By Alyssa Rosenberg
Lady Gaga has a song protesting Arizona’s SB 1070. It is, not shockingly, not very good:
I’ve thought it was a bit odd that Gaga didn’t called out for using “Orient” as a descriptor in “Born This Way,” and the “I don’t speak your Americano” line seems like a false note to me, a bit of condescension wrapped up in benevolence. I don’t mean to be a scold about this—not every immigration protest song has to be as sincere as “If I Give Your Name.” But there’s nothing catchy or anthemic about this tune, and Gaga’s self-important, torchy delivery isn’t going to elevate it. If she wants to make a protest song that will catch on, she should make something huge, something this sonically fun (the contributions of one Clarence Clemons must be noted):
“Americano” is a clear example of the kind of song that artists feel good about themselves for making, and audiences feel good about themselves for listening to. If something that’s simultaneously anthemic and full-throatedly, articulately political isn’t really an option, I’d rather have a song that sounds as good as “Edge of Glory” sneak a generally progressive backdrop onto the dance floor than listen to people convince themselves they’re activists because they’re debuting a weak pop song.