Lady Gaga’s newest single “Born This Way,” has garnered mixed reactions throughout not only the musical community but also the general public. This “pro LGBT” anthem, as many have dubbed it, is quite catchy and fun, with a positive message telling everyone to be themselves, as we are all “born this way.” Yet there are those who think Gaga has struck out on this single. The main concern is in the similarity of the track’s sound with Madonna’s 1989 single “Express Yourself.” Some believe it to be an homage-like gesture, but others feel it detracts from the power of the song. Lady Gaga has addressed this, saying on The Tonight Show that she “got an e-mail from [Madonna’s] people and her, sending [her] their love and complete support on behalf of the single.” CNN later reported, though, that Madonna’s representatives were “not aware that Madonna sent Gaga an e mail.” Whatever the case may be, similarity should not be a reason to bring out the pitchforks and crucify the single. In a world where we sample, auto-tune and remix the life out of everything we hear on the radio, name me one song that is truly stand alone and completely unique in its own way? That said, for a song that extols the virtue of individuality, the least one can do is chalk it all up to irony.
Another, more severe complaint the single has received from the Asian and Latin communities is the song’s use of the words “orient” and “chola,” respectively. Latino groups, such as MECha and Chicanos Unidos Arizona, have called the song offensive and derogatory. Paul Reyes of Newsblaze.com questioned the use of the term “chola,” asking: “Are Latinos supposed to be grateful that a white superstar, born of privilege, included a racist shout-out to our community? Not all Latino ladies are ‘cholas’ in the barrio, some of them are teachers, writers, engineers and nurses and doctors.” However it is quite evident within the context of the song that Lady Gaga is by no means using these terms in a racial context. It is not fair that Gaga be chastised for her use of the words, especially when she uses them in a positive light and in a song with an innately good message, just because she happens to be a “white superstar.”
“Born This Way” is a solid pop song, and that is what Lady Gaga is known for being: a pop star. She is only as great as her music shows her to be; no more, no less. I believe a majority of the backlash on this song is a result of people getting too hyped up for this new single, much of this due to not only the music industry but to Gaga herself. The caliber of this single did not meet many people’s expectations. But… it is only one single. With the release of the track’s music video and the full album coming out May 23, we still have much more time before we can lay final judgment on this fair Lady.