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Music Review: Lady GaGa – The Fame Monster

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On November 23, 2009, Lady GaGa will release The Fame Monster, a remarkable companion to her 2008 multi-platinum debut The Fame. Twelve days prior to the album’s official release, Interscope Records and ThinkTank Marketing held an exclusive listening session that allowed members of the press to preview the entire record.

If you’re concerned about whether GaGa deserted the path she forged on The Fame, then fear not. “Monster,” “Telephone” and “Teeth” thump harder than anything she’s released thus far. “Bad Romance” was just a satisfying appetizer! I must admit, however, that my favorite track is “Speechless,” which is the slowest of the whole bunch.

With the tremendous amount of success that GaGa has had on dance floors across the globe, it is easy to take her booming vocals for granted. If allowed, “Speechless” may turn out to be her equivalent to a musical landmark akin to “Beautiful” (Christina Aguilera) or “Frozen” (Madonna).

On a separate note, “Telephone,” which features the incomparable Beyonce Knowles, allows GaGa to hold her own against the industry’s self-proclaimed diva. And unexpectedly, Sasha Fierce is outshone on this track — proving, once and for all, that GaGa is the “future” of contemporary pop music, with Ms. Knowles standing-in as beautiful reminder of days gone by.

In the notes that follow, I have pulled my favorite set of lyrics from each track and written a short commentary regarding the universal struggles that all people inevitably face within relationships. As a devoted GaGa fan, I have a tremendous level of appreciation for the open-ended nature of her song lyrics, which can be interpreted by its listeners in varying ways.

Track Listing

01. “Bad Romance”
Written by Lady GaGa and RedOne
Produced by RedOne for RedOne Productions

“I want your drama / The touch of your hand”

Have you ever been in love so deep that even the bad times are sweet? (Perhaps you were caught in a “bad romance.”)

02. “Alejandro”
Written by Lady GaGa and RedOne
Produced by RedOne for RedOne Productions

“Just smoke my cigarette and hush”

Have you ever loved so hard that you were too drained to give it your all? (Perhaps love’s flame has burned the relationship into dry ashes.)

03. “Monster”
Written by Lady GaGa, RedOne and Space Cowboy
Produced by RedOne for RedOne Productions

“He’s a wolf in disguise / But I can’t stop staring in those evil eyes”

Have you ever loved someone bad simply because they were up to no good? (Surely monsters can’t be unpleasant all the time, right?)

04. “Speechless”
Written by Lady GaGa
Produced by Ron Fair

“Could I give it all up for you?”

Have you ever lost sight of your dreams, because you didn’t want to come across as “selfish” to your mate? (Perhaps it is not always wise to hold one’s tongue.)

05. “Dance in the Dark”
Written by Lady GaGa and Fernando Garibay
Produced by Fernando Garibay

“She looks good / But her boyfriend says she is a mess”

Have you every doubted yourself, because someone else didn’t know your worth? (Perhaps you should arrange for an appraisal.)

06. “Telephone” (featuring Beyonce)
Written by Lady GaGa, Rodney Jerkins, Beyonce, Lashawn Daniels, and Lazonate Franklin
Produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins for Darkchild.com

“You shoulda made some plans with me / You knew that I was free”

Have you ever held onto someone, simply because they were in reach? (Perhaps you should drop them like AT&T drops calls—unexpectedly.)

07. “So Happy I Could Die”
Written by Lady GaGa, RedOne and Space Cowboy
Produced by RedOne for RedOne Productions

“Through all the tears / And all the lies / I touch myself and it’s alright”

Have you ever loved someone to death? (Do you think they’ll love you in the after-life?)

08. “Teeth”
Written by Lady GaGa and Taja Riley
Produced by Teddy Riley

“The truth is sexy / Tell me something that’ll save me”

Have you ever asked for the truth – knowing full well that it’s just your excuse hide behind his/her lies? (Do you really want to be saved?)

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About Clayton Perry

  • Beyonce THE QUEEN

    Your article is completely taking away the point of the collaboration. I don’t think Gaga is trying to take her spot but simply letting Beyonce know HEY I’m right behind you. REMEMBER WHO HAS BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY AND HAS STAYED THERE.

  • Jay

    Look I love GaGa and her music a lot but you people have to stop acting like she’s revolutionary. She’s a follower in the footsteps of true legends like Madonna, David Bowie and even Grace Jones. GaGa’s sound hasn’t changed (it’s even beginning to get repetitive as Bad Romance sounds like Poker Face part II) and her music has no deeper meaning. Madonna tackled topics like domestic violence, abortion, sexuality, religion, spirituality and more which is what helped her to become so iconic. GaGa just makes dance pop…so does Britney Spears. Madonna is a once in a life time artist, GaGa like all the other dance divas has just built her career on the path Madonna already paved for her. Maybe down the road (in like another decade or so) you can put her up on a pedestal, but for now be realistic.

  • Derek

    Jay, I agree. But Madonna tackled those issues later on in her career. This is only Lady Gaga’s debut.

    Madonna started out making only dance music. Remember “Holiday”? Give Lady Gaga time to bloom. She just oozes creativity.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m not convinced that Gaga “just makes dance music,” Jay.

    The Fame is actually a concept album, with fame and glamour as the concept. The songs are actually quite creepy and stand as testimonies to the excess of the lifestyle Lady Gaga is observing.

    “Just Dance,” for instance, is based on the singer urging herself (or the listener) that “it’ll be okay” while she’s so drunk that she can’t “see straight anymore.”

    And the lyrics to the album’s title track include the following:

    I can’t help myself I’m addicted to a life of material/It’s some kind of joke, I’m obsessively opposed to the typical

    Then there’s the creepy stalkerish quality of “Paparazzi” and the blood-soaked performance of the song she did on the MTV awards.

    I’ve never bought the “she walks the road already paved for her” argument because it’s so damn regressive it’s impossible to trace. Madonna, as innovative as she was, had her path “paved” for her too. It’s not whether you’re walking on a freshly-paved road that counts, it’s how you walk it and what you do with it that counts.

    And in the case of Lady Gaga, I think she’s off to a great start on what should be a brilliant and highly entertaining career.

    And “repetitive?” Please. As Derek said, she only has one record.

  • TALIA

    I THINK THAT LADY GAGA IS TOTALLY COOL .I LOVE HER MUSIC AND EVERYTHING ABOUT HER .ESPESCIALLY PAPARATZI.LADY GAGA LOVES YOU

  • DAVASHLEN

    LADY GAGA IS THE BEST THATS RIGHT TALIA .DV ND TALZ BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

  • webgiu

    I agree Im 20 years old and madonna mm.. is good but LADY GAGA IS MY IDOL !!

  • http://mariecurie.biz Marie Curie

    Thanks alot
    I like GAGA

  • Anonymous

    If you’re looking for tackling issues, actually listen to the lyrics. They’re personal demons that people experience. Just because it doesn’t have a non profit organisation backing it, doesn’t make it less meaningful.

  • Ashley

    I HATE how people saying Lady Gaga is the next this and the next that. no. She is Lady Gaga, and when were old and gray people will be saying there the next HER! shes not following in an legends footsteps. shes becoming one.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Neo

    Really, for a long time I have not experience listening to same song again and again and not getting bored. Lady Gaga is exception..

    Her voice, theme of song, and video really have something that keeps you listen to her songs again and again….

  • Eoin

    Red-one’s input really needs to be acknowledged here, he’s a production genius…

  • Mi

    Lady Gaga is one of the best! Thanks for your great review.

  • Moagzee

    I agree with your love for the song Speechless. It is so beautiful, smart, and emotionally charged that only Gaga could pull something off so great. I wish she would perform more ballads, she has a great talent at pouring her heart out and making the listener relate. I love her creativity and voice!

  • bob

    Lady Gaga is something the music business has not seen in a long time. She stands out because she refuses to be molded to the business and instead she’s made the business mold to her. Saying she dosn’t tackle issues in her music is absurd. poker face is about her bisexuality, paparazzi is about the struggles of fame and the love/hate relationship that exists with paparazzi, and Just Dance is about being freed of life’s stressful conditions. The creativity and talent Gaga has are much greater than any other artists now/then.

  • Mike

    The LADY is the most exciting thing I heard since maybe guns and roses first album no $hit and I only recently took notice of her talent and started lessening to her tunes my absolute favorite is beautiful and filthy rich I just love this woman’s attitude its awesome

  • Ashley

    Jordan Richardson;
    I agree with you completely. 100%.
    If Jay honestly believes that her songs are simply dance music, this forces me to conclude he’s not very open minded. Each and every one of her songs all have depth and meaning in them, and can relate to ANY issue, all depending on whose listening and what they wish to relate each song to. That’s the beauty of music, of art. There is always more to it, but the auidence has to find it.

    Lady Gaga is on a path of pop success. She isn’t walking on Madonnas road, the road of pop has always been there, Madonna acheiveing much success due to the way she performed and sang, and Lady Gaga is doing the same. So far, she’s shown great bravery and boldness in being different and out there, and I applaude her efforts.

    Both of her albums are good, but The Fame Monster appealed to me more, each song having something I can relate to. I will continue to support Lady Gaga, and I’m excited to see where her genius takes us.

  • Antonio

    I think Gaga’s music along with her persona will alter and develop over time, shes still young…

  • Laura

    This album sucks, all the songs sound the same.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    I thought “Bad Romance” was the best track on the album.