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Americano (song)

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Song by Lady Gaga
from the album Born This Way
ReleasedMay 23, 2011
RecordedAugust 2010
StudioStudio Bus, (Europe)
The Mix Room, (Burbank, California)
  • Lady Gaga
  • Fernando Garibay
  • DJ White Shadow

"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[edit]

The California Proposition 8 was the inspiration behind the track

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.[2][3] "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.[4] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4]

Recording and composition[edit]

French chanson singer Édith Piaf was an influence in the song's composition

"Americano" was written and produced by Gaga with Garibay and DJ White Shadow.[6] The song was the first collaboration between Gaga, Garibay and White Shadow.[7] 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 D5 and the song follows a basic sequence of Fm–Bm6/C–C7 as its chord progression.[8] "Americano" is a mariachi, house, and techno track,[9][10][11] with elements of Latin music.[12] Featuring instrumentation from flamenco guitar and castanet,[13] the track has a "disco-ready" beat accompanied by horns[4] and a classical violin and rave bass.[9][13]

Lyrically it talks about the Prop 8 and the immigration laws, and sounds like a pop song comparable to the work of Judy Garland,[14] with Gaga claiming that she sees influence from French chanson singer Édith Piaf.[15] 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.[4] The campy nature of the track had allusions to the disco version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1964) by Santa Esmeralda.[9] 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.[7][11]

Critical and commercial reception[edit]

Gaga and her dancers during the performance of "Americano" on the Born This Way Ball tour, wearing artificial recreations of Gaga's "meat dress"

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.[9] 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.[13] 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".[16] Billboard's Keri Mason found the composition to be Gaga's way of trying to imitate "Alejandro"'s chart success.[14] Ian White from BBC Music found essences of musical theatre in the futuristic composition of "Americano".[17]

"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.[18] 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.[19]

Live performances and media usage[edit]

Gaga debuted the song in Guadalajara, Mexico on May 3, 2011, during The Monster Ball Tour, where she performed it in an acoustic version.[2] 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.[20] Gaga was surrounded by her dancers who were semi-nude onstage.[21] 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.[22] 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."[23]

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".[24] The sequence showed Hudson as a dance teacher, showing choreographed moves to the mash-up.[25] The mash-up was also released as a single to the iTunes Store.[26] In 2011, "Americano" was used in the trailer[27] as well as the ending scenes of the computer-animated fantasy action comedy film, Puss in Boots.[28]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Born This Way album liner notes.[6]


Chart (2011) Peak
South Korea International Tracks (GAON)[19] 98
US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs (Billboard)[18] 17


  1. ^ ACE. "ACE Repertory". Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Mapes, Jillian (May 4, 2011). "Lady Gaga Debuts 'Americano' Song in Mexico: Watch". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Sheffrin, Alexander J. (April 5, 2008). "Pro-Family Group Says Effort to Ban Calif. Gay 'Marriage' Looks 'Strong'". The Christian Post. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e Vena, Jocelyn (May 24, 2011). "Lady Gaga Wanted To Go 'Full Mexicano' On 'Americano'". MTV News. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  5. ^ Wass, Mike (October 5, 2015). "Behind The Boards: Fernando Garibay On His Collaborations With Kylie Minogue & Lady Gaga". Idolator. Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Born This Way (liner notes). Lady Gaga. Interscope Records. 2011. B0015374-72.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ a b Wilkinson, Matt (April 19, 2011). "Lady Gaga: 'If you want me to be a manufactured act you can fuck off'". NME. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  8. ^ Germanotta, Stefani (2011). "Lady Gaga 'Americano' Sheet Music". Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Martin, Dan (May 17, 2011). "Lady Gaga, 'Born This Way' - Track-By-Track Album Review". NME. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  10. ^ Corner, Lewis (May 4, 2011). "Lady GaGa performs new track 'Americano'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  11. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (May 19, 2011). "Lady Gaga's Born This Way: track-by-track review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  12. ^ Jonze, Tim (May 18, 2011). "Lady Gaga: Born This Way — Review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Rosen, Jody (May 18, 2011). "Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': A Track-by-Track Breakdown". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Mason, Keri (September 14, 2009). "Lady Gaga 'Born This Way': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 15, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  15. ^ Van Meter, Jonathan (February 10, 2011). "Lady Gaga: Our Lady of Pop". Vogue. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  16. ^ "'Americano'". Rolling Stone. May 25, 2011. Archived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  17. ^ White, Ian (May 21, 2011). "Lady Gaga Born This Way Review". BBC Music. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Lady Gaga – Chart history". Billboard. Dance/Electronic Digital Songs. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "South Korea 2011년 23주차 Download Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  20. ^ Harp, Justin (May 14, 2012). "Lady GaGa reveals new meat dress for 'Born This Way Ball' tour". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  21. ^ Mossman, Kate (August 31, 2012). "Lady Gaga – review". The Guardian. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Cuffe, Aidan (September 17, 2012). "Lady Gaga at The Aviva Stadium Born This Way Ball". The Golden Plec. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "Lady Gaga Dives into Meat Grinder, a la Hustler Mag Cover". October 2, 2012. Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Gratereaux, Alexander J. (September 10, 2012). "Kate Hudson Channels JLO, Lady Gaga in New 'Glee' Episode". FOX News. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  25. ^ Busis, Hillary (September 10, 2012). "Kate Hudson's first 'Glee' performance". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  26. ^ "Americano / Dance Again – Glee Cast version feat. Kate Hudson". iTunes Store. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  27. ^ Beard, Lanford (October 21, 2011). "Lady Gaga's 'Americano' scores latest 'Puss in Boots' trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  28. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (October 28, 2011). "'Puss In Boots' and Lady Gaga's 'Americano': The Story Behind The Track". MTV News. Retrieved March 5, 2016.

External links[edit]