I felt like Lady Gaga was an artist I needed to know more about musically. I’d hear enough about her celebrity persona, but I knew very few of her songs. “Bad Romance” was pretty much it, and I remembered liking that the one or two times I’d heard it. But I didn’t want to explore her catalog the way I’ve done with other artists like Adele. Lady Gaga just seemed like more of a singles artist. So I was really happy to find this Rhapsody artist sampler…just what I was looking for. The notes below are not meant to be a review of the sampler itself, because that would just be silly. They’re just song-by-song notes.
- Just Dance featuring Colby O’Donis – From The Fame. This kicks hard. Is it about getting falling down drunk? “How’d I turn my shirt inside out?/…/I love this record baby/But I can’t see straight anymore.” Gets bogged down in the bridge and nearly drops to keep, but the way the vocal track is doubled but super delayed is pretty cool. Mix.
- Judas – from Born This Way. Meh. Boring, repetitive, annoying. I love the rhythms of that opening riff, but that’s about it. Ditch.
- Poker Face – from The Fame. This is all right, but I’m kind of surprised it’s considered one of her biggest hits. The monopitch verses are meh. The choruses (or is it the bridge?) are the best part. And the poker metaphor in the lyrics seem like they could be from an SNL parody. “And baby when it’s love/If it’s not rough it isn’t fun.” Love the start of the chorus (“Can’t read my…”), but like overall.
- Born This Way – from duh. Despite the lyrical pander to the modern American Christian, and despite (or, more likely, because of) the blatant, extended lyrical, musical, and stylistic quotes of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” this is one of her best, most infectious cuts. Doesn’t get mixed due to the ridiculous spoken intro, but a strong, strong keep. Even with its loudness wars issues…it’s just that good.
- Bad Romance – from The Fame Monster. The first song I ever heard of hers and a big part of the reason I’ve always wanted to hear more. Very good. “I want your ugly/I want your disease.” Mix.
- Alejandro – from The Fame Monster. Yet another similarity to Madonna in a completely obvious pander to the Hispanic market (“La Isla Bonita”). Somebody decided they needed to expose her to Hispanics, so they just put out a Latin-flavored song. Is she singing to two boys, Roberto and Alejandro? Not bad, but ditch.
- Paparazzi – from The Fame. Dig it. Very sweet, seductive vocals. But creepy when combined with lyrics. The bridge is kinda stupid, but the rest of this is crazy strong, very rich. “You’re my rock star.” Mix.
- Hair – from Born This Way. Good bridges, but the choruses, dragged down by lyrics that remind me of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair,” are pretty stupid, pandering to 14-year-old girls. “When I’m dressed up cool my parents put up a fight.” This is the other Clarence Clemons track. Like.
- Telephone featuring Beyoncé – Loves this so much. Fantastic lyrics. Best song in the playlist. Best use of auto-tune ever? She uses it to imitate the sound of a call dropping in and out. Great lyrics, beats, melody…everything. Mix.
- LoveGame – from The Fame Monster. The “disco stick” song. Mostly stupid. Spesh the lyrics. Except for “Got my ass squeezed by sexy Cupid.” Has its moments, notably the chorus, but most of it, spesh the bridge, is so stupid that I have to ditch it.
- The Fame – from The Fame. Good. Thematically it’s her “Material Girl.” “Give me something I wanna be,” that’s brilliant. Like.
- Marry The Night – from Born This Way. Good. “I’ll hold my whiskey up high/Kiss the bartender twice/I’m a loser.” Keep.
- Beautiful, Dirty, Rich – from The Fame. I don’t like this. Too thrown off. Ditch.
- The Edge Of Glory – from Born This Way. Famously has one of Clarence Clemons’ last performances in it. Pretty awesome. Obvious, but awesome. “There ain’t a reason we should be alone tonight/…/I got a reason that you’re who should take me home tonight.” Do we ever get that reason, or is that just words filling space? Great keys line, reminiscent of “Maniac.” Loudness wars issues. As obvious as it is, it can kinda pump you up, so I’ll potentially mix this.
- Money Honey – from The Fame. Kinda sexy. Essentially a second shot on the “Material Girl” theme. Double use of “money.” “When you kiss me/That’s money, honey.” Like.
- Dance In The Dark – from The Fame Monster. It means sex. But from the woman’s pov. Explaining why in the dark. Kind of. Something about plastic surgery, body image, s**tty boyfriends, etc. Not a great intro. Also a bit annoyed by the descending chimey keys of the chorus. But it’s pretty good. Like.