Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" Review

12/01/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sarah Vaynerman

For those who have dismissed the pop superstar as a repackaged Britney, Lady Gaga proves that her talent, depth and range is real with eight new tracks in "The Fame Monster," her second studio album that delivers in quality what it lacks in quantity. A follow-up to "The Fame," her first album that included four number one singles ("Just Dance," "Poker Face," "Paparazzi" and "Love Games"), "Monster" is about more than fame, money, sex and club-bangers. The versatility of the EP demonstrates Lady GaGa's evolution as an artist, not to mention her desire and commitment to reach out to and create music for her fans, who she fondly refers to as her "little monsters."

Unlike "The Fame"'s sensational, larger-than-life portrayal of the pop star, "Monster" makes Lady GaGa the relatable young woman that she insists she is. We've seen her come out of her once impermeable shell in the media recently with more frequent and honest interviews (see videos below), and GaGa's new album successfully connects with the fans to whom it is dedicated. She had a hand in the creation of every aspect of this album, which point to her as an artist who possesses vision, drive and control. GaGa writes music, lyrics and produces alongside acclaimed talents such as RedOne and Ron Fair, and is the creative director for virtually all of her albums art and videos.

The lead track on "The Fame Monster" is hit single "Bad Romance," a perfect sonic transition from "The Fame." Cross your fingers for one of GaGa's famous piano-accompanied rearrangements to this single in the near future. Though we've heard her do unhealthy-relationship-themed dance hits in the past, most famously in "Poker Face" and "Love Games," "Bad Romance" features stronger vocals and her lyrics exude a vulnerability that was not exposed in her debut album. The song is a musical portrait of an experience that many 20-something women share in common--a toxic but addicting relationship. Unlike the omnipotent and intimidating character that is GaGa on "The Fame," the artist positions herself at the receiving end of a struggle with fulfillment in "Bad Romance."

We see an even more human side to GaGa in "Speechless," the album's sole ballad said to be written for her father during his battle with a heart condition. The song radiates with the complexities of love, fear of death and struggles with alcohol through its captivating vocal harmonies and homage to classic rock (think David Bowie). It's a tender and honest track in which her soulful, bluesy voice puts to rest any speculation that she is another product of autotune. Lady GaGa further asserts herself as a multifaceted artist in "Speechless" by playing her own piano alongside a live band in the power ballad.

"Telephone," GaGa's collaboration with Beyonce (whom she outshines) is a take-it-or-leave-it track. Though the dance beat is bound to receive commercial success, GaGa, a usually complex artist, dumbs herself down by singing about a guy who calls too often. "Telephone" lacks the daring, tantalizing metaphors that make GaGa so intriguing and differentiate her from all the other female pop stars of the last decade. The track is liable to take on new meaning, however, if heard in the right setting and in the right circumstance--say, in a club, when you and your girlfriends, now a few shots deep and trying to enjoy a carefree night, are besieged by a Stage-5 Clinger. In the meantime, rely on "Monster" and "Dance in The Dark" to accompany "Bad Romance" as the tracks that can provide that freeing, invincible feeling that Lady GaGa has evoked in all of us at 2 a.m. on a dance floor.

Rounding out the album are "Alejandro," a dramatic track that would fit right in to an Ace of Base album; "So Happy I Could Die," a not-so-subtle ode to self-gratification; and "Teeth," a sexy, risque march about carnal attraction and lust.

Lady GaGa's sophomore album delivers as a masterful standalone EP and establishes that she is in it for the long haul. " The Fame Monster" is a mature record that is deliberately more subtle than her first--it is a teasing 35 minutes that will whet your appetite and leave you wanting more.

View video of GaGa in her "Vibe" interview here:

And view video of GaGa in her 106th and Park interview here:

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  1. Jay said...

    This is the best article every! You rock! :)

  2. leslie said...

    that was great, so articulate!!
    go girl :)

  3. Admin said...

    Lady GaGa is a unique, terrific talent. People get caught up in her clothing, which is at once an extension of her art, her onstage persona, and yes, also a method to build a buzz around her and her work. I'd say she was a savvy business woman, and one hell of an artist.


  4. Anonymous said...

    Consider this a Facebook thumbs up!

  5. Royce said...

    I believe most people are confusing her "unique" and "original" style/behavior for what it really is, objectively bizarre. Now having said that, I do not mean to take anything away from the woman as an artist. She obviously knows how to create, organize, and push not just a hit single but entire albums, and has handled her success in an admirable way. I take my hat off to her as an entertainer and musician.

    For me, she engages in all these unnecessary overtop actions for shock appeal, when she could be successful minus these characteristics. Simply put, these styles are a facade she has engineered(and most now live up to) and is not her real "self".

    But hey, it's working, so what do I know? Couple this with the fact that the majority of humans who happen to be famous are not only different from their personas, but a have quirks just like anyone else, and I may just be the one who is "strange". Get it? Good.

    In any event, the article is well-written and insightful. Kudos to the writer for a job well done.

  6. Natasha said...

    I think GaGa has created a successful public image and persona for herself that speaks so strongly to the audience. Her crazy talent and unique disposition has really allowed her to take an unparalleled stand within pop music and I really admire her for feeding into her 'weird' side.

    Moreover, she is one of the few in the music industry who has a rare purpose in composing her art. Not only does she showcase her talent but she also does it to prove a point -- her strange atmosphere can invoke those who feel alone, and have them connect.

    And her Bad Romance video, it's incredible! It even won my brother's acclaim who rarely ever cares about music videos unless the artist is hot, which she is, but he commented on the intricate wardrobe, storyline and backdrop. He even went on to say that it should win 'Video of the Year'!

    I think you either understand her and love her or you just don't get it and hate her. I am definitely the former.

  7. Yesica said...

    Lady gaga really takes on what this generation needs right now...unique and original. There hardly any artist out there that are putting hard stuff like gaga because of the overshadow that the music industry has because of bad rap songs and autotune. Lady Gaga surely is Pop queen of this generation. all the other generations had some of the greatest Elvis, the beatles, Michael Jackson..etc. and we have Gaga

    she's very hard working. Her style is very bizarre at time, but thats so great about her. She really grabs your attention whether its from her style or music..she dares to stand out.