It’s almost odd to talk about “Born This Way” in terms of being Lady Gaga’s comeback song because, well, she hasn’t been anywhere. An unbroken streak of hit singles, her coast-to-coast sell-out Monster Ball tour and a string of red carpet appearances and performances at one awards show after another have kept her in the public’s unblinking eye for two solid years.

But, as everyone knows, you’re only as relevant as your last project in the entertainment industry and Gaga became a popstar exploring the allure of celebrity on “The Fame” and graduated to superstar detailing its pitfalls on “The Fame Monster.” Wags couldn’t wait to find out whether she could grow her success or even just maintain it with the release of her next album, due May 23. Based on the response to the set’s lead single and title track, it looks like “Born This Way” might lift the artist into the rare air of icon.

In mid February, the track leaped straight into the pole position on the “Billboard” Hot 100. In doing so, it garnered the distinction of being the 1000th #1 single since the creation of the chart in 1958. It also set a record for best one-week digital sales for a female artist. At this writing, the song is perched atop the Hot 100 for a second week.

Stylistically, “Born This Way” is a galloping electro pop epic with a melody lifted straight from Madonna’s late-Eighties smash “Express Yourself.” It’s all good though, Gaga says Madge has reached out to let her know she loves the track. The lyrics to “Born This Way” convey a love-and-unity message that makes Up With People seem ambivalent.

The track is also an unabashed Queer Anthem. Rather than employ winking or coded language (like gay-fave divas usually do when referencing the community), Gaga speaks directly to/about LGBT people. In fact, a “Billboard” cover story celebrating the mag’s thousand-hit milestone reveals that “Born This Way” is the first #1 to contain the word “transgendered.”

That sounds like progress to me.

Sound Byte

In 2009, Adele took home a pair of Grammy Awards — including Best New Artist — for “19,” the British singer-songwriter’s acclaimed debut that introduced her blue-eyed soul voice to a rapt world. On “21,” Adele’s just-released sophomore album, she comes of age with a collection of deeply personal songs about the power of real love and real heartbreak.

“To me,” Adele says, “music is all about relating. I would never dare write a song about success or anything to do with my career, because it doesn’t happen to many people. What I love about music is when I’m totally convinced that someone has written a song about me, even if it was written 80 years before I was born. I would love it if someone felt that about one of my songs and I love it when people go ‘I thought you were inside my heart or inside my head, you know exactly what I’m feeling.’” : :


David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at