Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster

The Fame Monster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Fame Monster
A woman in a blonde blunt bob cut. She wears a shiny black leather dress covering her body completely. With her right hand she holds the collar of the dress and uses it to cover her mouth. In front of her, the words "Lady Gaga" and "The Fame Monster" are written in white capital font, with the T of Monster being stylized as a cross (†).
EP by Lady Gaga
ReleasedNovember 18, 2009
Recorded2009; Record Plant Studios, Darkchild Studios, Metropolis Studios, FC Walvisch[1]
Genre
Length34:15
Label
Producer
Lady Gaga chronology
Hitmixes
(2009)
The Fame Monster
(2009)
The Remix
(2010)
Alternative cover
A woman whose black hair falls all around her face and covers her torso and right eye. Black eyeliner runs down her face in two streaks from her left eye. In front of her, the words "Lady Gaga" and "The Fame Monster" are written in white capital font, with the 'T' of Monster being stylized as a cross (†).
Singles from The Fame Monster
  1. "Bad Romance"
    Released: October 26, 2009
  2. "Telephone"
    Released: January 26, 2010
  3. "Alejandro"
    Released: April 20, 2010
  4. "Dance in the Dark"
    Released: July 26, 2010
The Fame Monster is the third extended play (EP) by American recording artist Lady Gaga. It was released on November 18, 2009, by Interscope Records. Initially planned to be included on a re-release of her 2008 album The Fame, Gaga announced that the eight tracks would be included on a standalone release, saying that she thought the re-release was too expensive and that the albums were each conceptually different, describing them as yin and yang respectively. A Super Deluxe edition of The Fame Monsterincluding The Fame and additional merchandise, including a lock of her wig, was released on December 15, 2009.
Musically, The Fame Monster is a pop album influenced by a number of genres, prominently the discoglam rock and synthpop music of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as industrial and gothic music. The album was also inspired by fashion shows and runways. According to Gaga, the album deals with the darker side of fame, including love, sex, alcohol and more. Lyrically, they are expressed through a monster metaphor. The cover artwork was done by Hedi Slimane and has a Gothic theme, as described by Gaga herself. The artwork was originally declined by her record company, however, Gaga convinced them to go through with it. The Fame Monsterreceived generally favorable reviews from music critics. In some countries, the album charted with The Fame, and topped the charts in multiple nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, and Switzerland. In the United States, it reached number five on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and topped the Dance/Electronic Albumschart.
Its lead single, "Bad Romance", was a commercial success, topping the charts in more than twenty countries worldwide, while reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The next two singles, "Telephone" and "Alejandro" were successful as well, reaching the top ten in multiple countries worldwide. "Dance in the Dark" was only released as a single in select territories, but received moderate success in some countries, and receiving a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. "Speechless", "Monster", "So Happy I Could Die" and "Teeth" charted in multiple countries as well, despite not being released as singles. The Fame Monster has won multiple awards since its release. It was nominated in a total of six categories at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards including Gaga's second consecutive Album of the Year nomination, ultimately winning for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Contents

  [show

Background and development

During the collaborative launch of her similarly titled headphones with Dr. Dre, Gaga commented that she planned to release a new album and said: "I think re-releases are unfair, [...] it’s artists sneaking singles onto an already finished piece of work in an effort to keep the album afloat. Originally [my label] only wanted me to put out three songs and now it’s much more than that. It’s a new album’s worth of material."[2] Regarding the title The Fame Monster, Gaga said that it was a coincidence that the name was similar to the headphones she launched called "Heartbeats." She had already written a song titled "Monster" in March, before she met with Dr. Dre and the Noel Lee, the CEO of Monster Cable Products, to discuss the collaboration.[2] Gaga further explained that she was obsessed with monster movies and "the decay of the celebrity and the way that fame is a monster in society! That’s what my new record is about, so it was kind of a perfect fit."[2][3] Gaga later revealed that the re-release will contain eight new songs, along with her whole original debut album.[4] The Fame Monster deals with the seamier side of fame, as experienced by Gaga over the course of the year 2008–2009. She explains:
"On my re-release The Fame Monster, I wrote about everything I didn't write on The Fame. While traveling the world for two years, I've encountered several monsters, each represented by a different song on the new record: my 'Fear of Sex Monster,' my 'Fear of Alcohol Monster,' my 'Fear of Love Monster,' my 'Fear of Death Monster,' my 'Fear of Loneliness Monster,' etc... I spent a lot of nights in Eastern Europe, and this album is a pop experimentation with industrial/Goth beats, 90's dance melodies, an obsession with the lyrical genius of 80's melancholic pop, and the runway. I wrote while watching muted fashion shows and I am compelled to say my music was scored for them."[4]
She also commented that the new songs do not deal with money or fame, rather it is about everything in-between and it was for her fans.[4] Gaga compared the mood of The Fame and The Fame Monster as opposites, and called them Yin and yang respectively. According to her, she felt a dichotomy within herself while developing the album. With MTV she explained that, "I am ready for the future, but I mourn the past, [...] And it's a very real rite of passage—you have to let go of things. You have to mourn them like a death so that you can move on, and that's sort of what the album is about."[5] In North America, The Fame Monster was released as an eight-track album on November 23, 2009. Gaga's website also confirmed a Deluxe Edition featuring the entirety of her first album, The Fame, as a bonus disc. Solely a deluxe edition had been previously planned, however, Gaga cited cost being an issue in deciding on the additional single disc release.[6]

Composition

"Well, my dad has had a heart condition for about 15 years. He has or he had a bad aortic valve, and his body for a very long time was only pumping a third of the blood that you're supposed to get every time his heart beat. So he [was] resigned that he wasn't going to get the surgery and told my mother and I that he was going to let his life take its course. [...] And I was on tour and I couldn't leave, so I went into the studio and I wrote this song 'Speechless'. [...] My dad used to call me after he'd had a few drinks and I wouldn't know what to say. I was speechless and I just feared that I would lose him and I wouldn't be there. [...] I wrote this song as a plea to him."[7]
—Lady Gaga on the inspiration behind "Speechless"
The Independent felt that the first song from the album, "Bad Romance", set the tone for the album, whose dominant atmosphere and aesthetic, from the monochrome cover shot and the crucifix logo onwards, is gothic. The refrain of "Bad Romance" has similarities to Boney M and the music recalls Depeche Mode's fifth studio album Black Celebration(1986).[8][9] The lyrics contain zombie metaphors in songs like "Monster" ("He ate my heart..."), the Cossack like music in "Teeth" ("Take a bite of my bad-girl meat...") and "Dance in the Dark" ("Silicone, saline, poison, inject me..."). The latter's lyrics also refer to famous people who met a tragic end: Marilyn MonroeJudy GarlandSylvia PlathPrincess DianaLiberace and JonBenét Ramsey.[8][10] "Monster" consists of stuttering synths and instrumentation from heavy drums.[11] Among other songs is the ballad "Speechless" which is a 1970s rock-inspired number that touches upon abusive relationships in lyrics upon "I can't believe how you slurred at me with your half-wired broken jaw". It consists of vocal harmonies and guitar riffs, which according to PopMatters, is comparable to the work of Freddie Mercury andQueen.[11] Produced by Ron Fair,[12] "Speechless" was recorded with all live instruments such as drums, guitars and bass. Gaga plays piano.
The album's fifth track, "Dance in the Dark", depicts a girl being uncomfortable when having sex. Speaking about the song, Gaga said, "She doesn’t want her man to see her naked. She will be free, and she will let her inner animal out, but only when the lights are out."[13] In "So Happy I Could Die", Gaga presents an ode to sexual feeling and actions, stating, "I love that lavender blonde/ The way she moves the way she walks/ I touch myself, can't get enough." Essentially a love song, the object of affection in "So Happy" becomes Gaga herself as she talks about drinking, dancing, observing, and touching herself. Gaga's voice sounds sedated in the song.[8][10] "So Happy" also uses auto-tune in its music.[9] "Alejandro" incorporates elements of the music of ABBA and Ace of Base with the lyrics talking about Gaga fending off a harem of Latino men. "Telephone" talks about the singer preferring the dance floor rather than answering her lover's call.[10] The verses are sung in a rapid-fire way, accompanied by double beats.[10] Gaga explained that the song deals with her fear of suffocation, "fear [of] never being able to enjoy myself. 'Cause I love my work so much, I find it really hard to go out and have a good time." The phone on the song is not just a physical phone, but also the voice of a person in her head telling her to keep working harder and harder.[14] The last song, "Teeth", contains gospel music and the lyrics are written in S&M style, telling that the closest she will get to another human being involves being tied up and bitten.[10]

Release and artwork

Originally the album was intended to be a two-disc re-release of The Fame, but Gaga told MTV on November 12, 2009 that the album is to be a standalone piece. Gaga has also announced the release of The Fame Monster Deluxe Edition, and the Super Deluxe Fame Monster Pack, the latter of which was released on December 15, 2009. The pack will provide an assortment of products from Gaga's production collaborative, Haus of Gaga, and even included a lock of hair of the singer.[15] Gaga explained this decision by saying,
"In the midst of my creative journey composing The Fame Monster, there came an exciting revelation that this was in fact my sophomore album, [...] I would not add, nor take away any songs from this EP. It is a complete conceptual and musical body of work that can stand on its own two feet. It doesn't need The Fame. For those who do not have my debut album, there are a series of collectible double-disc editions that include both albums and artwork conceived by the Haus of Gaga in collaboration with our mentor, Hedi Slimane," she said. "Hear the music, see the show, live and love yourself."[15]
On May 3, 2010, The Fame Monster Limited Edition USB Drive was released. It included the explicit version of The Fame Monster album, as well as nine remixes, eight music videos, a digital bookletsingle covers, and a photo gallery.[16]
Two cover arts for the re-release were shot by designer and photographer Hedi Slimane. One shows Gaga in a blond wig and wearing a black jacket while the other shows her with thick brown hair and heavy eyeliner running down her face.[17] Regarding the cover art, Gaga said that when she sat down to create the concept for the album, she wanted to make sure the look was darker and edgier than anything she had done before.[5] However, her record label found the brunette cover to be too confusing and gothic while believing it to be less pop. Gaga responded saying,
"You don't know what pop is, because everyone was telling me I wasn't pop last year, and now look—so don't tell me what pop is, I know what pop is. [...] It's funny, because I fought and fought and fought, and I actually ended up having two covers, because I wanted to do this yin and yang presentation with the covers. [....] I don't want to do a really glamorous photo of me rubbing myself like every other blond girl. I want my fans to see this image and say, 'I feel just like she feels.'"[12]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[18]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[19]
Robert ChristgauA–[20]
The Daily Telegraph3/5 stars[21]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[22]
NME8/10[23]
The Observer4/5 stars[24]
Pitchfork Media7.8/10[25]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[26]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[10]
Spin6/10[27]
The Fame Monster received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 78, based on 14 reviews.[28] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazinefelt that the album was not a huge leap forward for Gaga, but provided "small, if fleeting, glimpses behind the pretense."[10] Simon Price of The Independent called it "a whole new piece of art in its own right."[8] Kitty Empire from The Observer said that the album is "a lot more splendidly deranged."[24] Sarah Hajibagheri from The Times commented that the album "lack[ed] the beat and bite that made us all go Gaga for the eccentric New Yorker."[29] Josh Modell of Spin commented that "When Gaga reaches for sincere balladry [...] she sounds lost".[27] Evan Sawdey from PopMatters commended Gaga for being "willing to try new things" and felt that the album shows "she’s not complacent with doing the same thing over again ... Gaga is allowed to make a few mistakes on her way towards pop nirvana—and judging what she’s aiming for with The Fame Monster, there’s a good chance she’s going to get there sooner than later."[11]
Mikael Woods from Los Angeles Times felt that The Fame Monster continued to demonstrate Gaga's creative ambition and stylistic range.[22] Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone felt that "half the disc is Madonna knock-offs, but that's part of the concept—fame monsters needn't concern themselves with originality."[26] Edna Gundersen from USA Today believed that on The Fame Monster, "Gaga's icy aloofness and seeming aversion to a genuine human connection leave a disturbing void. With an avant-garde intellect, pop-electro eccentricities and freaky theatrics competing for attention, there's no room for heart."[30] Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraphcommented that the album has an "an irrepressible quality that is given full rein. [...] Although not as thematically integrated as the original Fame, Gaga’s vivacious energy, bold melodies and almost comically relentless sensationalism keeps things interesting."[21] MSN Music's Robert Christgau found it to be of "comparable quality" as The Fame and gave it an "A–",[20] indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction".[31]

Accolades

In 2010, Gaga won the "Outstanding Music Artist" award for The Fame Monster, during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.[32] The album and its songs were nominated for six awards at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. The EP in its entirety was nominated for Album of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.[33][34] "Bad Romance" won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video; her single "Telephone" was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and "Dance in the Dark" earned a nomination for Best Dance Recording.[34][35]

Commercial performance

In the United States, the individual disc of The Fame Monster charted at number five with sales of 174,000 while the double disc deluxe edition including the original The Famecharted at number six with sales of 151,000.[36] The album also topped the Top Digital Albums chart with sales of 65,000. Seven of the eight songs from the album also charted on the Hot Digital Songs chart.[37] The album also topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart, replacing the original version of The Fame.[38] In January 2010, the album was certifiedplatinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of a million copies of the album.[39] As of March 2014, The Fame Monster has sold 1.585 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.[40] In Canada, the album debuted and peaked at six on the Canadian Albums Chart.[41]
In Australia, The Fame Monster initially charted with its predecessor, but was later considered as a stand-alone album. In its eighteenth week of release on the Australian chart, it climbed to number one, and has since been certified three times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 210,000 copies of the album.[42][43] The combined album also charted in Denmark, Ireland and Germany, where it reached the top in the last two territories.[44][45] The album charted at number two on the Japanese Oricon albums chart.[46] It has sold 577,000 copies in Japan.[47]
In the United Kingdom, The Fame Monster was released as a deluxe edition only with The Fame, and not as a stand-alone album, hence it charted under The Fame. On January 3, 2010, the album climbed to number two in the album chart.[48] All of the new tracks from The Fame Monster charted within the top 110 singles there, with the most popular un-released track, "Telephone", charting inside the top-forty at number thirty.[49] In the week ending February 28, 2010, Gaga reached the top of the UK Albums Chart for a fifth week with The Fame Monster, coupled with The Fame. On March 21, 2010, the album went back up the UK chart to again take the number one spot beating the likes of the Glee Cast who were expected to reach the summit.[48] The album has reached thirteen on the European Top 100 Albums chart.[50] It was certified three times platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for shipment of a three million copies across Europe.[51]

Singles

Gaga performing "Bad Romance" on Good Morning America as part of their "Summer Concert Series".
"Bad Romance" was confirmed as the first single from the album.[3] A brief portion of the song was performed on Saturday Night Live on October 3, 2009, along with other songs like "Poker Face" and "LoveGame"[52][53] "Bad Romance" premiered during the show finale of fashion designer Alexander McQueen's Spring/Summer 2010 Paris Fashion Week show on October 6, 2009.[54] It was released for digital download on October 27, 2009. The song topped the Canadian Hot 100UK Singles ChartEuropean Hot 100German Singles Chart and the Austrian, Bulgarian, Danish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, and Swedish charts as well as reaching a peak of two in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, and Switzerland.[55][56] On February 13, 2011, the single received the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; the accompanying video received a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.[34]
"Telephone" was released as the album's second single.[57] The song features American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles. Gaga first performed the song live at the 2010 BRIT Awards along with another song from The Fame Monster, "Dance in the Dark", as a tribute toAlexander McQueen.[58] The music video for "Telephone" premiered on E! News on March 11, 2010.[59] Gaga stated that the video is a continuation of the "Paparazzi" music video, and it is in a similar short-film style. "Telephone" has been appreciated by critics as being a standout track from The Fame Monster, and charted in numerous countries prior to its release as a single. On March 22, 2010 it reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her second consecutive UK chart topper and fourth in total. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her sixth straight single to reach the top ten.[60] It also reached number one on the Pop Songs chart, thus becoming Gaga's sixth consecutive number-one on the chart, tying with Beyoncé and Mariah Carey for most number-ones since the Nielsen BDS-based radio airplay chart launched in 1992.[61] The single received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.[35]
"Alejandro" was released as the album's third single. Originally "Dance in the Dark" was planned to follow the previous single, "Telephone", as a preference of Gaga's record label. Gaga had chosen this song to be the third single on her own without consulting the label. An argument then arose between Gaga and her label where "Alejandro" was ultimately chosen to be released. Through her account on Twitter, the singer remarked on the decision, "Alejandro is on the radio. Fuck it sounds so good, we did it little monsters."[62][63]The single was officially sent to radio on April 20, 2010 in the United States.[64] "Alejandro" reached the top five on the Australian and Canadian charts, as well as in the top ten of the charts of other nations.[65] In the United States, it reached number five, becoming her seventh consecutive single to reach the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.[66]
"Dance in the Dark" was released as the fourth and final single from the album in Australia, New Zealand, and France. It was originally released as a promotional single from the album as a part of the Countdown to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster on iTunes. On November 9, 2009, the song was released on the United Kingdom's iTunes, as a promotional single for the Countdown to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster, alongside with "Alejandro". The song was initially planned to be released as a worldwide single after "Telephone", but Gaga had a dispute with her record label to release "Alejandro" instead.

Promotion

Main article: The Monster Ball Tour
Gaga performing "Speechless" at GagaKoh, in Tokyo, Japan.
Promotion for The Fame Monster began through a performance on Saturday Night Live, which contained segments of a piano version of "Bad Romance". Gaga has also appeared on various talk shows, such as It's On with Alexa Chung and Germany's Wetten, dass..?. On November 16, 2009, Gaga performed the song "Speechless" at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's 30th Anniversary celebrations. She collaborated with artist Francesco Vezzolli and members of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet Academy.[67] On November 16, 2009, Gaga appeared on an episode of the CW's Gossip Girl in an episode titled "The Last Days of Disco Stick". She performed the lead single from The Fame Monster, "Bad Romance". Other songs that were referenced and played throughout the episode were "Alejandro", "Dance in the Dark", and "Telephone".[68]The song was also performed at the 2009 American Music AwardsThe Jay Leno Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[69][70][71] On January 15, 2010, Gaga appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and performed a medley of "Monster", "Bad Romance", and "Speechless".[72] At the52nd Grammy Awards, Gaga opened the show by performing a medley of "Poker Face", "Speechless", and "Your Song" with Elton John.[73] On February 16, 2010, she performed at the 2010 BRIT Awards in memory of Alexander McQueen, she performed a ballad version of "Telephone" and then performed the song "Dance in the Dark".[74] In March 2010, "Bad Romance" and "Monster" were added as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series, along with "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" from The Fame.[75]
Previously, Gaga had announced that she was going to tour with Kanye West. The tour was titled Fame Kills Starring: Lady Gaga and Kanye West.[76] However, after the incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards with Taylor Swift, West announced that he was taking a break from music. Following the announcement, all of the tour dates were immediately cancelled. Later, Gaga confirmed that she was going to tour by herself for The Fame Monster.[77] The show, called The Monster Ball Tour, had dates starting from November 2009 and finishing in early May 2011. The tour featured opening acts like Kid Cudi and Jason Derülo.[78] Described by Gaga as "the first-ever pop electro opera", The Monster Ball began four days after the release of The Fame Monster.[78]
Gaga and her production team developed a stage that looks like a frame with forced perspectives and everything for the show fitted within it. She felt that the design would allow her creative control.[79] Since the album dealt with the paranoias faced by Gaga over the year, the main theme of the show became evolution, with Gaga portraying growth as the show progressed.[80] She compared the setting of the stage with that of a hollowed-out television set. Elements of the cancelled tour with Kanye West were incorporated in some parts.[81] The set list of the tour consisted of songs from The Fame Monster as well as her debut album The Fame. For the 2010 shows, Gaga felt that a revamp of the show was needed as the original tour was constructed in a very short span of time. The revamped shows has a New York theme, and portrays a story where Gaga and her friends are in New York and get lost while going to the Monster Ball.[81] The show was divided into five segments with the last one being the encore. Each segment featured Gaga in a new dress and was followed by a video interlude, portraying Gaga in Gothic and artsy poses, to the next one. The 2009 concerts began with Gaga appearing from behind an electric maze of lights.[82] It continued with acoustic piano playing, dancing in costumes made of guns, Egyptian style head gears[83] and fairy-tale Rapunzel style hair.[84] The revamped shows consisted of more theatrics, and stage props that consisted of the pyrotechnics bra, a car turning into a keyboard, an enormous angler fish-cum-octopus, and Gaga herself in a number of costumes.[85] Contemporary critics praised the show, commending Gaga's singing abilities and sense of style and fashion. They were also impressed by the pompousness and the theatricality of the show, comparing it to the tours of artists like Madonna.[86]

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