The Fame

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The Fame is the first album by music diva Lady Gaga and was released in August 2008 and has sold millions of copies worldwide.[1] It includes hit singles Poker Face and Just Dance. Gaga wrote all songs which bring electropop and synthpop rhythmic beats to a danceable format. The album won the Grammy award for "best dance recording" in 2009 and won "best international album" at the 2010 BRIT awards.[2][3] The album was re-released in November 2009.[4]

The New York-born Andy Warhol fan says she's not just in it for the music: she wants to inspire an entire movement, one in which everybody is entitled to act as though they're famous. -- Newsweek Magazine[1]

The album has been transferred to numerous formats, and forms the soundtrack for a video game entitled Lady Gaga Revenge. Gaga mentioned to a reporter that people could buy the entire album by merely by a lesser priced videogame:

My record label (Interscope) might kill me for saying this, but (if you buy the game Lady Gaga Revenge) you are essentially purchasing my album (The Fame) for $4.99 and you are also getting a game," Gaga says. "So you are getting way more bang for your buck.-- Lady Gaga[5]

Gaga said: "The Fame is about how anyone can feel famous ... pop culture is art. It doesn't make you cool to hate pop culture, so I embraced it and you hear it all over The Fame. But, it's a sharable fame. I want to invite you all to the party. I want people to feel a part of this lifestyle."[6] She worked on the album for two and a half years and completed half of it during the first week of January 2008, according to Gaga in an interview on MTV.[7] Gaga wrote the lyrics, melodies, and added synthesizer work with help of record producer RedOne. The second track LoveGame was inspired by Gaga's crush on an anonymous person in a night club, and took her four minutes to write, according to her own account.[8] Paparazzi chronicled her hunger for fame and love.[9] Poker Face inspired by boyfriends who loved gambling,[10] focused on her fantasies about women while having sex with men, thus representing her "poker face."[11] Boys, Boys, Boys was a twist of the Motley Crue song Girls, Girls, Girls. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich was her personal voyage of self-discovery while living in the Lower East Side and dabbling in drugs and parties. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)] was about breaking up with a boyfriend and finding someone new.[6]

Gaga unites visual imagery with musical theatrics, and sees her live performances as a type of performance art which emphasizes lifestyles:

I just feel like this record is really different- you've got club bangers to more 70s glam to more singer-songwriter records to rock music... The Fame is not about who you are—it's about how everybody wants to know who you are! Buy it and listen to it before you go out or in the car. ... I think you've really got to allow artists' creativity to marinate. It took me a while but really delving into myself I finally got it. I couldn't be more proud of it. It's not just a record, it's a whole pop art movement... It's not just about one song."[7]

Gaga's second album built upon the "fame" theme and was entitled The Fame Monster, and featured eight new tracks. A deluxe edition contains all tracks from both The Fame plus The Fame Monster.[12]

Reactions by critics

Critic Catherine P. Lewis of The Washington Post felt that Gaga was a highly competent songwriter with a terrific voice who didn't need her "over the top schtick."[13] She said that Lady Gaga "takes everything to the extreme" and "steps over the line of decorum" by pushing themes of "stalking" and "fame" in her song Paparazzi which included insinuations of suicide by hari-kari and hanging "thanks to an unexpected burst of fake blood".[13] Gaga has a flare for the dramatic and a penchant for "Madonna's hypersexuality" and skimpy outfits, said the critic.[13]

Gaga doesn't really need to rely on gimmicks and glitz: She's a competent songwriter in her own right. She co-penned every track on "The Fame" and has written catchy tunes for fellow dance-pop vixens the Pussycat Dolls and Britney Spears. Her piercing voice expresses the desperation of "Paparazzi" far better than fake blood ever could, and she doesn't need raunch to capture falling out of love on the chirpy ballad "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)." While her over-the-top schtick certainly does make a splash, it also obscures any glimmer of talent and artistry beneath the surface, reducing her to a mere publicity stunt.-- Catherine P. Lewis of The Washington Post[13]

Joey Guerra from the Houston Chronicle felt the songs were not innovative but highly danceable.[14] Genevieve Koski wrote that the album was "fueled by a glitter-laced, dance-inciting energy that bodes well for extended club play, which is really the whole point." Another critic named Cinquemani said that "Gaga's lyrics alternate between cheap ... and nonsensical drivel ... and her vocal performances are uneven at best ... [t]he songs that work, include "Poker Face", "Starstruck", "Paper Gangsta" and "Summerboy"— rest almost solely on their snappy production and sing-along hooks."[15] Freedom du Lac from The Washington Post criticised the album for lacking originality.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ramin Setoodeh. Lady Gaga Will Rock the VMAs -- One of the most unpredictable women in music opens up about her next big act. It's a moment that could live in YouTube infamy., Newsweek, Sep 3, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-02-27. “At a time when the music industry is seriously lagging, Gaga (née Stefani Joanne Germanotta; she plucked her name from the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga") has leaped into the spotlight with unusual vigor. Her debut album, The Fame, has moved more than 3 million copies worldwide, and her songs "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" were in many ways perfect anthems for the summer.”
  2. 52nd Grammy Awards Nominations. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2009-12-03.
  3. Young, Ian. The real Brits Awards winners and losers, 'BBC', BBC Online, 2010-02-17. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
  4. Associated Press. Lady Gaga announces solo tour -- Diva to hit the road without Kanye West, Variety, Oct. 4, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-02-27. “Gaga said her new tour will kick off in mid-Novemeber. Her platinum-selling debut CD, "The Fame," will be rereleased on Nov. 24.”
  5. Mike Snider. Not quite like a virgin: Lady Gaga feels the fame, USA Today, 2009-06-14. Retrieved on 2010-02-27. “Lady Gaga's 2008 debut album, The Fame, has gone platinum — and remains No. 8 on The Billboard 200 chart — and her first single, Just Dance, became just the fifth song to sell 4 million downloads. (Singles Poker Face and LoveGame are Nos. 5 and 6 on Billboard's Hot 100.)”
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lady Gaga: Biography. LadyGaga.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-08.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harris, Chris (January 15, 2009). Shes at number one and shes on our Spanking New for 09 list so we had a lil' chat with the Lady. MTV UK. MTV Networks Entertainment Group.
  8. Scaggs, Austin (February 19, 2009). The "Just Dance" singer on leotards, the first lady and raunchy lyrics. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved on 2009-03-31.
  9. Slomowicz, Ron (June 10, 2008). Lady Gaga Interview. About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved on 2009-04-17.
  10. McKay, Hollie (May 22, 2009). Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Preference for Boys That Look Like Girls. Fox News. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  11. Lady GaGa Entertains Thousands At Palm Springs White Party. Access Hollywood. NBC (April 14, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-04-17.
  12. Vena, Jocelyn. Lady Gaga Is 'Honoring' Fans With Cheaper Fame Monster, MTV, MTV Networks, 2009-11-12. Retrieved on 2009-11-12.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Catherine P. Lewis. No Gimmicks Necessary, The Washington Post, September 25, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-02-27. “Lady Gaga takes everything to the extreme on her album "The Fame" and its ubiquitous dance-pop singles. She glamorizes alcohol overconsumption ("Just Dance" is about being totally blitzed at a club) and flaunts her sexuality on "Poker Face" and "Lovegame."”
  14. Guerra, Joey (November 7, 2008). Bringing real dance music to the masses. Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved on 2009-06-09.
  15. Cinquemani, Sal (October 25, 2008). Lady Gaga: The Fame. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-06-09.