The Phenomenon That Is Lady Gaga
It might seem like she's been around for ages, but it was only early 2008 when Lady Gaga's presence emerged with her first single 'Just Dance'. The song appeared and was instantly a hit and lead to the instant over-taking of the soundwaves in radio, TV and clubs everywhere.
Her first track - and what is the lead single of her debut album The Fame - the song launched Lady Gaga so easily into superstardom doing what many tired artists have tried and failed to achieve - gaining an audience. Only with that one tune she not only gained an audience (and a massive worldwide one at that) but shot to instant superstardom
A rare feat achieved by not many - the new look and sound of Lady Gaga was welcomed hungrily. And suddenly, it seemed like you couldn't go a day without hearing someone, somewhere playing 'Just Dance' as loudly as they were permitted to.
The simple and catchy tune with a direct, fun message became the beginning of Lady Gaga. She became the hottest new thing; she was the one to watch and stole the limelight willingly. Of her experience with the song 'Just Dance' Gaga has said, "I was very hungover. I wrote the song in about 10 minutes with [producer] RedOne. And it was my first time being in a Hollywood studio. Very pristine, big huge room with giant speakers." She added that recording the song was 'hard work' and 'a lot of people didn't believe in it.' When asked for why it is that 'Just Dance' had become such a huge hit, Gaga replied, "Everyone is looking for a song that really speaks to the joy in our souls and in our hearts and having a good time. It's just one of those records. It feels really good, and when you listen to it, it makes you feel good inside. It's as simple as that. I don't think it's rocket science when it comes to the heart. I think it's a heart theme song."
And the petite 5'1 musician from New York City must know what she's talking about because she instantly overshadowed other current female artists, and the ones that have been around for a while, too. The tunes of the 'I Kissed a Girl' star Katy Perry, Britney Spears and music icon Madonna were readily turned down in favour of the new, never-heard-enough Lady Gaga and her one song.
The track alone dominated the music world for near six months before another single was released from the sudden superstar. The world listened, and unlike many, Gaga didn't crash and burn with her second attempt at another successful single. 'Poker Face' was churned out and thrived from the get-go into a musical audience hungry for new Gaga material.
The main ideal behind the 'Poker Face' tune was the principle of bisexuality. Gaga has stated it is about her directly and previous boyfriends have reacted to her own bisexuality with intimidation, saying, “The fact that I’m into women... it makes them uncomfortable.” ‘Poker Face’, she stated, is a tribute to her rock 'n' roll boyfriends. The song centers around sex and gambling with Gaga stating, "I gamble but I’ve also dated a lot of guys who are really into sex and booze and gambling, so I wanted to write a record my boyfriends would like too."
Instantly a hit like its twin sister 'Just Dance', 'Poker Face' was the darker-themed song, much like 'the evil twin' and went to prove that Lady Gaga was no one-hit wonder. Between the two songs, Lady Gaga released her debut album in August of 2008. The Fame is now multi-platinum in the vast majority of countries it has charted in: reaching double platinum in the United Stated, three-times platinum in both Australia and Poland, and four- times platinum in the UK.
The year of 2008 was a magnificent one for the new diva to the music scene, and Lady Gaga's first two singles remained prominent in the world of music for 2008. It was the end of January, 2009 that saw the next single being released from Lady Gaga.
'Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)' although not reaching the radio play success of its two predecessors was received well by fans. 'LoveGame' and 'Paparazzi' became the final two singles launched off The Fame respectively and by mid-2009 Lady Gaga was one of the music industry's biggest names - again. Still.
The tune 'Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say' lyrically is based around breaking up with an old flame and finding someone new while the single 'LoveGame' is really not very subtle, lyrically, and visually in regards of the music video, of Gaga's attraction to 'disco sticks'. Gaga has said of the song, "I was at a nightclub, and I had quite a sexual crush on somebody, and I said to them, 'I wanna ride on your disco stick'. The next day, I was in the studio, and I wrote the song in about four minutes." The song carries the themes of New York underground discos as well as talking about love, fame and sexuality, centralling the themes of the entire piece of The Fame's into the one song.
The final single to be released from the album was 'Paparazzi' of which Gaga has said, "The song is about a few different things – it's about my struggles, do I want fame or do I want love? It's also about wooing the paparazzi to fall in love with me. It's about the media whoring, if you will, watching ersatzes make fools of themselves to their station. It's a love song for the cameras, but it's also a love song about fame or love – can you have both, or can you only have one?"
'Paparazzi' ended the era of The Fame album but in 2009 Gaga headed back into the studio and recorded another album. The Fame Monster was released in November and although the album confused many fans as being labelled 'the new album', the eight-song piece was also sold as a 2-disc additional to her previous work The Fame.
Nevertheless, the first single off the album 'Bad Romance' ricocheted Lady Gaga into the music world once again. She has said of the song and its composition, "I wrote it when I was in Norway, on my tour bus. I was in Russia, then Germany, and spent a lot of time in Eastern Europe. There is this amazing German house-techno music, so I wanted to make a pop experimental record. I kind of wanted to leave the '80s a little bit, so the chorus is a '90s melody, which is what the inspiration was. There was certainly some whisky involved in the writing of the record. It's about being in love with your best friend." The song, released (before the album) in October became an instant hit and it would be early 2010 before the next single was launched off it.
'Telephone' was released in late January of 2010 to extremely positive reactions. Gaga has stated the song is about her 'fear of suffocation' linking it her fear of 'never being able to enjoy herself'. Gaga has stated, "'Cause I love my work so much, I find it really hard to go out and have a good time. [...] I don't go to nightclubs, [...] You don't see pictures of me falling out of a club drunk. I don't go - and that's because I usually go and then, you know, a whiskey and a half into it, I got to get back to work."
'Telephone' was originally written for Britney Spears (co-written by Gaga herself) but didn't make the final cut for Britney's 2008 album Circus. Gaga has said of the situation, "I wrote it for her a long time ago and she just didn't use it for her album. It's fine because I love the song and I get to perform it now." The song combines and features vocals from Beyonce after Spears was originally going to the be the guest vocalist before she requested the song be used on her greatest hits album. Lady Gaga then made alternative arrangements and Beyonce became the guest vocalist for the hit single.
The next single to be launched off The Fame Monster was to be 'Alejandro' but 'Speechless' was used as the third single instead. Like many of Gaga's songs, 'Speechless' seems very much like a lover-to-lover song. But the tune isn't a traditional love song.
Written as a plea to her father to undergo open-heart surgery, 'Speechless' was explained her current situation with her father as, "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." She went on to say, "My mom called me and I was very depressed. I was on tour and I couldn't leave, so I went into the studio and I wrote this song 'Speechless,' and it's about these phone calls. 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."
Gaga announced from her official Twitter page in October of 2009 that her father had undergone the life-saving surgery, adding, "[...]after long hours, and lots of tears, they healed his broken heart, and mine." Additionally Gaga has stated of the song that she hopes 'Speechless' would encourage her younger fans to appreciate their parents. "I have a lot of fans who are really lovely, young, troubled fans, but I want to remind them that you only get one set of parents."
As a whole, Lady Gaga's sound has been likened to Queen on numerous occasions and along with David Bowie, Madonna and the late Michael Jackson, she has stated the band [Queen] and the late Freddie Mercury as 'being her main musical influences'.
Lady Gaga’s image is another big aspect of the musician’s entity. Whether it be her wild, eccentric hairdo’s or her unpredictable attire, she never fails to deliver a surprise. Whether the audience believes her latest creation is a fashion crime or not, when Lady Gaga walks into the public, all eyes and camera lenses are sure to capture a shot or two of her latest creation. Gaga states fashion as a main source of inspiration for not only her songwriting, but her performances as well – and with the way that her music and appearance is choreographed to fit so tightly together it isn’t hard to believe.
And while Gaga's music is certainly unique, as is her image, she incorporates both of these ideals into each and every one of her music videos. Whether it be 'Just Dance' or 'Bad Romance' the visuals; the imagery and video that accompany Gaga's music are no less than an A-grade production. The video fits the music with both complimenting each other endlessly which once again goes to show Gaga does not take neither her music, fashion, or mini-film production to compliment her songs lightly. Each is a work of art on its own, which is, after all, what Gaga is looking to achieve.
Set aside from her music directly and her interest in fashion too, Lady Gaga is seen as a rising gay icon due to her thanks and appreciation for the LGBT community. From the beginning of her career, Lady Gaga has credited the gay community for much of her earlier success and her rise to fame. Of the situation, she has said, "The turning point for me was the gay community. I've got so many gay fans and they're so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They'll always stand by me and I'll always stand by them. It's not an easy thing to create a fanbase.”
Gaga went on to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May of 2009 where she praised DeGeneres for being 'an inspiration for women and the gay community'. Similarly on October 11th of 2009 she appeared at a National Equality March for the gay community which she proclaimed as 'the single most important event of her career'. As she excited the even, she left with a secure 'Bless God and bless the gays'.
Currently, the world is unsure of what Lady Gaga’s next move will be; what clothes she’ll wear, how she’ll change her hair and how she could possibly gain even more attention for all the right things let alone what her next single will be.
But ask any of her fans (affectionately known as her ‘Little Monsters’) about any of the currently unreleased songs from The Fame Monster and they’d tell you the same thing: whether it be ‘Alejandro’, ‘Monster’, ‘Dance In The Dark’, ‘So Happy I Could Die’ or ‘Teeth’, each of the songs has what it takes to keep the Lady Gaga fame alive. Each and every song has the magic to them that Gaga injects into each of her tracks. Each song has that catchy, different energy that Gaga drills into them and each one is more than capable of keeping Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters fed and happy.
In the world of the current social and music scene, there is always going to be room for the train wrecks that is the Lindsay Lohans and the Amy Winehouses. And as long as there are the train wrecks, there are the beauties that upstage them. The scene will never tire of the Lady Gagas. And the Lady Gaga is always going to be wanted, needed, craved after – well, if she keeps up the ‘wow’ factor, that is.
And judging by her quip words, her eccentric fashion and her entrancing music, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lady Gaga in the time to come. At only 23, the petite New Yorker has surpassed what many musicians achieve in their lifetime as she offers what can only be described as 'a different experience' for the world of today. And whether you love her or hate her; whether you become a Little Monster too or try to kill them off on your own, there’s no denying Lady Gaga is that something different that isn’t just here for the five minutes of fame.
Paris Hilton, self-labelled by herself as ‘the iconic blonde of the time right now’ can swiftly step aside and maybe trip in her hot pink stilettos too, because the next iconic blonde is here. Lady Gaga, however, is more than the next iconic blonde. Tipping her as the next Madonna… Would that be too bold of a presumption? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Only time will tell.