Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster

May 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Lady Gaga | Leave a comment
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  1. Bad Romance
  2. Alejandro
  3. Monster
  4. Speechless
  5. Dance In The Dark
  6. Telephone (feat. Beyoncé)
  7. So Happy I Could Die
  8. Teeth

The Fame Monster was originally planned to be a re-release of The Fame but Lady Gaga felt that a re-release would be unfair and she had enough material for a new album. I’m glad Lady Gaga spoke up against her record label because re-releases are just stupid. With this album, Lady Gaga goes beyond what she accomplished with her debut album and demonstrates that she’s not a one-trick pony. Each song on the album represents a certain fear that she has encountered. Her artistic vision is even more bizarre and unique as she explores the darker side of fame. While the The Fame introduced Gaga to the world, The Fame Monster cemented her as one of the biggest pop stars in the world.

The album begins with Bad Romance which is Gaga’s most acclaimed song to date. There probably isn’t a person out there who hasn’t heard this song. It doesn’t waste any time getting started because it opens up immediately with synths and Gaga’s powerful vocals. The intro is hauntingly beautiful and what follows is the most iconic part of the song which is the chanting, “ra ra-ah-ah-ah/roma roma-ma/gaga/oh la-la.” I didn’t think chanting could be so awesome but Gaga makes it unique and mesmerizing. It’s dark, eerie and I love how the arrangement comes to life during the repetition of the chant. The arrangement in the verses are filled with hard beats and gritty synths while Gaga celebrates non-traditional ideas of love, “I want your ugly/I want your disease/I want your everything/as long as it’s free.” The repetition of “love” throughout the verses is ingenious because it’s so catchy and Gaga sounds hot in the pre-chorus. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the chorus but it gets better the more I listen to it and now I’m madly in love with it. The synths are perfect, Gaga’s vocals are filled with desire and it’s insanely addicting, “I want your love/and I want your revenge/you and me could write a bad romance.” Things get even more amazing when it hits the bridge. The first section is walkway inspired and in the second section she pours all of her passion into her vocals, “I want your love/I don’t wanna be friends.” This is a killer song and only Lady Gaga could get away with a release like this. Alejandro is a 90s inspired gem that has an Ace of Base-like sound. I remember being completely enthralled with it when I heard the demo and the album version is even better. The Italian violin intro is gorgeous and Gaga speaks with an accent which I like very much. The main melody starts building up and then it crescendos with Gaga’s backing vocals. It has a delicious European dance flavour and she sounds so smooth, “she’s got both hands/in her pocket/and she won’t look at you (won’t look at you).” The pre-chorus is reminiscent of the previous song’s pre-chorus and it’s just as sexy. Lady Gaga always crafts a terrific hook and this is no exception. It’s an earworm that will get lodged in your head for hours because of Gaga’s delicious vocals, “don’t call my name/don’t call my name/Alejandro.” If the chorus wasn’t catchy enough, she ends it by repeating “Alejandro” over and over again. Everything slows down during the bridge for her tender vocals and it sounds so incredible. It’s not a surprise that this was a massive hit.

I’ve never seen one like that before” Gaga announces at the start of Monster, a ravishing electropop track. The verses, surprisingly, have a light feel to them but the lyrical content is quite dark with its animalistic imagery, “he’s a wolf in disguise/but I can’t stop staring in those evil eyes.” The synths are constantly thumping along with the percussion and the chorus enhances all of this even more. It might be a bit simple, “that boy is a monster/m-m-m-monster,” but it’s infectious and the backing vocals sound like they’re straight out of Poker Face. Her robotic vocals when she sings “he ate my heart” are void of any emotion and they bring a gloomy feel to the track. Gaga makes reference to Just Dance during the bridge which starts off with a light feel that quickly becomes a depressing confession from Gaga, “he tore my clothes right off/he ate my heart and then he ate my brain.” Speechless is the album’s lone ballad and what makes it so much better than the ballads off her debut is it’s rock influence. This is a powerful and personal song for Gaga because it’s about her father. Her vocalization at the beginning with the electric guitar is stunning and the 70s rock sound makes it memorable. Gaga is accompanied by a dark and dramatic piano in the verses but what steals the show are her intense vocals, “I can’t believe what you said to me/last night when we were alone.” The soaring chorus is, without a doubt, one of Gaga’s best vocal performances. It’s emotionally driven and even though it’s not electronic like the other tracks the dark theme is still present. The gorgeous ad-libbing returns for the bridge, sounding even better and her voice, when the music slows down, is jaw-dropping. This is a wonderful inclusion to the album and one of my favourite ballads.

Dance In The Dark is a fan favourite and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what was so special about it. I’ve actually only started to love it recently. It rivals the first track in terms of a dark sound and it has a very chilling intro, “silicon, saline, poison inject me/baby, I’m a free bitch.” It has a dark disco groove and it incorporates the third person narrative, “she looks good/but her boyfriend says she’s a mess.” The verses use a lot of vocal echoes and repetition which is beyond catchy and the stuttering that leads into the chorus is quite interesting. The chorus is crack and it will have you moving to its beat within seconds. Despite having a danceable arrangement, the song is absolutely horrific, most noticeably in the bridge where she lists the names of female celebrities who have met tragic ends at the hands of fame, “Marilyn/Judy/Sylvia/tellem’ how you feel girls! Telephone (feat. Beyoncé) is the album’s biggest club banger and it’s my favourite track. It’s bigger and more badass than any track on her debut. Originally, it was meant for Britney Spears but the label rejected it and I’m so happy that they did. This track is 100% Gaga and Britney would not have done it justice. Unexpectedly, it starts with a gorgeous harp melody with Gaga singing as if she’s on the telephone, “wha-wha-what did you say, huh?/you’re breakin’ up on me.” Shortly after, the song blasts into the most infectious melody on the album and it’s filled with adrenaline pumping synths. The hook is ridiculously catchy and Gaga delivers with desperate vocals, “stop callin’/stop callin’/I don’t wanna talk anymore/I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor.” The post-chorus is just as infectious and Gaga’s rapid fire singing is very playful. Beyoncé is a fantastic addition and her strong soulful vocals sit perfectly next to Gaga’s. The last minute or so of the song is one of the best moments in pop music. Gaga and Beyoncé sound superb together, the distorted male backing vocals are great and the post-chorus sounds incredible with the added layer of vocals.

So Happy I Could Die may be the slowest song but it’s by no means any less interesting. While it lacks dance synths it makes up for it with a load of catchy moments. The synth melody is deliciously smooth with traces of darkness and the chanting, as usual, is addicting “eh-eh/eh-eh/ye-ha/ye-ha.” Gaga’s vocals are like silk, they’re so relaxing. The verses are abundant with masturbation references, “I love that lavender blonde/the way she moves/the way she walks/I touch myself can’t get enough” which make the song a lot more interesting. The chorus’ atmosphere is very light which is nice and the slight use of vocoder adds a kick to it. The song is quite repetitive but the fact that it’s so different from anything else on the album helps it stand out. It’s a song that you can sit back and enjoy. Teeth is the token dirty song and it’s the weirdest song on the album. It opens with a spoken intro that leads into marching percussion. One thing that I love about this track is the large amount of backing vocals and Gaga sounds so sinister, tempting and creepy, “take a bit of me boy/show me your teeth/the truth is sexy.” The chorus is a mix of stomping beats and brass instruments with Gaga repeating “show me your teeth.” I didn’t think it could get any darker but then she starts singing “my religion is you” which has her sounding quite twisted. This is another fantastic song and Gaga kills it at the end with her belting. All in all, it’s a great way to close an amazing album.

Conclusion: The Fame Monster is a masterpiece and it’s one of the best releases from 2009. These eight tracks are superior to most of the tracks on The Fame and they’re brilliant pieces of pop music. It’s incredible how much Gaga improved over her debut in such a short amount of time. While some artists take a while to find their sound and image, she has accomplished this right from the start of her career and this album expands on it. Gaga and dark music go hand in hand together and it’s a perfect marriage.

Recommended Tracks: Telephone (feat. Beyoncé), Bad Romance, Monster, Alejandro, Teeth and Speechless

Rating


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