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Clearly below Lady Gaga standards
on 22 January 2014
While there certainly are some nice tunes, I think the main problem with this album and Lady Gaga's current stage in general is that she no longer has full control of her creative process and she's being pushed to manufacturing some musically appalling universal love/self-acceptance/etc. tunes which, obviously enough, can appeal to no-one else apart from a few die-hard fans.
Up to a point, since pop music is not meant to be taken seriously after all, this - as Born This Way goes to show - doesn't necessarily represent a problem. Of course, it becomes a problem when songs are musically unclear, lyrically patronising, and lack the sense of fun, introspection, wit and humour that Lady Gaga has always managed to bring into her music. While Donatella, Mary Jane Holland and Swine are highly enjoyable, tracks like Aura or Venus transmit only a sense of misunderstanding and a poker face. Then again, I was utterly surprised and upset about the fact that Lady Gaga hasn't practically displayed her wonderful vocal and piano abilities on none of the songs.
Considering the fact that, as some other reviewers have suggested, she cannot go back or disappear from the spotlight for a while to get things clear and focus on music only, I definitely hope that she can leave those love, acceptance, live for today, etc. messages for a while and just compose a few light-hearted (which often come to contain a deeper and less pretentious message) tunes with good lyrics. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy good experimental music such as Einstürzende Neubauten or Swans, but you cannot expect to call an unfinished, pretentious, patronising, musically and lyrically unclear, and overproduced record a challenging and experimental release, especially when it comes from a great pop artist who can do it 10 times better.