Gaga for Lady Gaga’s anniversary album

Lady Gaga celebrates the tenth anniversary of her “Born This Way” album and the end of pride month by releasing six covers of her songs recorded by LGBTQ artists and icons.


Graphic made by Kate Doolittle

Jenna Post, Arts Editor

In 2011, Lady Gaga cemented herself as an LGBTQ icon with the release of her hit album “Born This Way.” A decade later, the bisexual performer is embracing the spirit of the original album by having LGBTQ artists and notable advocates reimagine six of its songs.

“Born This Way” was a call to proudly be one’s most authentic self, and the inclusion of multiple genres on the anniversary album is a clever artistic interpretation of that message. The covers range from dance-pop, to piano-rock, to country.

Of the covers, Ben Platt of Dear Evan Hansen fame is the only artist with a music video accompanying his track— a heartfelt piano rendition of Gaga’s, “You and I.”

It comes as no surprise that the Broadway singer is able to match Gaga’s impressive vocal range and her ability to convey powerful feelings through song. The cover is deeply moving and captures Gaga’s essence while still managing to stand on its own if the listener (somehow) hasn’t heard the original version.

While Platt is captures the emotional side of Gaga, best-selling Australian artist Kylie Minogue emulates the spirited and high-energy pop side of Gaga with her rendition of “Marry the Night.”

Like Gaga, Minogue holds icon status in the LGBTQ community for her danceable beats and willingness to celebrate her queer fans, so “Marry the Night” was a great match for her. What Minogue lacked in vocal range she made up for in style and enthusiasm, proving that the right attitude can make or break a cover.

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Country artists The Highwomen and Orville Peck took the opposite approach of Platt and Minogue by respectively covering “Highway Unicorn ” and the titular “Born This Way” in a genre the tracks aren’t particularly well-suited to.

While this could have worked well, both artists simply lacked the conviction and camp that made the songs work for Gaga. However, the importance of notable country performers being on an album that celebrates queerness shouldn’t be overlooked, even if their covers didn’t quite land.

Country as a genre generally reinforces the heteronormative status quo. Male country singers’ lyrics are often hypermasculine and female country singers’ lyrics almost always involve their relation to men. The Highwomen and Peck turned that notion on its head by putting a country twist on songs that are beloved in queer culture.

LGBTQ advocate Olly Alexander’s cover of “The Edge of Glory” falls somewhere between the country artists’ misses and Platt and Minogue’s hits.

While Alexander is well-suited to the song stylistically, he’s unable to capture Gaga’s passion. In fairness, “The Edge of Glory” is by far the most passionately sung track on the original album, and matching Gaga’s raw energy is a truly difficult— and potentially impossible— feat. Despite not living up to Gaga’s rendition, the cover is still an enjoyable play on the original.

The most unique take on the anniversary album came from Big Freedia, who put a jazzy spin on “Judas.” While this may seem like an odd choice, it works perfectly. Big Freedia seems to understand the layers to Gaga’s lyrics as well as Gaga herself, which made the interpretation endlessly fun to listen to.

The album was the cherry on top of Gaga’s decade of advocating for self-love and LGBTQ acceptance.