Born This Way is the second studio album and third major release by American recording artist Lady Gaga. It was released on May 23, 2011 by Interscope Records as a follow up to her internationally successful, The Fame (2008) and the extended play The Fame Monster (2009). Born This Way is notably different from The Fame and The Fame Monster as it incorporates a broader range of elements of several musical genres such as opera, heavy metal, disco, and rock and roll, and fuses those elements with sounds of electropop and dance. The album also is heavily inspired by synthpop and electronic music from the 1980s and 90s. In the album, the central themes include those of religion, sexuality, and feminism. On the record, Gaga worked with several producers, including RedOne, the only hold over for her previous work. With Born This Way, Gaga took more control of her musical direction and the album composition.
Production first took place in early 2010, with recording sessions for the album took place at various recording studios around the world. The title was revealed in September at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards after Gaga's win of the Video of the Year Award for "Bad Romance". Just a week before the album's scheduled release, the contents were leaked online, but were shortly removed due to copyright violations.
Three singles and one promotional single were released for the album. "Born This Way", the lead single, topped the charts in over eighteen countries including the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It would become the fastest selling single in iTunes history, having sold over 1 million copies within its first five days. "Judas" was the second single for Born This Way. The song peaked on the top ten in nineteen countries. "The Edge of Glory", originally released as one of two proposed promotional singles, was shortly made as the third single of the album. The song debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in Brazil and South Korea. The promotional single for the album, "Hair", peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 and chart on the musical charts in sixteen different countries.
The album has been met with generally positive reception from contemporary critics, who complimented Gaga's vocals and the album's varying musical styles. However, the repetitive use of the word "Jesus", in addition to the employment of church bells and monk voices in many of the album's tracks including "Marry the Night," "Bloody Mary" and "Electric Chapel" have all resulted in negative reactions from some Christian societies, including those in Lebanon, where Born This Way was temporarily banned. Despite such strife, Born This Way topped the charts in twenty-three countries. It debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 1.11 million copies. Over 430,000 of these sales were at a special price of US$ 0.99, which Amazon.com offered for two days during the album's first week of release.