What can you say about a woman like Lady Gaga? The New York-bred songstress has dominated the pop-music sphere with an assortment of monster hits from her 2008 album The Fame. By combining audience-approved pop beats with an overtly sexual presence a la Madonna, over-the-top stage costumes and a splash of Bowie-esque glam, Gaga has established herself as one of 2009’s biggest pop successes.
The Fame Monster
The pop tart has finished the year with five Grammy nominations and, now, The Fame Monster, a new EP featuring eight tracks for Gaga enthusiasts to eat up while waiting for the star’s next full-length triumph. On her latest release, Gaga highlights the stranger parts of her image, solidifying her well-established affinity for all things “weird” while also delving into the world of dramatic interpersonal relationships — a topic she previously explored in the music video for her well-received single “Paparazzi” from 2008’s The Fame. Along with these themes, the performer’s latest release focuses on her electro-dance roots, producing a string of tracks with serious club-banger potential.
The EP’s first single “Bad Romance” is already a chart-topper, complete with an outlandish music video and a glitzy hook. Embracing edgy soundscapes and an all-too-infectious chorus, the single is the EP’s finest track, reinforcing all the traits that made Gaga 2009’s biggest pop star. Through electro-heavy beats and catchy repetition of “rah rah rah,” the singer details her desire to embark on an ill-fated affair, professing in the song’s chorus that “you and me could write a bad romance.” Gaga has dealt with the theme of misguided passion in her previous album and the singer’s latest single asserts her ability to attract mass appeal while investigating the darker side of romantic entanglement.
While the EP’s remaining tracks are less rousing than its opening single, these songs are still more compelling than 95 percent of the pop trash currently being churned out for the radio. Another morbid yet infectious smash is the pop-dance jam “Monster,” which also touches on the more unsavory portions of romance — albeit rather bluntly. Over ’80s-esque soundwaves and distorted vocals, Gaga laments love gone wrong. Declaring that her latest conquest “ate her heart,” Gaga compares her boy toy to a monster who will sleep with her one minute and eat her brain the next. With the song’s edgy lyrics and bold vibrations, the track is on course to be the next “Poker Face.”
The beat-heavy “Telephone,” a track that Gaga originally wrote for Britney Spears’s 2008 album Circus, is Fame Monster’s second single. Although the song was originally written for the Queen of Teen Pop, Gaga has revamped the song for her EP. The track now includes her trademark electro-trance beats and a guest cameo by one of the pop world’s biggest hit-makers, Beyoncé. Despite these changes, the track still stands out as one of the EP’s more conventional cuts, ensuring it’ll be a smash once it hits the radio.
Although Lady Gaga attempts to experiment with some genres far removed from the dance-pop aesthetic that made her a star, these attempts simply show that her forte remains in the club-banger realm. One failed attempt is the guitar-powered ballad “Speechless,” a slow-paced downer about (take a guess) failed romance — again. While it’s nice to see the starlet push herself beyond glitter-tinged dance jams, this awkward rendition seems completely out of place in an EP littered with heavy electro-beats and dance hits.
With her latest EP, Lady Gaga is closing the most successful year of her career thus far. While The Fame Monster doesn’t recreate her debut note-for-note, it certainly dives into the same beat-throbbing realm heard on The Fame. And, despite the EP’s genre bending, the singer thrives most in pop, and her latest effort simply reinforces her newfound status as a Top-40 powerhouse. On the The Fame Monster, Gaga reassures her fans that she is still producing riveting rhythms while also setting them up for her next much-anticipated release.