It’s hard to remember that before “Born this Way” Lady GaGa was on fire, with a parade of number one singles and amazing videos. Then with the release of “Born this Way” she kind of faltered. Maybe it was the pressure that the universe collectively placed on her, but regardless of what caused it I think we can all agree that the album does not measure up to the standards set by “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster”. Don’t get me wrong, “Born this Way” is still a solid album and has some great songs and I love it, but not as much as it’s predecessors. The biggest single from the album is hands down, the title track which spent five weeks at number one and is a love yourself dance anthem which has a bright future of being covered by drag queens for years to come. Upon it’s release the track was criticized for sounding similar to many Madonna songs, most notably “Express Yourself”. I will admit I do hear the similarities, but I do not think that it overshadows the song and feel that both songs are amazing. A few months ago, Madonna was asked by ABC News during the press rounds for “MDNA” about her feelings on the similar sounds and she very famously responded that it felt “reductive”. I figured that was the end of the matter, but this past week while rehearsing for her upcoming tour Madonna made a very Madonna like move. She took this opportunity to stir the pot and get some attention for herself.
A leaked video surfaced of her performing “Express Yourself” as part of a mash-up with “Born This Way” and a track off of 2008′s “Hard Candy” called “She’s Not Me”. Now, aside from sounding INCREDIBLE! This is classic shade. The arrangement of the songs plays up the similarities perfectly, so the songs sound exactly the same. The mash up then ends with Madonna singing the line “she’s not me” three or four times. If not for that final addition I would think this was just a little jab at GaGa and that she was performing the song to make light of the hub bub. But, now it feels like she is shading GaGa and I don’t get why. You’re Madonna, every female singer who’s come after you has borrowed from your bag of tricks. And in the past, Madonna has been very gracious collaborating with Britney, kissing Christina, shouting out Kylie. What is it about GaGa that has Madonna drawing the battle lines? GaGa and Madonna do have the most in common, as GaGa and Madge both share club roots, chameleon like era transformations and the use of visual gimmicks to keep people talking.
What’s most troubling about this little spat is that while GaGa is not on the top of the world like she was a few years ago, she is leaps and bounds ahead of Madonna at the moment. “MDNA” has failed to have a break out single, and sold a measly 359,000 copies its first week before sales dropped 86% and it began it’s decent down the charts. This latest slump that Madonna is facing makes this headline grabbing move look desperate. Plus, the fact that “Born This Way” is the only song on the set list to have hit number one in the last decade also doesn’t help. I love Madonna and know how amazing and important an artist she is, and I think she of all people knows the difficulties being a young, female pop singer in this business. That’s why it’s troubling to see her take a swipe at GaGa. But, theres no denying it was a genius move. This is the first time Madonna’s name has been in the news in months and now everyone is discussing her tour. I don’t know how she got so press savvy, I guess she was born that way. Regardless, here’s hoping that the two of them are able to bury the disco stick soon and maybe collaborate. Remember Madonna, if you can’t beat them, join them.
Here is the video, so you can check it out for yourself :