Best music of 2011: Lady Gaga
So I have to confess that I haven’t actually heard all of Lady Gaga’s album, Born This Way. I tried to absorb the unreleased tracks on one or two of the 45 flights I took in 2011 but was inevitably seduced by Glee (where there’s singing AND dancing).
Regardless, for my money, the title track from this album is the best single of 2011. It’s certainly not Gaga’s most original musical offering. But that’s by-the-by really because what makes this song so seminal is that it is an anthem of acceptance. No wait, THE anthem of acceptance.
Born this Way is a beacon of freak-flag-flying-light in the normally amoral pop culture world. It’s a song for the kids who are different – certainly the LGBT youth (who, due to lack of acceptance and support, comprise an estimated 25% of the homeless youth population in NSW and are 3.5 to 14 times more likely to have attempted suicide than their hetero peers), but also everyone who doesn’t fit neatly into the box that their school, workplace, family sees as ideal and normal. Against this backdrop, Born this Way takes us as we are and tells us we’re worthy, that we’re capable of handling every curve-ball that this life can throw at us. And that’s what makes Lady Gaga a star whose legacy may well surpass all of the big names of the last generations. Yeah, Madonna, MJ and Nirvana all created amazing music and influenced us significantly in different ways. But no other act of that grandeur has, to my knowledge, consistently exuded, through music and marketing, a world-improving message as much as Lady Gaga.
Or arrived at the Grammys in a womb…