Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #5: "The Edge of Glory" -- Lady Gaga

Many found Lady Gaga's Born This Way to be overly preachy, overproduced and a significant departure from her early material -- too significant, in fact, that some jumped the ship of Gaga around the release of the album's eponymous first single.

On the other hand, if you were me, you loved the new direction Gaga took, and didn't mind the craze that hit around February one bit. As a cohesive album, Born This Way is one of the best records to come from the new electronic music craze, and it's nice to see an artist that believes that pop music can resonate and make a statement in an age where the concept is increasingly rare.

Some might argue that "Born This Way" ended up the biggest single from the record, given its huge impact on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release. However, while I am a big fan of that song (potential Madonna knockoff? Who cares, it's catchy as fuuuuck), I argue for "The Edge of Glory," which didn't hit No. 1 but maintained its allure for months into summer.

The electro rock production from Fernando Garibay cannot be understated. Gaga's contribution is, of course, highly important to its success, but the pounding techno of the song makes it one of the best pop songs the genre has recently produced.

Gaga's edge-of-the-world vocal is one of her best to date. The song is already huge, and on the chorus, she rises to the occasion and then some, with a magnificent vocal run that furthered its grandiosity.

The late Clarence Clemons makes an appearance, too -- on the song's bridge, with a larger-than-life saxophone solo. Speaking of which -- 2011: Year of the Sax, yes? Of course. This song, "Last Friday Night," "Mr. Saxobeat," "Something to Believe In," "Midnight City"... what on earth was everyone's infatuation with the instrument this year? Me, I'm still waiting on the accordion resurgence. "Stereo Love" got us started, let's get this shit going.

Even the title of the song suggests an epic soundscape, and that's exactly what Gaga pulls off with "The Edge of Glory." A few of her singles may not have performed up to the ridiculously high standards of many, but looking back on the 2010s, it will be hard to avoid talking about this song as one of its best.

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