Ready for a little diva catfight controversy? OK, ok, we get it. Lady Gaga‘s hit song “Born This Way” sounds almost exactly like the ’80s pop music mega-hit “Express Yourself” by Madonna. The chord progressions are the same. Yes, the dance beat is pretty in sync. And even the key song lyrics are identical (“Be yourself! / Love yourself!”). Despite all the “Born This Way Express Yourself” controversy, I don’t think it makes Gaga’s song any less brilliant. But that’s just my humble opinion.
Born This Way Express Yourself – Comparison
Here’s a great YouTube video that puts parts of both “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way” back to back. It only takes a few moments to hear how similar the songs are.
Born This Way Express Yourself – Mashup
Comparing the two songs is one thing. But seeing how easily they can be blended together up is another. Check out this amazing mashup by YouTube user Stephen Dost. He matched the speed and pitch of “Born This Way” and “Express Yourself”. Thinking our loud, can you still technically call it a mash-up when it’s two versions of the same song? Anyway, which song do you like better? Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” or Madonna’s “Express Yourself”? Does this prove that “Born This Way” is a Ripoff? You decide.
Making Things Worse: Lady Gaga Grammys Speech
Lady Gaga had an opportunity to diffuse the “Born This Way Express Yourself” controversy with Madonna at the 2011 Grammy Awards. But instead, she turned up the heat. In her speech, Lady Gaga thanked Whitney Houston, not Madonna. Critics immediately started throwing the “shameless card” Gaga’s way – and probably with just cause.
A Long History Of Sampling Songs
Still, Lady Gaga, Queen of Twitter, who has made a young and already epic career sampling pop culture, stealing identities and fiddling with fame, may just have outdone herself.
My theory: She’s overwriting pop history for a new generation who will now hear Madonna classics and say, “Oh! That sounds like Lady Gaga!” rather than the other way around. If she can get away with it enough (“Alejandro” = the ever-popular Ace of Bass, anyone? “Poker Face” = Glenn Frey‘s saxtacular “You Belong to the City“?) there may come a day when everything that came before sounds like part of her Monster Ball album. Lady Gaga, you crazy little minx. And by the way Madonna, she learned it from you!
NERD NOTE: Lady Gaga’s name was inspired by the Queen song, “Radio Gaga”. Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Just Enjoy The Music
At the end of the day, both “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way” are great songs. There are bigger issues in the world for us to worry about like saving the rain forests or stopping industrial pollution. For reference, here are the music videos for both “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way”. Just enjoy the music.