Lady Gaga’s little monsters—from the fans since the “Just Dance” days to the folks who hopped on the Gaga Express at the “Telephone” junction—finally have the songstress’ first single from her third album of the same name, “Born This Way.”
It’s a departure from the glitzier stuff Gaga was propelling to to the top of the charts in the past two years, and that’s good: The rest of the world caught up to Ms. Germanotta’s sound during her hiatus. “Born This Way,” produced by Gaga, longtime Enrique Iglesias collaborator Fernando Garibay, and DJ White Shadow, hurtles along with a wobbly mechanized riff and thumping, insistent drums. (Robyn acolytes, prepare for some bits reminiscent of “Dancing On My Own.”) Synths oscillate in the background, and Gaga’s signature wailing is virtually nonexistent as she keeps up with a beat made for fist-pumps, head-nods with melodies that stick, and makes more than four minutes (4:22, to be exact) zoom by. The lyrics spill out a riff on the “It gets better” story pop music titans have been trying to tell since last fall with a more unrepentantly anthemic take on what it is to be different: “I was born this way, hey!” is destined for millions of Facebook status updates and Twitter bon mots, but first and foremost, this is a song all of the many groups in Gaga’s monstrous coalition can dance to.
Will Gaga’s latest opus be next week’s new number one and the 1,000th Billboard Hot 100-topper? It’s good enough, fast enough, and different enough from the rest of the electropop on the radio—whooshing where something like “Hold It Against Me” builds to its spectacular dubstep breakdown bridge—and if it’s not quite as show-stopping as the best of Gaga’s work, it’ll still be plenty potent. (And just wait until Gaga gives it a whirl at the Grammys on Sunday!)