OK, I realise now that I can’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. Or pretend it never happened. I’m going to have to say something ‘official.’ About that single released last week andpraised by the critics. Especially after I publicly defended Gaga last year. So I’ve re-posted and amplified here a long and bitter comment I made on Quiet Riot Girl’s smart blog post about… ‘Born This Way’.
This is an atrocious, disastrous mistake on Gaga’s part. It’s so bad it’s mind-reeling. It could very well mark the beginning of the end her career. After all that gigantic build-up and anticipation about her first new material in over a year she’s gone and laid a… giant egg. Never mind ‘the gayest song ever’ it’s just Too Gay To Play. I suspect it’s too gay even for the gays. Too patronising and crass and feeble. They’ll pretend to love it for a few weeks and then quietly forget all about it. It will be the shortest-lived ‘anthem’ ever.
It’s a catchy single, of course, and will make a lot of money, but everything about this song is backwards. The music, the lyrics, the mentality, the politics. For all the self-righteous posturing it’s completely free of any content. But brimming over with bullshit. Not only are we ‘born this way’, and ‘God makes no mistakes’, and being gay is apparently an ethnic trait, sexuality is also now some kind of smug fucking railway – ‘I’m on the right track baby’. Well, stop the choo-choo, I wanna get off.
It’s as if someone decided to remake The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a GLAAD public service announcement, with Harvey Fierstein or Dan Savage in the role of Frank-N-Furter. And cut all the songs.
In my humble opinion, Gaga should never write head-on about sexuality again. Ever. That’s her only hope of recovering the post-sexual charge that made her seem so interesting and relevant just a few months ago. She embodies post-sexuality, and the notion that you might want to choose who you love or shag — or who you are — better than anyone. But she clearly can’t articulate it self-consciously in a lyric. It might be impossible for anyone to do that – but almost anyone could make a better fist of it than Gaga in ‘Born That Way’.
Musically, the homages to Madge were much better done on The Fame Monster (though it was the Boney M salutes such as ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Poker Face’ that were her best tracks). In 2011, especially after being dubbed ‘the Diva of Déjà Vu’ by Camille Paglia (you were so right, Ms P!) she really, really needed to escape the gravitational attraction of Planet Madge.
But she wanted this song to be GAY!!! so she returned yet again to the nipple of the original gay Borg queen at her gayest. And as I say, she may have poisoned herself fatally with this tragic pastiche, that is a HiNRG cover of Express Yourself in a Vogue stylee, but with less 21st Century lyrics than either of those 20th Century songs.
Maybe I’m completely and utterly wrong. Maybe this is a genius masterstroke. Maybe Gaga’s deliberately parodying old-skool American gayness here with her rainbow vomit lyrics, God-bothering, gagging mixture of self-pity and pride, apologia and anger — and slavish Maddy/Diva idolatry — to show it up in its worst possible light. To inoculate The Gays against… themselves.
I mean, after the global-scale, towering cackness of ‘Born this Way’ can there ever be a ‘gay anthem’ again?