Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
Release Date: November 23, 2009
Record Label: Interscope
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is the most polarizing musician in the mainstream right now. Better known as Lady Gaga, you either love her or hate her. The bizarre outfits, the glamorous videos, and the hypersexual live performances keep her name in the news, but it’s her infectious pop melodies that give her the relevance to not just be a flash in the pan.
The glam-pop star made her splash into the mainstream with her 2008 debut, The Fame, which went on to sell over 1.5 million copies in the United States. The Fame Monster was originally set to be released alongside a re-release of The Fame, but Lady Gaga eventually decide to release it on its own, stating that the 8 track album represents a separate concept from The Fame, specifically the dark side of fame Gaga dealt with while traveling the world. The end result, which features flawless production, left me with mixed feelings. There are some definite smashes here, but some of the songs left me wanting more of that Gaga punch.
The Fame Monster is much more provocative than its predecessor, and the first (and best) track, “Bad Romance,” is a prime example. It’s full of soul, synth, a stomp-along beat, and peculiar lyrics (I want your ugly/I want your disease). In fact, the majority of the lyrics straddle the line between wacky and absurd. “He ate my heart/he ate-ate-ate my heart out” kicks off the eerie and vocoder-heavy “Monster,” while “take a bite out of my bad-girl meat/show me your teeth” is mentioned on the off-kilter and quirky closer “Teeth.” While the lyrics may cause you to raise an eyebrow, these three tracks really stand out.
Throughout The Fame Monster, it is fairly easy to pick up on Gaga’s influences. The Latino-tinged “Alejandro” channels Shakira on the chorus and moves like an Ace of Base song. Her piano-ballad, “Speechless,” comes across as a tribute to Freddie Mercury, while “So Happy I Could Die” and “Dance in the Dark” both have the pizzazz of Madonna. Some work (“So Happy I Could Die” and the hypnotic “Dance in the Dark”), while some fall flat (the boring and out-of-place “Speechless,” and the b-side wannabe “Telephone”).
The Fame Monster definitely lives up to its title: it’s mysterious, it’s in-your-face, and it’s sexual. It is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re a major Gaga fan or find yourself in a club 5 days out of the week, it’s best you pick this up. Curious by-standers would be best served to download tracks like “Bad Romance” and “Dance In The Dark.” If you don’t fall in either of these categories, you can continue to make fun of Lady Gaga/her fans/me. But regardless of opinion, Lady Gaga continues to make passionate pop music that is better than a lot of the bands in the “scene” today (not naming names, but it rhymes with “Stobra Carship” and “Korever The Fickest Sids”). The Fame Monster is far from a perfect album, but it is another vital step in Gaga’s quest to be the next pop icon.
Thanks. I like pop music, not ashamed. I am not a huge Gaga fan, but I find her persona very interesting. Gave her debut a chance, like a few songs, hate a few songs. Gave this a chance, like a few songs, hate a few songs. But there is no denying she will have an impact on pop culture for years to come.
Glad you reviewed this. Nice review.
Although I disagree about Speechless, Alejandro and Telephone falling flat.
Those are part of my favorites along with Bad Romance, Dance In the Dark, and Teeth.
The ones I'm not too into are Monster & So Happy I Could Die.
I can't even give her a chance. This "Lady Gaga" persona lacks sincerity to me. It seems like shocking people and wearing ridiculous outfits takes priority over songwriting. It feels like Marilyn Manson 2.0 (not musically of course). If she was Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, the brunette songstress at a keyboard I've seen in old videos I would maybe give her a shot, but "Lady Gaga" I can't. I guess I'm in the "hate her" group. I'm tired of music being dominated by absurd gimmicks.