Madonna Invites Lady Gaga Comparisons By Covering “Born This Way”

Despite the increasing sense of awkwardness, there’s something almost admirable about the Machiavellian way that Madonna courts confrontation. Case in point: This clip of Madge seguing her “Express Yourself” hit into Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at a rehearsal for a Tel Aviv performance, which surfed on the Internet over the weekend. (“Leaked,” we presume.) Comparisons between the two songs have been noted before, with a few mash-ups presumably showing the smoking gun. For Madonna to so openly evoke the similarities seems like an overt middle finger, along with the slightly creepy way she ends the montage by singing “She’s not me” over and over like some witch doctor trying to ward off the usurping with some ancient incantation.

Of course, Madonna’s permanent sense of competition is what makes her Madonna. What other legend would drag two of the hottest stars of the modern era on stage only to reduce them to a few perfunctory, sing-songy rhymes? Judging by the 1,365 likes vs. 1,065 dislikes (estimated at press time) on the YouTube video, the rival fanbases have already begun sniping in earnest. As YouTube user “Nadkalysto” types: “fuck u bitch gaga is better than u,.!! how desperate u are to sing gaga’s song and pretending she’s coping u,…..really cheap,u loss all my respect that i had for u madonna,.!!!!” Madonna could not be reached for comment.

‘Born This Way’ Reviews: Has Lady Gaga Created a Masterpiece?

Back in November, when Lady Gaga promised that Born This Way would be the “greatest album of this decade,” there was no good reason to doubt her. She was, and still is, at the peak of her powers, and her confidence was infectious. Then she released the eponymous first single, an instant pop classic, and the album seemed destined to fulfill Gaga’s prophecy. Maybe Born This Way could actually be what Thriller was to the ’80s, what Ok Computer was to the ’90s, or what Funeral (Stankonia? Kid A?) was to the aughts, a track-by-track embodiment of what big music should and could be. The reviews have been flooding in since the album leaked online late last week, so let’s let them be the judge.

Entertainment Weekly calls BTW “rewarding but wildly uneven,” and that it “doesn’t herald pop’s second coming.” Rolling Stone says the album is “disarmingly great… The more excessive Gaga gets, the more honest she sounds.” Slant threw the album a sort-of compliment, calling it “bloated, self-important, proudly American, an exercise in extraordinary excess,” but praised Gaga’s vocal chops, saying she “sings the shit out of every single track.” The Guardian echoes Slant’s Americana impressions, but notes the album filters them “through the pointy prism of decadent European dance music.” Is that a good thing? Bad thing? They don’t really say. British music bible NME calls it “a landmark Gaga release,” in the context of her two other releases, which were kind of landmarks as well. Consequence of Sound gives Born This Way 3 out of 5 stars, and uses the song “Americano” as a meter for the rest of the album, calling it an “ill-advised dip into mariachi-pop, quickly devolves into the same sort of busy Eurodisco club banger that, regrettably, makes up most of the album,” and hopes that “she’ll move on to more interesting and innovative fare.”

So overall, most critics agree that Born This Way is at the very least a pretty good album from a proven artist who’s capable of greatness. Will it end up on best-of-the-decade lists? Probably not. But Lady Gaga has 8 more years to record an album that very well might. The common Gaga gripe, made famous by MIA, is that her music isn’t as interesting as her outfits. That seems to be the consensus on BTW, too. But we return to the Consequence of Sound review, which summed it up best: “Gone is the hesitant starlet, obsessed with her own newfound fame on The Fame Monster, and in her stead is a very confident pop star who looks well on her way to a long, exciting career.” Amen.

Lady Gaga on Prosthetics & Why Her Latest Record Is a Gateway Drug

A preview of Derek Blasberg’s Lady Gaga interview in May’s Harper’s Bazaar has finally emerged, revealing some interesting quotes from the shock-pop queen. Accompanying the story are a series of photos by Terry Richardson—who else?—that features Gaga in a surprisingly tame pinkish-blonde coif. She also dons a range of designer pieces, from the Tex Saverio gown shown here, to Kiki de Montparnasse lingerie, to a special-order Alexander McQueen dress and mask. Read some of our favorite quotes—Alexander McQueen wrote “Born This Way”!—from the feature after the jump.

On why her new pointy prosthetics do not promote plastic surgery: “I have never had plastic surgery, and there are many pop singers who have. I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification.”

On Hussein Chalayan, who designed that egg she was “incubating” in at the Grammys: “[He’s] an incredible mind and a genius human being. He truly leads the way in the avant-garde world.”

On the connection between Alexander McQueen and “Born This Way.” “I think he planned the whole thing: Right after he died, I wrote “Born This Way.” I think he’s up in heaven with fashion strings in his hands, marionetting away, planning this whole thing. When I heard that, I knew he planned the whole damn thing. I didn’t even write the fucking song. He did!”

On why her latest hit record is a gateway drug: “‘Born This Way’ is the marijuana to the heroin of the album. The [album’s] experience gets massively more intense as you explore it. All the different songs are different kinds of highs.”

On how she spends her earnings, which are about $62 million yearly, according to Forbes: “I spend my money on my props and my creations. I’m an inventor.”

On what her life would be like if all that fame stuff hadn’t worked out: “I would still be living next door to my friend Jennifer, playing at the clubs I’ve always played at. It was never not going to work out for me because I was already living my dream when I was playing music.”

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Designer Roll Call for Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Video

To gear up for Lady Gaga’s runway debut today during the Thierry Mugler womenswear fashion show in Paris, we’re highlighting the roster of talent featured in her latest music video. The piece was directed by Nick Knight (who also shot the Alexander McQueen tribute film for the 2010 British Fashion Awards) and fashion directed by Gaga’s stylist and Mugler creative director, Nicola Formichetti. Naturally there was some Mugler, like the fierce his-and-her tuxes above, but the otherworldly video is heaving with other designers from all walks of life.

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The above still features work by 2010 CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year winner Alexis Bittar, designer duo Erickson Beamon, BlackBook favorite Pamela Love, and multi-hyphenate London artist Petra Storrs. The video also includes pieces by fetishwear designers Atsuko Kudo and The Baroness, specialty footwear designers Natacha Marro and Kobi Levi, recent Tron collaborator TomTom, as well as a few looks from Gaga’s own fashion collective, Haus of Gaga. The rest of the designers (yes, there’s even more) are listed on Formichetti’s blog.

Watch Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” music video here.

Watch Nicola Formichetti’s debut Mugler Women’s FW11 show here, today at 9pm Paris time/3pm EST.

Photo: Nicola Formichetti’s blog

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Video Contains Graphic Birth Imagery, Zombies

Not that this is even that outré for Gaga, but the new video for “Born This Way” is gross. The entire first three minutes are just an extended birth scene. So. Much. Goo. I’m not even sure who’s giving birth to what. Later on there are zombies, and Lady Gaga’s scary new cheek implant things – and possible Madonna references – appear throughout.

I kind of dig the video though. There’s a really well-done, three-second interlude at about 6:48 where she’s semi-voguing in white gloves. Cool concept. Maybe more time could have been devoted to that instead of to placenta. See the video above.

Morning Links: Justin Bieber Hosts ‘Daily Show,’ Lady Gaga’s Album Sounds like Mint Fields

● A jacket-ed Justin Bieber made for a cute Jon Stewart on last night’s Daily Show. Stewart, on the other hand, looked less-cute in his Bieber-esque purple hoodie. [GawkerTV] ● Designer Thakoon Panichugul’s designer Yorkshire terrier-Chihuaha mix, Stevie, has reportedly become quite snappy in the approach of Fashion Week deadlines. So snappy he even bit an intern! Thakoon’s reps are denying it. [NYP] ●Oh no! Miley Cyrus got another tattoo! The new dream-catcher inked under her arm makes five, and we all know what five tattoos means for a young starlet, don’t we? (Gang bang queen.) [People]

● DJ White Shadow, a primary collaborator on Lady Gaga’s upcoming Born This Way says the Lady’s latest is, “Like a golden spaceship touching down on a rainbow runway in a field of fresh mint.” [Billboard] ● You can now buy a piece of internet history: The man with the golden voice, Ted Williams, is selling the cardboard sign and camo jacket he wore in the YouTube video that brought him initial internet fame. [TMZ] ● This week’s Valentines-themed New Yorker cover finds NYC Mayor Bloomberg gazing loningly into the eyes of his number one admirer — himself. “I thought it was cute looking into the mirror,” he told reporters. [CityRoom]