By Christian Blauvelt
May 18, 2011 at 09:01 PM EDT
Andy Sheppard/Redferns/Getty Images
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It’s almost anti-climactic, really.

After months of intense pre-release buildup and more hype than Donald Trump threatening a presidential bid, Lady Gaga’s hotly anticipated album Born This Way has leaked.

It was set to drop Monday, but when the singer previewed the entire album for UK subscribers of the British newspaper Metro, even she must have known that it was going to go viral faster than Ebola. Get our first impression after the break:

We’ve listened to the album (full review coming soon) and our first impression? It’s an inconsistent blend of icy techno-pop and greeting-card empowerment that’s more a triumph of production than songwriting.

Giorgio Moroder should be credited as “Producer in Spirit,” especially on synthy, electro-glockenspiel-laden tracks like “Marry the Night,” even if it seems to be more the Moroder of “Flashdance…What a Feeling!” than “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire).”

Whether Born This Way‘s moments of genuine ambition (“Government Hooker,” “You and I,” “Judas”) will resonate with the Gaga faithful as strongly as ’80s throwbacks like “Hair” or “The Edge of Glory,” which just scored her her second-highest Billboard Hot 100 debut ever, remains to be seen—and with a career now pitched somewhere between true innovation and shameless pandering, could decisively determine her future direction.

But the real question for Little Monsters now becomes, do you listen to the album now, or wait until its officially sanctioned Monday release?

With seemingly half the album already receiving airplay, maybe it’s a moot point, but do you intend to honor Gaga’s (and her label’s) original release schedule, or legality be damned, give it a premature listen anyway?

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

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