Lady Gaga dabbled in Latin-sounding music on Fame Monster with “Alejandro,” but for Born This Way , Gaga took that sound to a whole new level on “Americano,” a charging, no-holds-barred statement about love of all kinds, played up against the chugging backdrop of Spanish guitar, horns and a disco-ready beat.
“The song was directly inspired by events that happened that day. It was in August, in the middle of summer, last year, and it was when Prop 8 was overturned in California,” producer Fernando Garibay told MTV News of the controversial ruling that banned gay marriage in the state. “And there was a lot happening with immigration and the border issues and she pushed, she said she wanted to make this song really Mexican, with the struggle the Mexican people have gone through for freedom, for a better life, and so those ideas are directly implemented in the song.”
Gaga, a Proposition 8 opponent, tweeted shortly after the ruling that she was inspired to write music. “At the moments notice of PROP 8 DEATH I instantly began to write music,” she wrote in August. “REJOICE and CELEBRATE gay communities and straight all over the world. Our voices are being heard! Loud! SCREAM LOUD AMERICANOS!” The “Americano” lyrics directly address that momentous occasion. On the song, Gaga sings, “If you love me, we can marry on the West Coast/ On a Wednesday, en el verano, en agosto.”
Garibay explained that while she might shed light on gay rights lyrically, she’s hoping to bring attention to immigration laws in the United States sonically.
“I remember her saying, ‘Yes, I want mariachi, I want Latin percussions. I want to go big.’ I’m so used to people in the industry saying, ‘Latin: It’s a little bit cheesy,’ ” he said. “But she was like, ‘F that! Let’s go full Mexicano.’ We started with me on guitar and her on piano, kind of wrote the lyric on the spot, and she sang it all the way through, and that’s how the song was born.”
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Don’t miss MTV News’ hour-long exclusive interview, “Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside,” airing Thursday, May 26, at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.