When Lady Gaga took the stage for her acceptance speech on Sunday night at the Grammys, I was shocked at how sincere she was. It was almost painful. Tears were flowing. She talked about how she imagined Whitney Houston singing her new song “Born This Way”. Even Bruce Springsteen and Bono (two of rock’s most sincerest performers) have showed some humor when accepting awards. And even Madonna, who Gaga models herself after – “Born this Way” is a re-write of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” – never gave a performance like that.
Most of Gaga’s previous songs I enjoyed because I always got the sense that there was some sense of irony in her performances. There’s no way you could take songs like “Pokerface” and “Bad Romance” at face value. That seemed to be part of the appeal. Unlike a lot of other pop that has been coming out of the airwaves, Gaga seemed intent on being mysterious. Every interview I’ve ever read with her though, the opposite is true.
But on Sunday night, when Gaga accepted her award, her demeanor was more like a country-artist. She had to let everyone that she was “thankful” and that everything that she does is for her fans aka the “little monsters”. Despite her outward appearances and masks, the real Gaga is just a little girl looking for acceptance.
This sincerity is why “Born This Way” might be Gaga’s worst song, even over the tepid but hilarious “Boys Boys Boys” off of The Fame. It’s already been called a “gay anthem” and Gaga herself make claim that she is writing this for the outcasts everywhere, but its clearly about her own anthem for acceptance. Outward it seems as if she’s telling everybody it’s ok to be slightly freaky and different, but the reality is Gaga seems a bit insecure and “Born This Way” is her way of reaffirming herself to society. Gaga has also claimed that she wrote the song “in 10 fucking minutes”, which sounds nice on paper, but the lyrics seem too forced for it to be written in such a fashion. She clearly thought everything through several times.
Lady Gaga seems to be caught between two worlds: the post-modern kitschy trash of her wardrobe and stage antics, and the open heart of her real personality. She can’t have it both ways. She desperately wants to be cool, and she was definitely not “born that way”.