Back during its release in 2011, Born This Way stood out for its powerful message of uniqueness and acceptance that is still resonant to this day.
I became a fan of Lady Gaga in December 2010. It was my 6th grade class’ Christmas party and my classmate played the music video for Bad Romance on the classroom computer, which was connected to the projector. At that point in time, I heard of Lady Gaga, but didn’t consider myself a fan nor did I know much about her music. The Bad Romance music video got me intrigued and as I was heading home for Christmas break, I decided to binge-watch Lady Gaga’s other music videos. From that point on, she became my all-time favorite musician.
By the time Lady Gaga released Born This Way on May 23, 2011, she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Not only was her second studio album eagerly anticipated, it also received positive reviews and became a commercial smash. It sold more than a million copies in its first week and broke records by becoming the fastest-selling record since 2005. I was one of those people who were eagerly anticipating her return.
In February 2011, when she performed Born This Way for the first time, I remember watching the 2011 Grammys live to see her performance and I loved the song. Hearing the song on the radio the next day made me love it even more. I remember waiting for September of that year for my birthday so that I could ask my parents to get me an iTunes gift card. I would then use that money to buy Born This Way on iTunes and play it non-stop on my iPod.
It’s Still A Bop
If you just take Born This Way just for the music, it remains one of Gaga’s best bodies of work. Marry The Night is a perfect album opener and given recent events, the song and music video are even more special. Plagiarism issues aside, Born This Way the song remains one of her best lead singles. Judas is a blasphemous bop (even though it’s not really about religion) and still goes hard to this day. Hair is an upbeat smash that I still listen to every now and then.
Like many of you, 13-year-old me really thought Gaga was speaking German in ScheiBe even though she’s just speaking gibberish. I loved Bloody Mary so much that I spent hours looking for a Bloody Mary music video on YouTube thinking it’s real. Heavy Metal Lover is extremely underrated and is in my top 10 best Lady Gaga songs. You and I is one of, if not the best Lady Gaga ballad. Edge of Glory, Gaga’s ode to her grandfather, is a masterpiece from start to finish.
Born This Way’s Message That Still Resonates
I didn’t just love the album because of how good the songs sound though, I also loved it for its message. When you take into consideration the message of the album as a whole, that is when Born This Way truly transcends into a special album. At that time in my life, I was an introvert and a loner. I had zero friends and I always felt left out and isolated in school. Listening to Lady Gaga’s music though made me feel good inside.
Her message of recognizing the outcasts made me feel seen. It was with her Born This Way album that really solidified her message for me. I would have horrible days in school, but listening to that album would make things slightly better. In a time in my life where I had few people to really open up to, Born This Way was my escape. It’s like she knew what I was going through. The album made me feel like I was not being judged for who I was.
Ever since the beginning of her career, Lady Gaga has always been vocal about her support for LGBTQIA+ rights, as well as giving a voice to those who society deems as weird. But, when she released Born This Way as the lead single, she really shook things up. For an artist of the fame and caliber of Gaga to release a song that is so openly accepting of people regardless of their race or gender at that time was unheard of. She talked about things that only recently have been gaining more mainstream attention and conversation.
10 Years of Love, Bravery, and Acceptance
Born This Way changed many people’s lives. A quick scroll through Twitter shows that the album was a source of comfort for people growing up in communities that may not have accepted who they are. There is a reason why her fans call her Mother Monster. She is, in a way, a mother figure to them, someone with whom they feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. From Americano to Hair, Bad Kids, and more the album felt like a safe space for people to let their freak flags fly.
I loved Born This Way in 2011, and in 2021, I love it even more with every listen. In fact, I will still listen to the album 20 and 30 years from now. All things considered, the album taught me to not hate myself for who I am. It’s a timeless classic that not only delivers musically, but also with its message. The album holds a special place in my heart, and I know that is the same for many of her fans. As she so proudly sings “I was born this way, hey, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way, hey.”