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Lady Gaga

The Fame Monster

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Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster
Annie Zaleski

Arguably, 2009 has been the year of Lady Gaga. Love her or hate her, the chameleonic diva has dominated pop culture with the futuristic techno-pop earworms “LoveGame,” “Paparazzi” and “Poker Face.”

It’s hard to call the eight-song, 34-minute The Fame Monster Gaga’s sophomore album—even more so since the release has a slapped-together feel. Still, even though Monster never quite coheres into the grand thematic statement Gaga intends it to be, it ably demonstrates her range. The hip-hop bounce “Telephone,” which features an inspired rebel yell from Beyoncé, is a frantic, beat-heavy rant about being pestered by the phone. (It also sounds like Gwen Stefani having a psychotic break.) The Teddy Riley co-write “Teeth” is a stylized Broadway strut full of horn blasts, marching beats and vampy vocals, while hi-NRG Euro-pop romps “Monster” and “Dance in the Dark” celebrate the days of faceless ’80s synth-pop.

The Details

Lady Gaga
Two and a half stars
Beyond the Weekly
Lady Gaga

Monster’s worst moments, however, embody what’s wrong with pop culture in 2009: They’re full of knee-jerk analysis masquerading as depth of thought, leading to disposable, forgettable art. These offenders would be “Alejandro” (Ace of Base colliding head-on with Madonna’s Spanish-obsessed persona) and the schmaltzy piano torch ballad “Speechless,” which sounds like a drag queen attempting David Bowie karaoke. In the end, Monster is a better-than-average second effort. It could have been a near-perfect EP.

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