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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pop diva Lady Gaga's new single, "Born This Way," debuted on Friday -- a nod to acceptance of race and sexuality and a straightforward dance floor song that was quickly compared to Madonna.
The song is the lead track off a new album of the same title, to be released in May, and follows her best-selling albums "The Fame" and its extended version "The Fame Monster."
Lady Gaga is expected to perform the song live at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.
The New York-born 24-year-old has said she wrote "Born This Way" in just ten minutes and it was a gay pride anthem. But several critics and fans noted it sounded very similar to Madonna's 1989 hit, "Express Yourself."
"Basically it is a reworking of Madonna's 'Express Yourself' with a touch of Madonna's 'Vogue'. Which is a bit too much Madonna for someone who is trying to establish her own identity as the, er, new Madonna," wrote London's Daily Telegraph critic Neil McCormick.
Fans thought so too, and "Madonna" and "Express Yourself" quickly became two of the top trending topics on Twitter.
"Definitely feeling the Madonna vibes, which I mean as a huge compliment. This track is fierce," Tweeted NerdAndAHalf on Friday.
Other music writers said the similarity between the songs was nothing more than the usual influences derived from all music genres over the decades. Rolling Stone magazine rated the house and disco-orientated single four stars out of five.
"Despite the obvious tip of the cap to Madonna's 'Express Yourself' (which was just Madge's knock-off of the Staple Singers' 'Respect Yourself'), it's steeped in decades of gay disco tradition," said Rolling Stone.
" 'Born This Way' sums up all the complex Gaga myths, all her politics and Catholic angst and smeared lipstick, in one brilliant pop blast," Rolling Stone added.
The pop singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, has frequently been compared to Madonna for her shock tactics in music videos and stage performances, as well as catchy pop songs like "Bad Romance" and "Poker Face."
With the repeated hook "Don't be a drag, just be a queen," and lyrics such as "You're black, white, beige, chola descent / You're Lebanese, you're Orient", "Born This Way"'s message of embracing all cultures and being yourself is a familiar one in pop music history.
"The greatest trick Lady Gaga has pulled -- the thing that makes her a genuinely impressive pop star -- is creating an atmosphere where people can legitimately feel like revolutionary all-embracing gender-queering 'little monsters' by listening to one of the most popular artists in the country," said New York Magazine. "That's rare and makes for vital pop."
Gaga, who appears on the March cover of Vogue with a pink bob hair-style, told the magazine she wanted the new album to be "nothing less than the greatest album of the decade."
She told U.S. TV news program "60 Minutes" in an interview to be aired on Sunday: "One of my greatest artworks is the art of fame. I am a master of the art of fame."
Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant