Sunday, May 29, 2011

Does Lady GaGa know (or care) when "teh gay" is taken out of "Born This Way"?


by Ken

I don't know how closely everyone has been following the curious story of the use on both Glee and Good Morning America of edited versions of Lady GaGa's "Born This Way" which by curious coincidence omit the same section of the song. Here's Lisa Derrick's HuffPost report (there are video screen shots and additional links onsite):
Lady GaGa "Born This Way" LGBT Lyrics Omitted on GMA, Glee

Lisa Derrick
Posted: 05/29/11 04:58 PM ET

In both Lady Gaga's live appearance on ABC's Good Morning America and in the version sung on Glee the following lyrics to "Born This Way" are omitted:

No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track baby
I was born to survive

You can watch the versions with the omitted lyrics here.

One could argue time restraints on GMA caused the singer to shorten the tune. But Glee? Really?! Glee certainly has plenty of gay, lesbian and bi-sexual story lines, and infamously used the pejorative term "tranny" in the Rocky Horror Picture Show episode, so it's not like the program is unfamiliar with transgenders. Or unwilling to acknowledge they exist, even though it's with a slur.

Both Malaysian and the Philippine radio station snipped the LGBT lyrics from "Born This Way;" the Malaysian edit was government mandated. In the United States, a song released to radio could have several different versions, including a shorter radio edit ( the album cut of "Born This Way" clocks in at 4 minutes 20 seconds); a "clean" version which could omit the F and S bombs and/or explicit references to sex and/or drugs; and the regular album version. Radio stations can also edit tracks themselves to suit their playlists and listener profile.

So was Lady GaGa's shortened GMA performance of "Born This Way" simply to fit into the amount of time allotted? And what about the Glee cast's version?

And are there shortened versions, omitting LGBT references being played on your local radio stations? Do you think this edits dilutes the song message, or is it better ot cut the references in order to reach a larger audience who may then buy the original and potentially get illuminated?

Meanwhile a colleague calls attention to an On Top magazine report on an interview in which the lady herself told actor-writer-director and interviewer Stephen Fry that "sexuality is just one very small part" of the Born This Way album:
Lady Gaga Tells Stephen Fry That 'Born This Way' Not Only About Being Gay


Pop singer Lady Gaga says sexuality is just a small part of what her new studio album Born This Way is about.

In a wide-ranging interview with Stephen Fry for Britain's Financial Times, the 25-year-old Lady Gaga tells the UK's most popular openly gay entertainer that her album is about rebirth.

“[T]his new album [Born this Way] is about being able to be reborn, over and over again throughout your life,” Lady Gaga said.

“Oh?” Fry replied. “I thought the meaning of the title track was that 'I was born this way – gay, straight, bi, lesbian, transgender, whatever,' and that you were affirming that . . .”

“No, in fact, sexuality is just one very small part of it … it's so interesting to see how people latch on to words,” Lady Gaga responded. “You say the word 'gay' in a song and suddenly all the other words float away.”

“I'm happy people did focus on that word, though, it's an important word to liberate,” she added. “But the album is about rebirth in every sense. It's about being reborn again and again until you find the identity inside yourself that defines you best for who you are and that makes you most feel like a champion of life.”

Howie may be able to add some perspective on this process of circulating multiple, mutilated versions of songs. I know he's talked about how record companies actually issue commercial albums with censored versions of songs to accommodate squeamish "partners" (clout-heavy vendors like WalMart, for example -- and then of course there are the government-mandated edits cited by Lisa Derrick in her report), so I'm assuming that such practices are fairly standard, but that still leaves the question of who exactly has to sign off on this. Does the artist have any say? I'm assuming that this depends on the clout of the particular artist, in which case you'd think Lady GaGa, even if she doesn't have final say, is listened to.

Very curious.

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At 6:34 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Ken, surely you recall Ed Sullivan forcing the Rolling Stones to change their lyrics from "Let's spend the night together" to "Let's spend some time together" on his TV show! They were my favorite band until that moment... and then I lost all respect for them.

I certainly admire Green Day for telling WalMart to go stick it where the sun don't shine when the #1 retailer in America asked for a censored version of their album. Some people have character; some don't.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Gary Norris said...

Like the post. Not sure Gaga is too concerned. The performance and lyrics and not too long ago activism has always appeared more spectacle and branding that anything critical, engaging and useful.

You'd have to be a tea bagging idiot to find the performances at all transgressive.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous me said...

The Doors were on Sullivan too, and Jim Morrison leered right at the camera while singing the forbidden word, "Higher".

Yet Jagger is still around. Maybe that says something about the world.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger RickG said...

Another thing I noticed about GMA show try to find coverage of JUDAS that seams to be missing also.


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