February 11th, 2011
03:25 PM ET
We know you've heard it by now - Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" has arrived. It's the first single off her new album of the same name - one that she's promised will be "the greatest album of the decade" and is expected to arrive in May.
While the message of self-acceptance and individuality rings crystal clear on the up-tempo, disco-driven track, something else is ringing in the ears of quite a few listeners: its similarity to Madonna's 1989 smash, "Express Yourself."
A number of listeners are questioning if, in fact, "Born This Way" is really just a rip-off of the Madonna hit. The Chicago Tribune notes that "it sounds so much like the 1989 Madonna classic that it will only fuel the convictions of those who feel that Gaga is just a 21st Century knockoff of the Material Girl, herself a canny appropriator of past genre- and gender-bending artists."
Yet the Washington Post argues that the sound is so similar, it can be nothing but intentional. "The similarities between 'Born This Way' and 'Express Yourself' are too obvious as to be anything other than a giant nod from Lady Gaga to Madonna," the Post writes, and it's a point the U.K.'s The Guardian agrees with.
"It doesn't sound copycat," The Guardian muses, concluding that it's "more a knowing nod and a cute wink."
MTV advises that listeners should rewind the track and hear it once more. "At first listen, it sounds a lot like a '90s club anthem that could have been pulled right out of Madonna's 'Vogue' period, complete with rhythmic spoken-word parts. But upon a closer listen, Gaga's distinct voice makes the song all hers."
But as the Huffington Post's Marissa Moss suggests, perhaps the biggest problem is that the song simply couldn't live up to its own Web-fueled buzz. The anticipation was built month after month, fed a diet of celebrity acknowledgment - Elton John: "This is the new 'I will survive'" - and leaked lyrics.
Moss believes that "No matter what it sounded like, for everyone but diehard 'little monsters,' it wasn't going to be enough," and the Twitter reaction was certainly lukewarm.
Amidst the many pointing out, just in case you missed it, that the single bears a strong resemblance to Madge's song, were responses like David M.'s. "Sad to say it doesn't live up to the hype. Sounds too much like Madonna, and not enough like Gaga," the tweet reads. "Her other songs are stronger." While Nicole Lynch tweeted that "This is exactly what Lady Gaga needed for her comeback album," Amir Syarif Siregar wasn't as enthused. "What's the right word for below expectation?" the Twitter user inquired. "Disappointing?"
Take a listen if you haven't already and tell us what you think.
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