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I Want This Monster Under my Bed! November 25, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.
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Although it’s been leaked for a week, and many a positive remark (Bananas! I die!) have already been made about the new benchmark in music videos set by the “Bad Romance” video, Lady Gaga’s newest album (or half-album, as it were) was officially released today.  If you didn’t know that, you’ve probably been living under a rock or don’t have a single gay friend.  “The Fame Monster,” is the follow-up to the HUGE “The Fame.”

I have never written a music review in my life, but let me tell you why I cannot get enough of this album.  I’m not going to repeat the constant comparisons to Madonna, other than in a few of the songs, below.  I love it because it sounds fresh and new and hip with an edge that Lady Gaga lends to her performance, but it also has some fantastic nuances that pay tribute to the frivolity and synth beats of the 80s and 90s and brought back some great memories of early mornings at Backstreet.

There is also one, undeniable thing that we know after this album – this Lady can SING!  Although you can tell the label had a lot more cash to throw into production in this album, that’s more in the backing music and effects and they let Gaga be Gaga.  It’s certainly obvious why she made it into Tisch at NYU at 17.   So, here are my thoughts, for what they’re worth, song by song.  (I’m not analyzing lyrics, here, btw, that could probably be a college course in and of itself.)

“Bad Romance” – I’ve been hitting “replay” on this song for two weeks, now.  It’s been remixed, it has a kick-ass video, and a great line that we’ve all thought at some point, “I DON’T WANNA BE FRIENDS!!!  Want your bad romance!!!”  Amen, sister.

“Alejandro” – Okay, this one is reminiscent of “La Isla Bonita,” which was never one of my favorites from Madge.  But, it also has a nice Ace of Bass “I Saw the Sign” little back-beat to it that gives it enough pep to make me want to get out of my chair at work.

“Monster” – She goes a little rougher here, too, and I do wish that the Autotuner would go the way of the Dodo, but we have our first big dose of 80s synth, here, which is just pure nostalgia for me.  This is also the first of the non-BR songs that is made for remixing and more layers of beats. It’s a cute disco song.  There’s also a shout out to “Just Dance.”  If you’ve seen a Gaga performance, you can see those creative seeds throughout this album, too.

“Speechless” – For every critic that says Lady Gaga is just another over-produced, bouncing blond “vocalist” that can’t actually sing, I give you this song to pop in your iPod, take a listen, then shut the f*ck up.  We go on to a completely different musical direction, here.  This one makes me think, Beatles.  I’m talking sound and pacing, here, people, but it also has a very bluesy feel with even a bit of country and western twang at one or two points.  The music and backing vocals are very simple, so you can really get a good dose of what a deep and raspy voice (Janis Joplin, Bonnie Tyler) she actually has.

“Dance in the Dark” – Oh. My. God.  This one is MADE for remixing, not that it stands out as a possible club mix on its own!  But, damn, it starts out sampling Depeche Mode’s Strangelove for Christ’s sake!!!  Also, she brings back her “freak bitch” self-proclamation from “Bad Romance,” here.  But, the hook has me thinking of that moment on the dance floor – you know it – when everyone’s been waiting for anticipation for it, then there’s a big “WHHHOOOOO!!” and everyone throws their hands up and the lights correspond.  I can’t imagine that this one won’t be on everyone’s favorite list, especially since about 3/4 of the way through, she channels “Vogue” and rattles off some dead celebrities…most of which are big gay icons.

“Telephone” – We all knew that the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Beyonce was coming, but who knew that it was going to be everything and more that Madonna and Britney wished “Me Against the Music” could be.  It mixes their styles so well, and its also remix fodder for days.  Also, listen very closely, and you’ll hear a little sample of “Beautiful Nightmare” thrown in there.

“So Happy I Could Die” – We’ve all had these nights, that everything seems so perfect, and you’re having such a good time…but this song is not happy, it’s melancholy.  It’s fantastic.  It’s juxtaposition of lyrics with music, and it actually evokes something much more, to me, than what they lyrics convey.  (Okay, so that’s my one discussion of lyrics.)

“Teeth” – Okay, I think Madonna circa Erotica era on this one.  Very raw, with a simple driving beat, it’s as primal, tribal, and honest as what she’s singing about.  I mean, she says, “I just want your sex” and “take a bite of my bad girl.”  This is probably my least favorite of the album, but I have a feeling it could grow on me.

So, those are my thoughts.  Please feel free to share your own in the comments section!

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