In the past year, few individuals have dominated the music industry quite like Lady Gaga. Since the release of The Fame just over a year ago, she’s scored two #1 singles and three other Top 10 singles, including the lead single from her new project, The Fame Monster.
Initially intended as part of a re-release of The Fame, The Fame Monster finds Lady Gaga exploring various subjects the singer/songwriter found darkened by the exposure of fame. The eight songs are, in her words, exploring her various monsters.
The EP opens with lead single “Bad Romance.” Produced by frequent collaborator RedOne, the song recalls previous hit “Poker Face” musically, but with a darker edge. In the song, Gaga describes a twisted relationship that almost seems masochistic in nature. The accompanying music video does little to argue against this.
The song, as well as other RedOne tracks “Alejandro,” “Monster,” and “So Happy I Could Die,” fit easily in with The Fame’s songs on a musical level. More interesting are the other four tracks, each of which pair Gaga up with a new collaborator.
“Speechless” is the first full-fledged ballad recorded by Lady Gaga, and sounds like a modern update of a song from the 70s. The song highlights the beauty of her voice, normally obscurred by the dance production of her music.
Elsewhere, the Rodney Jerkins-produced “Telephone” finds Gaga collaborating with Beyoncé in a club banger directed at someone attempting to interrupt the singer’s fun on the dance floor. On the closing track, Gaga takes a slightly more urban direction with the help of Teddy Riley. “Teeth” finds the singer posturing to show her street cred.
Finally, “Dance in the Dark” takes the lead as the strongest track of the album. The song, which has the strongest ties to European dance pop, maintains the darkness of the rest of the EP, but is the most engaging track on the collection.
Overall, The Fame Monster serves well as evidence that Lady Gaga is no one-hit (or four-hit) wonder. It builds on The Fame and sets up just enough of a foundation to hint at the future of Lady Gaga.