A decade since the cultural reset that was Born This Way by Lady Gaga, here we are still singing each soul-stirring tune loudly and proudly as we can, this time with more queer artists and allies joining the chorus.
In case you haven’t heard or realized, the seminal classic and seismic shift that is Born This Way is now a decade old. And you know it’s deeply embedded into the consciousness of the culture across generations when to this day, we are not only still talking about it, but singing, dancing, and crying to it. No one can help it, really. Try hard as one might, the music just moves you in a taunting, off-the-rails, and unapologetic pop romp orchestrated by the Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga. As close to perfection as it is musically, the Born This Way has become a touchstone of salvation for anyone who has felt different, and conversely, made to feel like an other. As diverse as the collection of anthems were the first time it was released, the unparalleled opus still holds up to this day, as a safe space more than anything.
Ten years later, Lady Gaga re-imagines, reissues, and rebirths Born This Way. Already irreverent in its pure, essential form, the update goes on the offensive with its take-no-prisoners stance, charging the original 11-track progression with six covers from predominantly queer artists or committed allies of the community. A literal passing of the mic to a most fitting assemblage of performers, this inclusion not only expands the passion and purpose of Lady Gaga, but it also bolsters the all important strongholds of the LGBTQIA+ community such as inclusivity, identity, and inspiration. With a fitting assemblage of performers including Kylie Minogue, Years & Years, Big Freedia, Orville Peck, The Highwomen, and Ben Platt singing covers of cherry-picked tracks from the album, the message is out, loud, and proud: It’s queer, get used to it.
TEN YEARS LATER
Breaking boundaries back then, the already daring Born This Way takes covers more ground musically in the tenth anniversary release. Pulsating with flourishes and arrangements that run the gamut of 80s excess, hardcore metal, and a surprise of opera, the reinterpretation cuts across country, electro pop, and techno. Here, the voice of Lady Gaga is nowhere to be found, just her lyrics and defiance ingrained in the spirit of the songs.
Breathing new life to the Born This Way songbook, everyone absolutes smashes it into the high heavens with their vocal embodiment of the songs. From the dazzling disco stylings of Kylie Minogue in Marry The Night, the thumping indulgence that is Judas by Big Freedia, the smoky roadside bar soundtrack of The Highwomen (Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Marren Morris, and Amanda Shires + Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards in Highway Unicorn (Road To Love), the soaring and soul-stirring triumph of aching poetry and cavernous vocals with You And I by Ben Platt, the lucid dream wonder that is Edge Of Glory by Years & Years, and finally, the ominous drawl of Orville Peck’s take on the titular, Born This Way, these cuts were the perfect way to cap off pride month, where it was released in support and synergy for the diverse and dynamic community it stands for.
A vision of passion, pride, and persistence, Born This Way is a resonant responsibility that has stood the test of time. Relevant now more than ever, it will continue to serve its purpose, finding its way to the ears and souls that need to hear and feel the message lovingly stitched and sung in each track. Ten years later here we are, still clinging to and feeling every strum, synth, and spoken truth of Lady Gaga, where she said it best: “you were born this way, baby.” That’s right, paws up.