The Fame Monster and What It Means for Society

Recently, pop superstar Lady Gaga cancelled some shows due to exhaustion/ dehydration. Get well soon, Gaga!

If Gaga was exhausted, it is understandable. She does so many things! She was on Gossip Girl. She was on Oprah. She was kind of awkward on SNL. She released two albums with a small amount of time (not in enough time to have the two best albums of the year, but how many music people can do that? ).  It was difficult to assess Gaga’s The Fame Monster in time for end-of-the-year lists, because these things take time.  Now, that sufficient time has passed, I realized it doesn’t matter. Gaga transcends years. Gaga is the beginning and the end. The Fame Monster is the alpha and the ogaga.

Gaga’s first album, The Fame, presented someone with an acute pop sensibility. However, on its own, the album is fractured.  It is almost as if Lady Gaga did not know which approach would work best for the album.  From the album’s singles, a vision of Lady Gaga as a futuristic, synthesizer-crazed, disco performance artists emerges. However, some songs drift over to the hip-hop influence at which the singles hint. Shockingly, songs like “Summerboy” and “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else Can I Say)”  sound like what would happen if Mandy Moore had not stopped missing you like candy.  Even more Gaga-esque songs like “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” and “The Fame” use traditional instrumentation that sounds out of place. Her breakthrough song “Just Dance” has a forgettable rapped bridge that seems to hedge its bets for the song’s success.

Songs like “Summerboy” are not what make Lady Gaga memorable. The success of songs like “Poker Face” and the non-bridge elements of “Just Dance” comes from the quirky, crunchy synths, the accessible darkness, and the extravagant videos of Lady Gaga. Eventually, the public learned more about the Gaga mystique through interviews, award show appearances, and Rivers Cuomo covers. Gaga’s interests of fame, fame culture, sleeping with good looking people, and dancing fit the times in a way that pop music has mostly avoided. Gaga also has shown she doesn’t take herself too seriously (again, SNL appearance and her Twitter acknowledgement and gratitude for this.) As an album, The Fame does not do justice to the aesthetic Gaga has cultivated.  This is something that The Fame Monster aims to correct.

The Fame Monster amplifies the scale and scope of The Fame.  The huge-sounding “Bad Romance” leads into cinematic “Alejandro.” In theory, it sounds antithetical to structure a song to sound like a movie, but Gaga pulls it off. Her concerns with fame fit perfectly with the effects used on “Alejandro.”

The visceral sexuality on which Gaga thrives continues successfully here. She makes the repetition of “He ate my heart” in “Monster” fit with the soulful vocal runs at the end of the song. The song “Teeth” drifts a bit from the Gaga sound, but its compatibility with the rest of Gaga’s themes makes it work better than the departures on the first album.

While the happiness on The Fame sounds saccharine, Gaga even manages to prove she can address it using her bag of Gaga tricks in “So Happy I Could Die.”  There are also a lot of references to her touching herself and I think most of them are literal and not the dirty type. You can never know though because she’s just being Gaga!

While the songs on the album are a treat, the real treat is the SUPER DELUXE MONSTER EDITION which comes with SUPER DELUXE MONSTER THINGS.  Like,

-A Fancy Cover thing

-A shiny book, full of Gagaisms and Gaga Art

-A Puzzle

-A lock of Gaga’s hair

-A cardboard thing behind the Gaga puzzle

There are also 3-D glasses, but like Can’t Hardly Wait‘s William after Mike Dexter beaned him with a raisin in home economics, I saw no third dimension.

The book has lots of Gagatastic pictures and a set of Gaga paper dolls. It also has a manifesto

and a bunch of threats to people who have wronged Gaga.

That may or may not be a Twitter update. It is difficult to tell since it is NOT ON A COMPUTER.

While the extravagance of The Fame Monster and the availability of the SUPER DELUXE MONSTER EDITION seem like shrewd business decisions, that does not enter my perception of the project (I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gaga probably could buy a new Haus of Gaga next to Brad Pitt and Bill Cosby because of her success). The Fame Monster cements the idea of Lady Gaga in a way The Fame could not.

ALSO: Gaga baby photos!

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One thought on “The Fame Monster and What It Means for Society

  1. […] I was reviewing last year’s list and I realized I made some mistakes (I am looking at you The Fame Monster and my eyes are saying they are […]

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