles to the top of the UK charts, sold over 12 million copies worldwide of her first album The Fame/The Fame Monster and is still on the epically successful and hugely long Monster Ball Tour. Love her or hate her, the success and buzz around everything GaGa does is something quite spectacular. Having produced credible, edgy dance tracks such as ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Paparazzi’ and establishing herself as a vocally gifted musician, as well as writer, the mind boggles when hearing the first two singles released from her new album, the hugely hyped, Born This Way.

In February you’d have been hard pushed not to have heard ‘Born This Way’- the first brand new single from GaGa since ‘Bad Romance’, which hit #1 in December 2009. The difference between these two tracks could not be bigger. ‘Bad Romance’ had edge and originality. It captured people when they heard it for the first time and appealed to a mass audience. ‘Born This Way’ is a very camp disco track, suitable for Eurovision in the 90s. It’s difficult not to start singing Madonna’s 1989 hit ‘Express Yourself’ when listening to ‘Born This Way’. Since shooting to fame, GaGa has recruited an army of very loyal followers, her monsters. These fans are passionately standing up for their icon on forums around the net claiming that everyone wants to see Lady GaGa fail, but that simply is not true. I personally was a fan of her work and found her to be an exceptional performer, until I heard ‘Born This Way’, when my respect began to wane. The video of the song is even worse than the song itself, featuring GaGa as ‘Mother Monster’. All that comes across from the video is a huge amount of deeply unpleasant yonic imagery, an uninventive dance routine and most of all – Lady GaGa’s new God complex. For a song as trashy and throw away as ‘Born This Way’, it is alarming to see the star taking herself so seriously and proclaiming herself to be this God-like figure.
Read the full article at Eyewear