It’s been a fun day of rating and reviewing the 14 tracks that make up Lady Gaga’s latest album, Born This Way, which leaked to the internet late last night. Now that we’ve gotten through each and every last one of ‘em, we’ve done you the favor—you know, because we’re such good friends—of assembling them in one post for you. So in case you haven’t been diligently checking the site all day, you can knock ‘em out here in one fell swoop right now. Remember, they’re ranked from #14 (our least favorite) to #1 (our most favorite):
No. 14: “Americano”
Sounds Like: Gaga’s attempt at making the world’s most fist-pumping tango, a flamenco-tinged house number complete with dramatic strings, synth horns and lyrics in Spanish.
Pros: The pulsating synths are pretty cool. And if you thought that “Hernando’s Hideaway” needed a homoerotic dancefloor update, then you will be very, very happy that this song exists.
Cons: Gaga’s attempt at a Spanish accent is predictably miserable, and the entire exercise ends up sounding grating and impossibly cheesy—helped little by the fact that we’re still reeling from how much “We No Speak Americano” was overplayed the second half of last year. Plus, no castanets? If ever there was a time…
Yearbook Lyric: “Mis canciones son de la re-revolución / Mi corazón me duele por mi generación” (Roughly: “My songs are of the revolution / My heart hurts for my generation”)
Gaga Hashtags: Foreign languages, bad accents, Jesus, alternative sexuality
No. 13: “Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love)”
Sounds Like: David Guetta if he grew up on ’80s cartoon themes instead of Ibiza hits and really, really liked “Poker Face.”
Pros: Like the rest of Born This Way, “Highway Unicorn” is immense, sonically and vocally. For once her political lines (“she don’t care if your papers or your love is the law,” “burning roads with a flag in her bra”) aren’t completely obvious. And, y’know, there are about three separate drum breakdowns in this thing.
Cons: Big as “Highway Unicorn” is, it’s also completely unwieldy, a bunch of heavy parts taped to together to weigh each other down. It’s as if co-producer RedOne wanted to remake The Fame and Gaga just wanted to rock out. What’s left is a compromise, a watered-down “Edge of Glory” (spoiler or not? wait and see!) with “Poker Face” synths poking out at awkward moments, more and more on every listen.
And there’s just a definite limit to how good a song called “Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love)” can be. We know ponies and unicorns are a Gaga mini-trend–there was that necklace, and then GagaVille (we’ve been there, and never let us speak of it again) looks like a Lisa Frank explosion. But it’s going to take a much better track than this to get inspiration out of a sparkly pony bleeding rainbow syrup.
Yearbook Lyric: “Follow that unicorn, on the road to love!”
Gaga Hashtags: Ponies, organs, the word “tonight,” freedom, drinking.
#12. “Bad Kids”
Sounds Like: J.U.S.T.I.C.E. producing a 21st-century Madonna song, with “It Gets Better”-type motivational lyrics of teenage self-acceptance.
Pros: The song has a nice little groove to it, helped immensely by that sinewy digital-guitar riff in the background on the song’s verses and the shimmering synths that spruce up an otherwise underwhelming chorus. (Crap, that’s half con, isn’t it?)
Cons: Another song pandering to the Little ones, Mother Monster? How many times do you need to tell them just how Born This Way they are before you trust them to move on with their lives? You don’t have to spend an entire song proudly (if somewhat sarcastically) self-identifying with every possible socially outcast youth group—to wit: nerds, losers, brats, punks, freaks, twits, bitches, rebels and of course, straight up Bad Kids—just to let the kids know once again that it’s OK to be different. If they haven’t gotten it by now, they were probably too cool to begin with.
Yearbook Lyric: “Don’t be insecure / if your heart is pure.”
Gaga Hashtags: Parents, loserdom, being a teen, spoken-word intro, soft chorus
No. 11: “Electric Chapel”
Sounds Like: Lady Gaga founding a religion based on electric guitars, wobbly synths and plenty of longing for the never-completely-identified Electric Chapel.
Pros: The attention to detail. Check out the church bells, organs and choral swells in the background, or the piano line that cascades through. That part toward the end where Gaga tries to outsing the would-be guitar solo is cool too. And what listener can’t relate to “you want me bad, I think you’re cool, but I’m not sure?”
Cons: “Electric Chapel” is solid, but it’s also lightweight. Everything good here is done better elsewhere on the album, and we suspect Gaga’s team had this in mind when they stuck the track near the tail end of the album. It’d sound awesome in any other context, but baby, this is Born This Way.
Yearbook Lyric: “If you want me, meet me in electric chapel.”
Gaga Hashtags: Being a teen, prayer, disco, organs.
For songs number ten through six, click NEXT.