The Fame Monster
Jan 13, 2010 Web Exclusive
Lady Gaga's appearance on Saturday Night Live last year was notable not only for her game-changing piano improvisation during her second performance, which showcased her stunning voice and piano skills, but also for the passing of the pop torch to her from Madonna during a skit. Gaga's hotness is hard to argue with these days, as her best songs from her debut The Fame, "Just Dance," "Poker Face," and "Paparazzi," seem to get better on repeat spins. Her combination of Eurotrash hooks, performance-art outlandishness, intelligence, and natural-born talent lift her much higher than your average Britney Spears or American Idol flunky.
You'd be temped to call The Fame Monster Act II of Lady Gaga's career, but it's really more like Act 1.5. Available as a second disc with The Fame or as a self-contained album, The Fame Monster continues where Gaga's debut left off and features eight new tracks of varying quality. The best thing on here is "Bad Romance," a five-minute gothic-dance abandon that's big, bold, and overwhelming. "Alejandro" is an ABBA-esque love song by way of an Ace of Base beat that's silly and corny but is saved by its romantic hook. That happens a lot here. "Monster" is all over the place, with spoken word parts, auto-tuned vocals and too much wasted time before the catchy chorus. The teaming of Gaga with Beyoncé on "Telephone" is an uninspired letdown that must have looked good on paper to the record labels but the end result sounds like a hot mess. "So Happy I Could Die" is another example of Gaga phoning it in, with an auto-tune chorus and forgetful content, and can't be saved with her cheeky red wine references. The last song, "Teeth," is the worst on the collection; "Speechless" is too close to Pink, with its chunky electric guitar inserted into the mix, and "Dance in the Dark" has a synth line very reminiscent to Real Life's "Send Me an Angel." What remains to be seen is if Gaga can craft all of her talent into a top-to-bottom great album. I'm sure the journey there will be entertaining and will have people dancing all over the world. (www.ladygaga.com/famemonster)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 8/10