Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: Alejandro, Bad Romance, best of 2009, Beyonce, David Bowie, Just Dance, Kanye West, Lady GaGa, Michael Jackson, Poker Face, Releases of the Week, Telephone, The fAME, The Fame Monster
Michael Jackson. David Bowie. Madonna. Kanye West. Critics and fans alike don’t typically utters the names of pop legends with moderation in mind. It’s a good thing that Lady Gaga doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word. Last year’s The Fame may have put Gaga on the map, but this year’s follow-up The Fame Monster gave us more new material and reminded the musically-inclined populace yet again that mass-consumed songwriting can indeed be a venue for true talent.
If you really want to know why The Fame Monster is one of the best albums of the year, you hardly need to look further than the video for lead single “Bad Romance” for proof. Lady Gaga literally sets potential suitors ablaze with the over-the-top display that colors the majority of her work — but on The Fame Monster the material is all darker, and all more vindictive. Each song is either a biting critique or a forlorn lament, and Gaga’s voice bounces beautifully over the eclectic production throughout, from Darkchild, Fernando Garibay,RedOne, Ron Fair, and others.
We see an angrier side of Gaga on The Fame Monster — and perhaps a more broken, vulnerable side of her as well. Gaga’s heartbreak-torn vocals on songs like “Alejandro” or “Telephone” (featuring Beyonce) would have been out of place alongside the hedonistic abandon of “Poker Face” or “Just Dance,” but adhere thematically to every other song on the record. This makes The Fame Monster as much a concept album as its predecessor was, in no way a bad thing. In eight songs Lady Gaga’s shown us yet another side of fame and kept herself more than fresh. Let’s just hope she can keep it up.
— Eric Vilas-Boas