Lady Gaga

The Fame Monster

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Initially planned solely as a standard double-disc reissue in the wake of the blockbuster success of The Fame, Lady Gaga decided to release the new material as a separate EP called The Fame Monster in addition to the standard two-CD set, where it’s tacked onto a now standardized version of her debut. It’s a nice move for fans, plus it helps emphasize the new material, which does act as a bridge from the debut to a forthcoming full-length. Everything on The Fame Monster bears a galvanized Eurotrash finish, as evident on the heavy steel synths of “Bad Romance” and the updated ABBA revision “Alejandro,” as it is on the rock & roll ballad “Speechless” -- its big guitars lifted from Noel Gallagher -- and the wonderful, perverse march “Teeth.” Even the stuttering splices on “Telephone,” a duet with Beyoncé, leans to the other side of the Atlantic, which just emphasizes the otherness that’s become Gaga’s calling card. And even as she’s becoming omnipresent, with her songs mingling with those who co-opt her on the radio, she is still slightly skewed, willing to go so far over the top she goes beyond camp, yet still channeling it through songs that are written, not just hooks. The Fame Monster builds upon those strengths exhibited on The Fame, offering a credible expansion of the debut and suggesting she’s not just a fleeting pop phenomenon.

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