Like a good entertainer, every aspect of her music, her clothes, and her stage presence adds to the theatrics of the performance. Influenced by some of pop’s most celebrated artists, it is easy to see splashes of David Bowie, Madonna, Michael Jackson all carving out The Fame
. Lady GaGa isn’t just the product of many nights staying at home singing to Cyndi Lauper on the stereo though. Having been to a prestigious New York arts school, and already having composed songs for artists such as the Pussycat Dolls; you can’t discredit her background. With The Fame
all these ingredients seem to come together to form a vibrant & unapologetic creation, drenched in pop culture.
Trends within the billboard charts can often be short lived. Boy bands, gangster rap and pop punk have all had their glory days. Yet at present songs aimed straight at the club dance floor seem to be constantly hitting the top of the charts; and it is easy to see artists such as Britney Spears, Timbaland and Kylie Minogue all heading off in this direction. Yet where this shift in sound by Britney Spears sounds calculated by her producers and managers, for Lady GaGa it is her. Obvious similarities do exist to Gwen Stefani. Yet with more skillful vocals and a focused synth-heavy sound, Lady GaGa does plenty to carve out her own style.
Beautiful Dirty Rich
bounces about with a funky beat and great vocal layering. GaGa’s smooth vocals show great touch and confidence. The vocals repeat the same phrases over, their placement and repetition working exquisitely to create the enticing groove. In Paparazzi
too her vocals stand up as a strength. The thick bassy synths don’t overwhelm her vocals, her tone and lyrics shift nicely with the rest of the song. Her voice may not be the most attractive aurally, but while she may not have a Mariah Carey like voice, she more than makes up for it in deft touch.
The lead single from the album Just Dance
stands as a highlight. The quickly shifting track offers an awesome beat with a strong bottom to it. Yet while the beat creates a striking groove, the top synth and vocal layers shift from section to section delivering delicious hook after hook. The vibrant styling and catchy vocal lines make it perfect for the club, and hard not to get into. The guest vocals of Akon and Colby Odonis don’t draw away from GaGa, but the different tones work nicely together making the songs construction more dynamic.
As much as Just Dance
is designed to go straight to the dance floor, it is also unashamedly testament to her pop heritage. The song seems unconcerned with external opinion, simply aiming for the goal of creating something that sounds good. It’s a charming attitude that extends throughout the album, especially in her lyrics. Combined with nimble control of her vocals and skilled production; it makes for an exceptionally appealing combination.
shares the rest of the albums lively personality – the synths being anything but level. The vocal texture in the breakdown takes an eccentric turn, but strangely has a nice alluring quality to it. Most songs on The Fame
seem to be different takes on a similar formula, and for the most part the execution makes each song stand out from the rest. Yet listening from top to bottom, The Fame
will tend to grate on the nerves of the listener by the end.
Especially at the bottom end of the album the songs don’t quite stand up to the singles in terms of club magic. Thankfully none of the songs act as sore thumbs, filler to extend the album length. The album offers plenty for listeners who stick to the upper half of the album, but those who give later songs such as Boys Boys Boys
a bit of time will find some catchy vocals and rhythms.
While The Fame
only really captures one component of the pop theatrics of Lady GaGa, the music more often than not proves catchy. Though not possessing vocals as naturally attractive as some other female artists; she often utilizes her voice better and shows greater flexibility in her delivery. The deft production and execution have a strong impact, and as a result the hooks of many songs are hard to resist. The Fame
isn’t a defining moment in pop culture, but it is a promising sign for Lady GaGa, with plenty to dance to.