It’s hard to believe that only 31 months ago, Lady Gaga was an underground electro-pop artist struggling to get her songs played on American radio. She sang about losing her phone and turning her shirt inside out, and she seemed destined to be the type of artist celebrated by the blogosphere but ignored by mainstream pop (an American Robyn). She’s since become the most important pop star on the planet, and today, released one of the most anticipated records of the 21st century.
The promotion Born This Way has received is unrivaled by any album in recent memory, thanks to Gaga hyping it long before we even knew what it would be called (She said she wrote the “core of it” more than a year ago). She went as far as to call it the “greatest album of this decade,” fueling the anticipation, and showcasing a hubris we’ve come to expect from the likes of Kanye West and pre-fatherhood Brandon Flowers. While self-promotion is an essential skill for every pop star, Gaga’s unprecedented plugging threatened to backfire – the entire project buckling under the weight of unrealistic expectations and self-importance – unless she delivered the groundbreaking opus she promised.