Do we really need a Gaga remix album? Wasn’t the head-spinning, unicorns-and-rainbows-in-a-can delight that was the original Born This Way enough? Apparently not, apparently we need something that can be played in a hairdressers of a Saturday afternoon, for some Fade Streeter to cue up between stares and sighs at an ‘event’, for the BBC to use in a montage for upcoming shows featuring Billie Piper and that guy with the tiny eyes from Home to Roost.
OK, so it’s not all that superficial – sometimes a good, challenging remix can change the very architecture of a song, can open it up to become a new unseen beauty or dissolve a former aural hiccup that once made the original so teeth-grindingly annoying or maybe it’s just another way of milking the cash cow for all its worth. Thus we have Born This Way The Remix, an album that veers from your obvious 160 BMP banger that should only be heard when stuffed under someone’s armpit in a sweat drenched den at Poppers O’ Clock, to the supposedly cerebral inclusion of your indie faves. Yes, those indie boys with the stupid haircuts and sad-sack faces, they’re contorting Gaga too, to make her ‘palatable’ for even the most shriveled up anti-pop ears.
Oh dear. Why should any pop lover care what bloody Wild Beasts think about Gaga? Why does the inclusion of the Horrors, Foster the People and Two Door Cinema Club seem like a horribly misguided attempt to somehow legitimise Gaga to the Nathan Barley’s of this world who would never be caught dead bellowing out ‘Judas’ with a tea towel wrapped round their head and sick all up their top at 5am? Gaga does not need to be turned into a Fisher Price Nico (thanks the Horrors!) or a po-faced miserablist.
With all the stuttering delays and synths banked over the Wild Beasts remix of ‘You & I’ it is evident that they are desperately trying to bury the tune so much it becomes ridiculously unrecognisable to the point of farce. Lead Beast Hayden Thorpe emphasised his quaking fear in an NME interview stating, “It was a risk in that it’s sort of like sleeping with the enemy.” Sigh. One would have hoped the days of painfully indier-than-thou bands shunning the mainstream and all its evil powers had eradicated after 1983 when some soul actually figured out that the Supremes were SHOCK! AN ACTUAL POP BAND. They miss the point. They are missing the point of Gaga entirely and why they, or any of the other ’embarrassed to be here’ brigade, were asked by Interscope in the first place is mind boggling when so many other talented acts would have truly wanted to be considered for such a project .
For further evidence, consider the Goldfrapp remix of ‘Judas’ which sounds like a deranged drag queen on ‘ludes. It’s like a joke that the cool kids play at the popular girl’s birthday, a snigger behind the hand that no-one else finds funny or entertaining. This is especially irritating when this album has the potential to be something exceptional, The Weeknd & Illangelo’s version of ‘Marry the Night’ is truly sublime. Slowing its frantic pace down to a subtle, sexy thrum, coaxing it into becoming a sultry torch song of breathtaking proportions. Twin Shadow’s re-working of ‘Born This Way’ – showering it in Prince style dirty bass and off-kilter guitars – brings it right back to its bubble-gum 80’s roots. Unfortunately there’s not enough of this pop wisdom spread around the album and as it tends to focus on the same assortments of tracks, we’ll never know how someone like Stuart Price or the Pet Shop Boys might have tackled ‘Government Hooker’ or ‘Heavy Metal Lover’. What we do get is a whole lot of yawnsome filler and eye rolling tedium that was certainly not born this way and perhaps should have been smothered at birth.