|Song by Lady Gaga|
|from the album Born This Way|
|Released||May 23, 2011|
|Studio||Studio Bus, (Europe)|
The Mix Room, (Burbank, California)
"Americano" is a song recorded by American singer Lady Gaga, taken from her second studio album, Born This Way (2011). The song was written and produced by Gaga with DJ White Shadow and Fernando Garibay. "Americano" was influenced by the events surrounding the repeal of the controversial California Proposition 8—a ballot proposition that defined marriage as a union between opposite-sex couples, thereby prohibiting and invalidating same-sex marriage throughout the state—as well as the growing struggles of Mexican immigrants. It combines mariachi, house, and techno genres with elements from Latin music. Lyrically, the song talks about a lesbian themed romantic relationship.
Critical response to "Americano" was mixed, and the song charted at number 17 on the US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs and number 98 on the South Korean Gaon International Download Chart. Gaga debuted the song in Guadalajara, Mexico on May 3, 2011, during her Monster Ball Tour performance. She later sang it on her Born This Way Ball tour (2012–2013), wearing an artificial replica of her infamous meat dress. The song was covered by actress Kate Hudson in the Glee episode "The New Rachel", and was included in the 2011 film, Puss in Boots.
Writing and development
While performing in Mexico as part of The Monster Ball Tour (2009–2011), Gaga announced the track "Americano" from Born This Way, her second studio album. "Americano" was influenced by the events surrounding the repeal of the controversial California Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 California state elections. The proposition was created by opponents of same-sex marriage, thereby prohibiting and invalidating the marriages throughout the state. The proposition was also linked to the growing struggles of Mexican immigrants.
Gaga had previously experimented with Latin music on the track "Alejandro" from The Fame Monster (2009), but with "Americano" she took the musical composition to another direction. One of the producers of the track, Fernando Garibay, recalled that the inspiration came from the events that took place in August 2010, when Proposition 8 was overturned in California. Coupled with the immigration related troubles faced by Mexicans living in the United States, Gaga had the idea to put all the incidents as direct inspiration for the track. She had even messaged on her Twitter account about the ruling, noting that she wrote "Americano" around that time only. Garibay experimented with sounds on his guitar while Gaga played the piano, and they wrote the song.
Recording and composition
"Americano" was written and produced by Gaga with Garibay and DJ White Shadow. The song was the first collaboration between Gaga, Garibay and White Shadow. It is composed in the key of F minor with a free tempo of 72 beats per minute. Gaga's vocals range from the notes of E3 to D♭5 and the song follows a basic sequence of Fm–B♭m6/C–C7 as its chord progression. "Americano" is a mariachi, house, and techno track, with elements of Latin music. Featuring instrumentation from flamenco guitar and castanet, the track has a "disco-ready" beat accompanied by horns and a classical violin and rave bass.
Lyrically it talks about the Prop 8 and the immigration laws, and sounds like a pop song comparable to the work of Judy Garland, with Gaga claiming that she sees influence from French chanson singer Édith Piaf. The singer wanted to "go big" with the composition including genres like mariachi as well as Latin percussions. She wanted to rebuke the claim in the music industry that Latin music was "a bit cheesy" and so the song took on a full Mexican form. The campy nature of the track had allusions to the disco version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1964) by Santa Esmeralda. The lyrics also has allusions to a lesbian-themed marriage in Mexico, with the pro-immigrant message told through a love story set in California.
Critical and commercial reception
The track received mixed response from music critics. Dan Martin from NME gave a positive review, saying that the bilingual language song proved that the overstylization of the composition worked in its favor, making it one of Gaga's best outputs. Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone found "Americano" as hilarious, noting it as the "campiest song Gaga's recorded yet". She deciphered the location of the song's storyline as being in East Los Angeles. In their 2011 ranking of Gaga's music catalog, "Americano" was listed at number 18, with the description as "The greatest Anglo-Latina lesbian marriage story ever set to a disco-cabaret beat". Billboard's Keri Mason found the composition to be Gaga's way of trying to imitate "Alejandro"'s chart success. Ian White from BBC Music found essences of musical theatre in the futuristic composition of "Americano".
"Americano" debuted and peaked at 17 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Songs on the week ending in June 11, 2011. The song stayed on the chart for five weeks. On the South Korean Gaon International Downloads chart, "Americano" debuted at number 98—the week Born This Way was released there—with sales of 4,434 copies.
Live performances and media usage
Gaga debuted the song in Guadalajara, Mexico on May 3, 2011, during The Monster Ball Tour, where she performed it in an acoustic version. She later included "Americano" on the set list of her Born This Way Ball tour (2012–2013). During the performance the singer wore a modified version of her famous meat dress and sang the song while faux meat carcasses hung around her. Gaga was surrounded by her dancers who were semi-nude onstage. The sequence portrayed a wedding with an extended Spanish guitar intro and Gaga appearing on the meat counter as the bride in the meat dress. It ends with the singer shooting her husband onstage. After finishing the song, Gaga told the audience "In 1970, women would no longer be treated like meat. On the cover of Hustler magazine or at the Born This Way Ball, meat is precisely how we treat them."
American television series, Glee, covered the song in the episode "The New Rachel". Sung by Kate Hudson, it was used a mashup with Jennifer Lopez's song "Dance Again". The sequence showed Hudson as a dance teacher, showing choreographed moves to the mash-up. The mash-up was also released as a single to the iTunes Store. In 2011, "Americano" was used in the trailer as well as the ending scenes of the computer-animated fantasy action comedy film, Puss in Boots.
Credits and personnel
- Lady Gaga – vocals, songwriter, producer, background vocals
- Fernando Garibay – songwriter, producer, background vocals, programming, instrumentation and arrangement, guitar, keyboards
- DJ White Shadow – songwriter, producer, programming
- Cheche Alara – songwriter, instrumentation and arrangement
- Mario Hernandez – guitarrón & vihuela
- Stephanie Amaro – guitar
- Andy Abad – requinto
- Suemy Gonzalez & Julio Hernandez – violin
- Harry Kim – trumpet
- Jorge Alvarez – additional background vocals
- David Gomez – additional background vocals
- Carlos Murguia – additional background vocals
- Dave Russell – recording on Studio Bus; audio mixing at The Mix Room, Burbank, California
- Rafa Sardinia – additional recording at The Mix Room, Burbank, California; additional mixing
- Gene Grimaldi – audio mastering at Oasis Mastering, Burbank, California
- Paul Pavao – assistant
Credits adapted from Born This Way album liner notes.
|South Korea International Tracks (GAON)||98|
|US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs (Billboard)||17|
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- on YouTube