First Listen: Gaga's Born This Way Stops Short Of Glory

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Tuesday night the new Lady Gaga album, Born This Way, leaked onto file-sharing sites, much to the chagrin of hardcore fans who were waiting to be surprised on May 24 for the official release. The Little Monsters are respectful ones, aren't they? This monster will be buying his own next week, we promise, as long as this picture is in there somewhere.

We are currently partaking in the album, and we are finding that the singles that have come ahead of the complete album - the title track, "Judas," "The Edge Of Glory," and the newest, "Hair" - are actually not so indicative of Born This Way.

The meat of the disc is actually in the other cuts, but knowing the way the Gaga machine works, more than likely the whole thing will be picked clean for singles.

On first spin, we can say that BTW is not as immediately grabbing as The Fame or The Fame Monster. The frightfully real opinion is that maybe, just maybe, the past three years with Gaga have been a fluke. The next few albums will be another uphill struggle, to be honest, but they will be fun to watch at least.

The fame cycle isn't built for longevity anymore, and what Gaga is building is a forever thing, a heady concept for a generation who forgets what they liked, re-blogged, or re-tweeted two hours after the fact. You can even play a special Gaga version of Farmville now.

The imagery is still strongly religious and sexual in equal doses, but the music seems like it's trying to catch up. That's not to say that BTW doesn't have decadent moments of pop awesomeness.

The problem with the first few singles has been the eerie similarities between other pop hits, like the Madonna "Express Yourself" rip on "Born This Way," which turned a few fickle fans off at first spin.

Then there is part of us that keeps thinking this could all be some massive pop con-job, especially after we saw the Gaga-as-a-motorcycle album cover. You never know these days. We're just as confused by Gaga today as we were when we first saw a picture of her in 2007.

Here is a track-by-track breakdown of BTW, all 14 (gasp) songs through. By the way, does anyone speak German?

"Marry The Night": Great title, good vocal take, bad follow-through.

"Born This Way": In the context of the whole album, this one is almost too bombastic for the rest of the disc. It's an alien.

"Government Hooker": So far after two spins of the album, this is our favorite song, and that probably is because it's about Marilyn Monroe and mentions John F. Kennedy by name. Simple man, simple pleasures.

"Judas": Too many cutesy noises going on in the last half, but the first two minutes or so are gold.

"Americano": Ahem, Madonna's "La Isla Bonita"....

"Hair": For most men, the link between hair and personal freedom is lost, and a female-centric thing. And the song sounds just like a ready-made shampoo commercial. Sigh.

"Scheiße": Sexy, evoking imagery of a German leather dungeon. Will the teens get the references, or will they be asking their German teachers to translate for them? Madonna's "Human Nature" for the Miley set?

"Bloody Mary": Sleek and spooky, but more of the same ground that she covered on The Fame.

"Bad Kids": Using a line bitten from Yaz's "Don't Go," this one is a shout-out to her Little Monsters. An anthem for the misfits.

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)": This empowerment shit is getting old, part two.

"Heavy Metal Lover": We sure that Justice didn't do some shadow production on this cut? Awfully French...

"Electric Chapel": Canned guitar, stuttering Tetris beats.

"Yoü and I": Production by Robert "Mutt" Lange turns her concert staple on piano of the past year into a fist-pumping Def Leppard/Shania Twain power ballad.

"The Edge of Glory": The E Street Band's Clarence Clemons comes aboard to throw some saxophone down. Could have been a Pink song...

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