NOW HEAR THIS! LADY GAGA "The Fame Monster" Music Review


     Lady Gaga, our reigning gay icon, knows the first secret to pop star success: Give your fans what they want!  On her second album, “The Fame Monster”, Gaga does just that.  Although the Lady does dabble with some experimental beats (Listen to the third track, “Monster”, and you’ll hear what I mean…), it seems that she’s not quite ready to fix what ain’t broke.. or to get too “heavy” with her music.  She’s not yet musically preaching about issues like global warming or forcing any message on her listeners– thankfully!  Actually, I take that back.  The “message” is what’s now we know to be “Classic Gaga”: Just dance!  “The Fame Monster” gets right into it from the first beat.  “Bad Romance”, the opener, features an industrial-strength, tribal rhythm infused with both old school and hot-off-the-groovebox new beats.  Gaga rants, warbles, gnarls, and even sneaks some French lyrics in there too.  Think of this track as the perfect anthem for crazy, 2009-style love.  “Alejandro” (“You know that I love you boy. Hot like Mexico… Rejoice!“)  is thickly indulgent, dance-pop candy with influences of ABBA (Gaga even throws a “Fernando!” into the song.) and Ace of Bass’ 1994 hit  “Don’t Turn Around”.  The next track, the playful “Monster”, is a guaranteed ass-shaker, with campy lines like “He ate my heart, then he ate my brain.” and “Uh oh! There’s a monster in my bed!”  (Oh boy, can’t we all relate to that one?!)

     “Speechless”, a mid-tempo track adorned by rock guitar, pushes Gaga’s vocals to the forefront.  The song shows that yes, Virginia, Lady Gaga CAN sing.  She belts out some impressively strong yet soulful notes.  Incidentally, this Lady plays the role of woman of rock ‘n’ roll quite well.  Think of this as a Lady Gaga power ballad.  “Speechless” may be the song that propels this diva’s music beyond the dancefloor.   “Dance in the Dark” combines some familiar, classic dance beats with a heavy, pounding house vibe.  It throws in some smart lyrics and some rapping by Gaga that’s no less than, at the risk of sounding cliched, fierce!  Next up is the instant club classic “Telephone”, with special guest Beyonce.  This track is gonna become a DJ’s wet dream; Get ready for the endless remixes.  The album’s closer, “Teeth” (“Show me your teeth!” is the recurrent line.) is a real curio; with allusions to vampirism, this foot-tapper seems like the best song that never made it on to the “New Moon” soundtrack. It’s not as grand a way to end this CD as I’d like it to be, but this song is strangely addicting…

      As I said before, the artist born who was Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta knows what her babes in clubland want.  (How much more indulgent can you get than when she sings, “I’m as vain as I allow. I do my hair, I gloss my eyes; I touch myself all through the night;  And when something falls out of place, I take my time, I put it back; I touch myself ’till I’m on track.“?!).  But underneath the hot beats are subtle, smart homages to her peers and her influences in the music biz, as well as plenty of her now trademark “So what?!” style of sexual directness.  To sum it up, I’ll have to echo Gaga herself in the first track when she warms up her audience with “Rah, rah, ah-ah-ah!” That’s just how I feel: “Rah! Rah!”… for Ga-ga!

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