2008 debut album from the New York singer. On The Fame, it's as if Gaga took two parts Dance-Pop, one part Electro-Pop, and one part Rock with a splash of Disco and burlesque and generously poured it into the figurative martini glasses of the world in an effort to get everyone drunk with her Fame. 'The Fame is about how anyone can feel famous,' she explains. 'Pop culture is art. It doesn't make you cool to hate pop culture, so I embraced it and you hear it all over The Fame. But, it's a sharable fame. I want to invite you all to the party. I want people to feel a part of this lifestyle.'
Has an album title ever been so self-prophetic? In its first year, this electropop opus rocketed Lady Gaga from unknown New York lounge singer to the world’s biggest pop star this side of Britney Spears. The Fame’s brand of pop is shamelessly decadent: 11 of its 13 songs are about money, celebrity, sex, clubbing, or a sticky combination of all four. It’s insipid subject matter, unless you consider Gaga as less of a silly, manufactured blonde than an ingenious artist playing the part of a glitzy pop star. Witness The Fame’s impeccably sleek opening songs, from the carelessly rambling chorus of “Just Dance” to the snappy, futuristic beat of “LoveGame”: Gaga’s got the outrageous outfits and dance moves down to a science, but underneath it all, the music is aggressive and authoritarian in ways that most other Top 40 tunes are not. Often compared to Gwen Stefani’s, Gaga’s vocals are in fact richer and rounder, allowing her a certain stylistic versatility, and her personae alternate from wild party kid to vulnerable lover. Some of the risks don’t always pay off, but the Lady Gaga of the dark and ardent megahit “Poker Face” prevails. She is commandeering enough, bizarre and beguiling enough, to ensure that she’ll be basking in our attention for a very long time. --Erin Thompson