Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)

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"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)"
Song by Lady Gaga from the album Born This Way
Released May 23, 2011
Recorded 2010; Studio Bus
Length 4:16
Label Streamline, Interscope, Kon Live
Writer Stefani Germanotta, Fernando Garibay, Brian Lee, Paul Blair[1]
Producer Lady Gaga, Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow[1]
Born This Way track listing
"Bad Kids"
(9)
"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)"
(10)
"Heavy Metal Lover"
(11)

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga from her second studio album, Born This Way (2011). The song is written and produced by Lady Gaga, DJ White Shadow, and Fernando Garibay.

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" is an up-tempo dance-pop song. The track makes use of powerful drum beats, keyboards, the electric guitars reminiscent of 1980s rock music, while its overall style has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. Music reviewers noted "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)"'s enormous sound and production and its unique title and theme.

Background and composition[edit]

NME reported that the song will have "a soaring melody, nods to Springsteen and an industrial techno production" which would "represent the blueprint for ‘Born This Way’".[2] Gaga also said: "The sax in "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)", "Hair" and "The Edge of Glory" is not just there for no reason. I grew up listening to much Springsteen and Billy Joel, so in a way, it represents my innocence."[2] Gaga revealed on Twitter that the song was about herself, traveling on the road with nothing but a dream.[3]

According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, it was written in the time signature of common time, with a tempo of 128 beats per minute.[4] It is composed in the key of C major with Gaga's vocal range spanning from E3 to C5. It follows a basic sequence of Am–Dm/A–F/A–G as its chord progression.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Lady Gaga performing the song on the Born This Way Ball.

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" received mixed to positive reviews from most critics. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine stated that "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" "might be what it would have sounded like if the Lizard King's heart had held out a few more years and he recorded a disco song".[5] Caryn Ganz of Spin states that the track "rubs clubby keyboards against the hopeful angst of "Thunder Road," capturing the effect of spinning a radio dial in the '80s, when frizzy pop and over-the-top rock mingled outrageously on the airwaves.[6] Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone called the song's line "Get your hot rods ready to rumble/‘Cause we're gonna fall in love tonight/Get your hot rods ready to rumble/'Cause we're gonna drink until we die." "Sublime schlock, with the biggest, thuddingest drum sound you've heard this century".[7] Rolling Stone later declared "Highway Unicorn" as the tenth best song out of Gaga's discography.[8] Kitty Empire of The Observer referred to the song by saying "Amid all the maximalism and the references to "an American riding a dream".[9]

Evan Sawdey from PopMatters gave the song a negative review, saying "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) is "a very confused lowlight on this album, showcasing the most unfocused set of lyrics we’ve yet heard from Mother Monster, its kitsch value completely drowned out by her own disinterested verses".[10] Kerri Mason from Billboard called the song "as bizarrely epic as the title".[11]

Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph described the song as "It all goes a bit drive time, with thunderous drums rolling to excess." [12] NME '​s Dan Martin gave a negative review of the song, stating it "sounds like a mess".[13] Robert Copsey of the website Digital Spy felt that the song's title is reminiscent of an arena-rock classic although noted that the song just falls short of expectations, and compared the "'80s rawk guitars" akin to Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin.[14]

Chart performance[edit]

"Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" debuted and peaked at 27 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Digital Songs on the week ending in June 11, 2011 where it stayed for one week.[15]

Live performances[edit]

Gaga performed a shortened version of "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" as the opening song on her third worldwide concert, The Born This Way Ball Tour. She entered the stage on a unicorn and walked around the Monster Pit whilst her dancers held flags with G.O.A.T. written on them.[16]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download

  • "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" – 4:16

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Born This Way album liner notes.[17]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Digital Songs[15] 27
South Korea Gaon International Chart[18] 126

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://repertoire.bmi.com/title.asp?blnWriter=True&blnPublisher=True&blnArtist=True&page=1&keyid=12871272&ShowNbr=0&ShowSeqNbr=0&querytype=WorkID
  2. ^ a b http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?blog=148&title=lady_gaga_born_this_way_exclusive_album_&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
  3. ^ "Twitter / ladygaga: @RadioRedo Highway Unicorn". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ a b Germanotta, Stefani; Laursen, Jeppe (2011). "Digital Sheet Music – Lady Gaga – Highway Unicorn". Musicnotes.com. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. 
  5. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (2011-05-18). "Lady Gaga: Born This Way". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  6. ^ Ganz, Caryn (2011). "Lady Gaga, 'Born This Way'". Spin. Spin Media LLC. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Rosen, Jody (2011-05-18). "Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': A Track-by-Track Breakdown". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  8. ^ "'Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love)'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  9. ^ Empire, Kitty (2011-05-22). "Lady Gaga: Born This Way – review | Music". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  10. ^ Sawdey, Evan (2011-05-27). "Lady Gaga: Born This Way < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-05-27. 
  11. ^ Mason, Kerri (2011-05-23). "Lady Gaga 'Born This Way': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  12. ^ McCormick, Neil (2011-05-23). "Lady Gaga's Born This Way: track-by-track review". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Ltd). Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  13. ^ Martin, Dan (2011-05-18). "Lady Gaga, 'Born This Way' – Track-By-Track Album Review". NME (IPC Media). Archived from the original on 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  14. ^ "Lady GaGa's 'Born This Way' album: First listen". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  15. ^ a b "Top 100 Music Hits, Top 100 Music Charts, Top 100 Songs & The Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  16. ^ 27th April 2012, 15:02 (2012-04-27). "Lady Gaga Delights Fans As She Begins 'Born This Way Ball' Tour In South Korea - Video". Capital FM. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  17. ^ Germanotta, Stefani (2011). Born This Way (CD liner notes). Lady Gaga. Manhattan, New York: Interscope Records. p. 13. 2771838. 
  18. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week, May 22, 2011 to May 25, 2011)" (To access the applicable chart, change "년 (Year)" to "2011" and select the week) (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 2012-05-17.