Lady Gaga is at once the biggest pop star in the world and not really a pop star at all -- at least not in the conventional sense. In myriad ways, she's unlike Britney Spears, who despite a recent string of hits and a well-received album seems about as removed from her own career as she can be while still being physically in the room with a mic strapped to her head. And she's a totally different animal than real-life friends Katy Perry and Rihanna, hit-makers who share an affinity for letting big-name producers and songwriters do their artistic heavy-lifting.

Like her above-mentioned pop diva counterparts, Gaga works with top-notch producers to swaddle her songs in dance floor-ready beats, but her skills as a lyricist set her apart from the flock. She has co-written all of her songs to date, and on her forthcoming album 'Born This Way,' she is upping her artistic game, producing alongside collaborators both old -- RedOne ('Bad Romance') and Fernando Garibay ('Dance in the Dark') -- and new, including DJ White Shadow and Robert "Mutt" Lange (AC/DC and Def Leppard), while penning a majority of the album's songs solely and co-writing the rest.

"People are expecting a lot," Billboard editor M. Tye Comer says of 'Born This Way.' "It's funny to think that she's only really had one full album, one-and-a-half albums really, so the body of work that she has amassed compared to the amount of attention and acclaim that she's received is really striking." With her second LP dropping in just a few weeks and anticipation at a fever pitch as the release of the second single draws closer, it's hard not to wonder what's at stake for Gaga with 'Born This Way.' Will this be the album that defines her career?