Lady Gaga The Fame Monster

Lady Gaga The Fame Monster
Don't let the avant-garb fool you: behind the make-up, bizarre get-ups and headpieces, Lady Gaga is as simplified as pop stars get. While the past year has seen Gaga grab headlines for her pompous image, it was her music that initially made her a star. Thanks to her shrewd business acumen and creative drive, she also recognizes that to stay relevant you shouldn't give the fans the opportunity to forget you. Hence The Fame Monster, an eight-track stopgap designed to be drained of singles until she can finish a proper second album. Packaged with debut album The Fame, this mini-album doesn't quite offer the "industrial dance music" Gaga promised, but she definitely broadens her portfolio, for better and worse. "Bad Romance" may be more of the same textbook pop, but it's easily the best track she's written for herself yet, with its gibberish chanting and sleek verses that slither like an oversexed Goldfrapp. "Teeth" is another sleazy romp, using feet stomping and a biting command, making you realize that had Britney Spears actually heard it she never would have passed on it. And "Telephone" keeps it slinky and synth-y, bringing in Beyoncé for what could be the ultimate power couple in pop music. But Gaga is too stubborn to stick with her winning formula. She channels both Shakira and Ace of Base on the inane "Alejandro," which sucks her Latin lovers dry of their names to ad nauseam, and on "Speechless" challenges Adam Lambert's Queen fixation and loses, miserably. She wears the club-friendly synth pop well, and unlike her wardrobe, the music suffers when she changes get-ups. (Interscope)