- For the song, see Born This Way (song).
Born This Way is the second major release by Lady Gaga, released on May 23, 2011. The writing of the album took place in 2010 during The Monster Ball Tour. Preceding its release, the album's lead single and title track, "Born This Way", debuted on February 11, 2011.
In Gaga's own words, the album is "much more vocally up to par with what I’ve always been capable of. It’s more electronic, but I have married a very theatrical vocal to it. It’s like a giant musical-opus theater piece."
As of June 1, 2011, Born This Way had become the fastest-selling album worldwide in 2011. With 288,000 copies sold on its first day and 1,108,000 in its first week in the U.S., it has sold more than 1 million copies outside the U.S. The album has also debuted at the top spot in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Background and development
Already during the first leg of The Monster Ball Tour in Fall of 2009, RedOne said to MTV News that they will be "making magic again", regarding Gaga's third album. He also said that during The Monster Ball Tour Gaga is scheduled to be back in the studio with all-new songs.
|“||We're gonna start very, very soon … within weeks. You should wait for it. That's the mystery. That's what's going to make it more special when it comes out.||”|
During the after-party for the 52nd Grammy Award Ceremony, Joe Germanotta met with American recording artist Britney Spears, with Lady Gaga joining the conversation. They were soon seen exchanging numbers, which hints at a possible collaboration, although there was never an announcement as to whether or not the two would write/sing a song together. Despite rumors, Gaga and Spears did not collaborate on any tracks for Born This Way. During the second week of March 2010, Gaga took a week off to work on some new music before resuming her tour. On March 26, 2010, Lady Gaga confirmed on an Australian radio show, The Kyle and Jackie O. Show, that she had started working on her next album. She said that "I'm working on it now and I've already written the core of it so I'm just continuing to travel around the world and make something really great. It's certainly my best work to date."  This revelation hinted that some of her previous, still unreleased songs might be featured, rather than having an album composed entirely of all-new songs. When asked on Twitter about a future collaboration with Gaga, Fernando Garibay hinted that this was likely to happen again. On March 28, 2010, Lady Gaga wrote on the chat box on GagaDaily, stating she already wrote the first single for the album. She also mentioned the title of the third album is coming soon, but didn't want to spoil it just yet.
Lady Gaga was seen headed to a recording studio in Sydney, Australia with Fernando Garibay on April 8, 2010. Gaga also went a into the studio a few times on her day off from the tour. On April 21, 2010, the press released a statement by Akon about Gaga's third album, and that he will soon get with her to work on it.
"She records while she's on the road. I'm flying out to Europe to work on some new records with her. Gaga's just like me. She has a tour bus with a studio in it. Some of the songs I've heard are going to be crazy. She's getting bigger and better." "All I'm doing at the end of the day is listening to the tracks Gaga has written and approving them for her album. She has producers that she works with outside of myself and they are coming up with some incredible records. But the beauty of it is she knows exactly what she wants. So it just makes it easier for me."
In the double July issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Gaga said the album title will be announced on January 1st 2011, 00:00:00, in the form of a new tattoo. She was also quoted saying this about the new single: "That chorus came to me, like, I swear, I didn't even write it. I think God dropped it in my lap."
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Gaga planned to announce the title of her new album at midnight on New Year's Eve. “I think I’m gonna get the album title tattooed on me and put out the photo,” she says. “I’ve been working on it for months now, and I feel very strongly that it’s finished right now. It came so quickly. Some artists take years; I don’t. I write music every day.” As for the subject matter of the music, Gaga said she moved on with writing songs about her quest for fame to crafting tunes with an angry, perhaps political bent. “Why are we still talking about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell’?” she says. “It’s like, what fucking year is it? It makes me crazy! And I have been for three years baking cakes — and now I’m going to bake a cake that has a bitter jelly. The message of the new music is now more bitter than it was before. Because the sweeter the cake, the more bitter the jelly can be.”
On August 11th, while talking to Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM, Gaga stated that she has told fans the third album is done but in actuality it is "kind of done" because she can't stop writing music and may have to release two records. She stated that since Prop 8 was overturned she can't stop writing music and she doesn't know what she's going to do in records to the third album. She said she wanted to create an innovative album with an innovative message and has gotten friends of hers to help produce the album, she referred to the three friends she is producing with and herself as the "Banditos".
- “It’s going to be shocking, shocking, shocking! You never want to go too far from your brand – people love you for a reason. But we still want to give them something with a kick, something that makes them say, ‘Oh my God! We didn’t expect this!’ When you heard "Bad Romance" after "Poker Face", it was like the best thing you’ve ever heard. We want that type of reaction. I think that’s part of my job and her job – to keep her evolving.”
On August 24th, 2010 at the Roger's Arenain Vancouver, Gaga stated her record label asked that she take a break after her tour, and not release another album until the summer. After hearing tracks off the album, they approved of the songs, and said it should be released at the top of 2011. On September 12th, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga won the Video of the Year moonman for "Bad Romance". She stated that she promised that if she won, she would reveal the title. She did, and then sung a refrain from the title track.
On September 16, Gaga further explained the album.
- "The album is my absolute greatest work I’ve ever done and I’m so excited about it. The message, the melodies, the direction, the meaning, what it will mean to my fans and what it will mean in my own life - it’s utter liberation."
- "I knew I had an ability to change the world when I started to receive letters from fans: ‘You saved my life…’ ‘I’m gay and my parents threw me out.’ My fans have related to me as a human being and as a non-human being - as a super-human person that I truly am."
- "Everyone tells me I’m arrogant but my music’s the only thing I’ve got, so you’ll have to let me be confident about one thing. I suppose that’s what you can expect from the album: a lot of hit records that will piss people off."
- "Beyoncé said: ‘Where the fuck do you get these ideas from?’ And I was like: ‘I don’t know Bee, it was just the way I was born'."
During an interview with RWD, Gaga mentioned that she hopes her new album will be a crossover record, that will "reach the masses" with a rock styled direction. Gaga said with the debut of the song, "Yoü and I", she hopes it will have widespread appeal.
- "I wrote the song just to write a beautiful song and I intend to put it on the new album, yes, but it’s not totally indicative of the new album sound; it’s just a really big rock and roll hit. I do have these hopes that it could be a great crossover record, so I’m going to put my producer’s hat on and get it to a place where I feel like it could reach the masses." "It’s a beautiful, beautiful lyric and melody."
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Elton John spoke about the album.
- "I love her, and I love her ability to write. There’s a chance I might do one track with her, but she’s so busy and I’m so busy, we can never get together! But her record – it’s fucking amazing. ‘Born This Way’, which is the title song, will completely get rid of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’. This is the new ‘I Will Survive’. That was the gay anthem. This is the new gay anthem. Actually, it’s not a gay anthem – it can apply to anybody."
Gaga's manager, Troy Carter spoke about the album during an interview with Billboard Touring Conference and Awards.
- "We're just starting to play music for the label. We're very excited about it. We're starting to play a little for people and getting a feel for it, and she's done an incredible job, a really incredible job"
- "Well, you know what, it's not where I go from a business standpoint, it's more about where she goes creatively because, truth be told, we built the business around her creative infrastructure and that business that was built is unique to Lady Gaga. We haven't announced a date … nope … it's coming soon."
RedOne also spoke about it, stating "[He] think it's more of her freedom album. It's like freedom, this album … it's her album!"
- "To be honest with you, I think that this album that she's making is too precious to talk about. When it comes out you'll hear and you'll make your choice. I think you're gonna love it. But I think it's too precious for me to talk about it. It's crazy."
Akon spoke about the album in an interview with MTV News, stating that the album is definitely "a notch up" from Gaga's previous work, and that he feels it is "only an appetizer for what is to come."
During an interview with MTV news, Gaga's friend Perez Hilton stated:
- “This album is Gaga’s Like A Prayer, and that is huge praise coming from me, who is, like, the biggest Madonna fan ever. And I told Gaga that I think this album is her Like A Prayer, and she took that as a big compliment, and I’m so tempted to say more. What’s amazing about this body of work is that it really is that Born This Way is a body of work, where all of the songs make sense together. And it’s as if she created this world or co-created this world with her fans, and all of these songs inhabit that world. And it’s so special. The songs, the album, the videos are gonna change culture. It’s gonna save lives, and it’s gonna get people dancing.”
Perez has heard the album in its entirety, and he notes that fans will be blown away:
- “And it’s not gonna be what everybody expects, and it’s gonna be more than everybody expects,” he said. “And it’s gonna be so amazing. I can’t wait for everybody to hear the music, and it’s such a long time away. May is not around the corner.”
At midnight during New Year's Eve 2010, Gaga tweeted a photo promoting her new album. She also said that the album is set to be released on May 23, 2011, and the first single, on February 13th.
On February 14th, 2011, a new poster emerged on the streets of San Francisco of Gaga wearing various prosthetics on her cheeks and forehead with the word "GAGA" displayed on the bottom along with the date of release - "5†23†11".
On April 9th, 2011 Gaga revealed that the album artwork was finished.
In an interview with SHOWstudio Lady Gaga stated that if there was a film about her life the title would be "Born This Way".
On May 2nd, 2011 Gaga released the tracklistings to both the original and special edition album.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Garibay discussed what it was like recording the album while Gaga was touring.
- "Basically, she's constantly working, so we have to keep up. If she has an idea, we need to be there to capture those moments, so we had every setup possible — we had laptops where we could go backstage and record something on the spot and we had a bigger set up in the studio bus. When we needed to isolate vocals, we’d record in there, it felt more quiet. Then eventually when we actually made a stop somewhere for several days, we'd go into a real studio and flesh out these ideas. It reminded me of those documentaries with mega bands from the '70s like Pink Floyd, who would record in these big studio sessions. It felt like that. It felt like we were creating something really special."
- "Her voice is so powerful, you can pretty much capture it with anything, whether a laptop or a mic. It's funny, even vocals recorded off her laptop with the GarageBand mic we ended up using on the album. Sometimes we sacrifice quality for performance because there's a magic moment where the vocal sounds just right. We worked very hard at repairing anything that needed to be repaired sonically."
Garibay also discussed how the team prevented material from being leaked.
- "Extreme steps (were taken). We were on the road for a year and two months, so there were so many hack attempts to our email accounts, our Twitter accounts, our Facebook accounts, everything around us. We were targets. So what we did was make sure all our computers were offline all the time -- none of our work computers were online at any time. And we were very careful about where we left our hard drives and storage devices. They pretty much never left our sight."
- "It's unfair for one of your sketches to be released when it's just a sketch. To do it justice is to release a complete piece of art. So under those guidelines, we were really cautious about how we created this album, like how we couldn't sacrifice creativity, and we wouldn't sacrifice security, either … It's funny because now being off the tour, I should feel lighter because I'm used to carrying all my stuff with me. It’s like carrying a wallet, it became such a part of us."
Garibay also discussed those deemed "co-writers" on the album:
- "She doesn't need anyone to write a hit song. A lot of times, it’s 100% her. She's generous enough to give the producers who worked on this album a percentage of the songwriting for the production and whatever contributions we gave in arrangement or a few lyrical suggestions here and there."
Garibay also explained the editing process of the album.
- "For every song, we averaged about 50 versions on the high side, because she was that much of a perfectionist. She wanted to give the best product possible to her fans. I would compare it to working on five albums at once. It was so much work, I didn't sleep for a month, I would just take naps. And when she wasn't happy with any of the versions and she wanted to start over, I had to be the one to do it. It happened quite a few times -- it had to go through all those versions to evolve into the final product. Because in her head, it's like, "I want to hear the full rock version, I want to hear the full dance version, I want to hear the full techno version, I want to hear the full New Wave version." And once she hears and sees all the colors that she's working with, she can finally help paint that final picture. That's how it works. You can't get to the final point in her head without sketching each individual painting or trying each individual color. That way you know what the possibilities are."
On April 17. 2011, the cover art for the album was released, and featured Gaga fused into a motorcycle. Gaga's name does not appear on the standard edition album cover, the only text is the chrome writing across the top reading the album's name in Akzidenz-Grotesk. The expanded edition feature a closeup of Gaga's head with her name and the album name written on the top right corner in Impact. The picture used for the cover was taken on December 14, 2010 during the same photoshoot as the "Born This Way" single cover.
In Gagavision 42 during a Haus meeting, Gaga is shown explaning that she hates the word "deluxe" and doesn't want it to be on the cover. On Amazon.com, this edition of the album is listed as the "Expanded Edition". On the iTunes Store, the special edition is titled as the "Bonus Track Version".
Release and promotion
Born This Way was released worldwide on May 23, 2011. A special edition of the album was released on the same day with three additional songs and five remixes.
While accepting the Video of the Year award for "Bad Romance" at the MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga announced the album's title before declaring that she promised that she would reveal it if she won that award. This revelation was followed by Gaga singing a few lines from the title song: "I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes; I'm on the right track baby, I was Born This Way." Given as a Christmas "gift" to her fans, Gaga announced via Twitter the release dates of the album and its lead single at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day 2011. Supplementing this announcement came a black-and-white photograph in which Gaga is "nude from the waist down, with her hair blowing about, and sporting a jacket with [Born This Way] emblazoned in what looks like bedazzled jewels."
Upon the performance of a ballad, "Yoü and I", on Today's Toyota Concert Series in July 2010, Gaga confirmed that it would be featured on the album yet the song bared "a different sound than the [rest of the] album." The track has since been added to her set list at The Monster Ball. In a further atypical manner, she released the complete set of lyrics to "Born This Way" on her official Twitter page in late January 2011. The names of the five songs that appear on the album were revealed in the March 2011 issue of US Vogue.
To promote the album, Lady Gaga released songs on Farmville. Zynga made a farm for her and tasks had to be completed in order to unlock streamings for three unheard songs from the album. The feature ran from May 17 to May 19.
On May 18, UK fans were able to listen to previews of every song on the standard edition album via Metro.co.uk. It was the first and only place to get a sneak peak of all the songs before the albums release.
Due to the religious themes and lyrics in such songs "Judas" and in the title track "Born This Way" stating "God makes no mistakes", the Lebanese government banned the album and seized thousands of copies of it upon entrance to Lebanon. The government deemed the album "offensive to Christianity".
On May 12, Gaga and some fan sites set up an agreement called the "Honesty Box". It's an e-mail account (email@example.com) where fans can send in anonymous tips about leaks from the album to ensure that any leaks don't get a widespread distribution. It is said that the owner of the material will not be attacked, but will be stopped in a fair and respectful manner.
SinglesOn August 3, 2012, Gaga revealed that her original choice of singles was "Born This Way", "Marry the Night", "Scheiße" and "The Edge of Glory". According to her, Interscope Records didn't allow her to put "Scheiße" as a single so she decided to feature the song on the short film created for "Fame".
Track list and release history
Online store exclusive
Booklet and credits
- For song credits, music video and lyrics, see the each individual song page.
- For more information and to see the rest of the album photo shoot, see Nick Knight.
- ↑ http://www.2dayfm.com.au/entertainment/music/popbuzz//blog/happy-birthday-lady-gaga/20100326-7xyf.html
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6kUX2ymMvc
- ↑ http://www.mtv.com/videos/news/598675/akon-is-already-excited-about-lady-gagas-new-album.jhtml#id=1652515
- ↑ http://twitter.com/#!/ladygaga/status/56787052708102144
- ↑ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lady-gaga-producer-making-born-193459
- ↑ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lady-gaga-producer-making-born-193459
- ↑ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lady-gaga-producer-making-born-193459