Home Celebrity Lady Gaga: Amazon Selling New Album for 99 Cents vs. ITunes $15.99

UPDATE: Amazon.com is selling “Born this Way” album downloads for 99 cents today. Meanwhile, the price at ITunes is $15.99. (Thanks to hitsdailydouble.com for the tip off.)

There’s just no question that Lady Gaga‘s “Born this Way” album sounds like the missing Madonna CD from 1988. Is it a bad thing? No, not at all. From the well known Madonna-ish title track to the annoying “Judas” and beyond, Lady Gaga (aka Stephanie Germanotta) has done what Madonna used to do so well: synthesize existing ideas into her own art form. Let’s not be stupid here. “Born this Way” is going to sell like crazy this week, maybe break a few records, and have an astounding debut on the charts. It may well do more than a one million in sales.

Will it revive the record industry? No. If anyone gets credit for that it should be Adele. Her “21” album has been number one for weeks. It’s also completely original, and Adele is an echo –not a copy–of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. I’ve been listening to “21” for the last couple of weeks on my Zen MP3 player, and it’s remarkable. Adele is the star of the year. This doesn’t take anything away from Lady Gaga. (PS Adele’s hit “Rolling in the Deep” was played at least twice every night this year on the red carpet at Cannes. No one could get enough of it.)

But “Born this Way” is relentless, derivative, and monotonous. The songs sound alike, with few exceptions. After “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” I had higher hopes for her. There’s not much variation on “Born this Way.” Ironically, when the songs get more melodic that’s when they sound more like Madonna. Case in point: the very catchy “Bad Kids.” I also really like “Americano,” Lady Gaga’s “Isla Bonita.” “Fashion of His Love” is yet another soundalike to “Vogue” and “Express Yourself.” Ditto “Black Jesus +Amen.” Lady is obviously ga ga over this period. (There are also references in a couple of these songs to Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me.”)

One thing to say in Lady Gaga’s favor. Like Madonna, she has a good sense of timing. There’s a song here called “Government Hooker” that is almost prescient considering the current spate of politicians, movie stars, and businessmen in sex scandals. Watch for “Government Hooker,” positioned at number 3 on the track listing, to be a hit single. And one of many over the next year. This is the era of Lady Gaga. Things could be worse. Let’s dance.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
6 replies to this post
  1. @david: I agree. She needs to strip the clown makeup and put some clothes on. Plus, I believe AMZ is offering 99c with purchase of the Cloud service. That makes a big difference.

    Prince did something like that years ago, when he gave away a CD with the purchase of a concert ticket, but Billboard would allow him to count it as “sales”. And AMZ often has 99c and low price sales of downloads. I’ve bought a few 99c and below retail downloads from AMZ. Nothing new.

  2. I agree that Gaga is not completely original, but that is ok. What about artists like Michael Buble? He is selling millions of albums singing covers!!!

    And, to her credit, she is the only pop star today who writes all her own lyrics and music. The next closest is Bruno Mars, but he writes with 2 or 3 other guys in his team.

  3. the article is misleading the 15.99 itunes download is for the deluxe. the one that compares to the .99 cent is going for 11.99. though i have to agree, adele has the cd of the year

  4. It’s very funny to see how unsecured Madonna fans are. when they hear Lady Gaga, they start to shriver. Very funny indeed.

  5. I watched Gaga on SNL this weekend and let’s face it… her thing is wearing waaay thin. There’s so much crap on stage that it takes away from the music. And, yes, sadly “Born This Way” is second generation Madonna … still a force to be reckoned with. She was good with the skits and maybe, that’s the way she should go. That first number, with her opening on piano was encouraging, but then it looked like a drag club on stage … I mean, really? Adele rules!

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