Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going Gaga over the Lady


Lady GaGa
The Fame
B-

It is quite fortuitous that Lady GaGa has named her debut album The Fame because, one must assume, she is set to hit it in a big way. Based on the success of lead single "Just Dance" Lady GaGa has seemingly stumbled upon the success that has eluded so many others that came before you. That she is American is an even stranger feat, considering the way America has been positively allergic to anything one may describe as "electronic" or "pop" in the last five years, having - more or less - ignored the resurgence in the genre in return for identikit "urban" music from artists with zero personality and worthless songs.

I am, however, not saying that The Fame is a great album. It's good, but not great. Yet it is so well produced and put together that success seems a mere formality for the New York native. I would strongly recommend those in the GaGa camp reconsider "Beautiful Dirty Rich" as their second single choice as it would probably turn off just as many people as "Just Dance" turned on. It's hardly radio friendly either in the way that far superior tracks like "Paparazzi" or the album's title track are.

It's hard to get a full grip on what Lady GaGa really is. She's clearly not the same sort of frustrating indie pop artist that have become ubiquitous as of late, but she doesn't entirely succumb to mainstream pop the way performers likes Kylie, Sneaky Sound System and Madonna do. She straddles that awkward line between appealing to the masses and the people who sneer at the masses. Coming off as a bit like Róisín Murphy with more success, but fewer quality songs.

Great songs, she has a couple. The previously mentioned "Paparazzi" is sleek and filled with brooding synths, while "Boys Boys Boys" recalls 1980s singer Sabrina in more ways than one. It is subsequently the album's best moment. It's just made for a swag of remixes, too. "Just Dance" is still addictive after all this time - that chorus really is a killer - while "The Fame" and "Money Honey" are truly addictive fair with sass to spare and "I Like It Rough" sounds exactly like what Holly Valance was doing several years ago to a collective yawn by the record buying public, despite being amazing. Compare this and, for example, Valance's "Curious" and I think people would be quite surprised.

Unfortunately, there is just a bit of a hint of filler amongst many of the other tracks. "Love Game" has the distinct disadvantage of being placed between "Just Dance" and "Paparazzi" even though it's chorus lifts it's game. "Eh Eh (Nothing Else to Say)" is inconsequential, "Poker Face" is Timbaland-lite (although it's still better than most of what Timbaland himself is putting out there at the moment), "Again Again" doesn't fit at all onto The Fame with its piano pop, while "Brown Eyes" is a dull ballad and the less said about "Beautiful Dirty Rich" the better, I reckon.

As an opening statement to a career that is sure to blossom, The Fame is a great start. It achieves it's goals with - mostly - aplomb and as long as she chooses the right singles there's no reason why the record buying public won't embrace it with open arms like they did with similar hit-and-miss fare by Fergie and Gabriella Cilmi.

16 comments:

Ben Wilson said...

I would say Lady Gaga has simply left off where Ashlee Simpson left off with underappreciated Out Of My Head. Alas, I rather enjoyed Simpson's effort, she kind of made a feature of non-singing voice. But the clip for Gaga's Just Dance is truly awful. I simply cannot stomach the over-sexualised tone (humping an inflatable pool toy? puh-lease). Tasteless. But then American music tends to be leading the way down this path, are they not?

Kamikaze Camel said...

I... haven't seen the clip! I'm not sure why that is either.

soldierboy said...

this is by far the lamest review i have read about an record in a long time...who is the reviewer...for all we know your at home listening to yanni...please stop doing album reviews...this is totally an opinion review...exactly not what writers are supposed to do...get a real job...

Ben Wilson said...

Can someone please explain to Soldierboy what a blog is? I.e. an outlet for whatever the writer wants to write about. You don't like it? Read something else smart-arse.

Furthermore; how can reviewing music be anything but opinion? There is no "right" and "wrong", it's in the ear of the beholder. You don't have to agree, but please refrain from throwing your tacky cyber-geek tantrums.

Glenn said...

Haha, thanks Ben. Exactly what I was gonna say. Clearly I was at home listening to LADY GAGA. I've never even heard a Yanni record in my life.

I'm not exactly sure what Soldierboy expects from a review though.

soldierboy said...

ooohhh relax...im just saying, any one can start a blog and act like they are a movie critic or music critic...but we have to draw the line somewhere...i just dont think people should blog about subjects that they obviously have no knowledge or experience in....stick to your yanni blogs

Kamikaze Camel said...

So the only people who are allowed to do reviews are those who have a phd in film or music or whatever they're critiquing?

By the way, I'm actually a music critic offline so I'm a bit more qualified than you think.

Ben Wilson said...

The way I see it; you have ears and a brain - you're qualified. It's your blog, you write what you want.

I had someone write to me with a similar rant when I wrote for The City Weekly magazine once, all because I dared give Ben Lee's album a glowing review. It's just so bizarre when people try to control you, right down to what and how you should write!?!?!

Adem With An E said...

I can't believe you don't love "Brown Eyes," it's a gorgeous ballad!!

But yes, I am pleased you like it enough to give it a B minus.

Oh Soldierboy, I CAN HAS PLENTY LULZ NAW? YES, I CAN HAS THEM PLEASE.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Adem, I would've liked "Brown Eyes" if it even remotely fit into the album at all, but it all just felt a bit "single number three*" for me, ya know?

*A lot of artists release a ballad as the third single from an album to get a second wind of sorts in album sales from all the people who can now go "well at least the album isn't all the same thing etc". It's a documented fact.

soldierboy said...

dude, stop acting like your and a&r exec or something...what fits into an album , what doesnt, if a song feels good then it fits...its people like you who have choked the life out of the music and the business for that matter...first single, second single, who cares about that junk....ooooh people like you who have nothing better to blog about...you come off like an expert of what i have no idea...

Glenn said...

"i have no idea," indeed.

Learn to, at least, construct a half-decent sentence and learn some grammer other than ellipsis' and then we'll talk. Seriously, I didn't understand a single word you just typed.

Ben Wilson said...

Soldierboy, are you the kind of person that approaches buskers to let them know your opinion of their music? Do you criticize community theatre for not quite being up to Broadway standards?

I don't think Stale Popcorn is pretending or trying to be anything other than what it is; a blog from nothing other than a personal point of view. You either appreciate film/music/TV from the bloggers viewpoint, or you move along to another blog more suited to your tastes. But to actually take the time to write and complain to the blogger, I find that very strange and rather mean.

Although, I do find it rather amusing that while you complain about the validity of Kamikaze's comments on music, you don't seem to have stopped to contemplate the validity of your own opinion. I.e. If Kamikaze is not qualified to be writing about or have an opinion on Lady Gaga, what exactly is it that qualifies you to swoop in and shit all over his writing? Are you not a mere mortal, too?

So you see, at the heart of your distress is nothing more than a very minor disagreement. You don't think Kamikaze's review was accurate, while the rest of us see it as an opinion and merely fuel for a discussion, i.e. the very basis for all good blogs.

Now please go away.

Anonymous said...

Lolz, soldierboy is such a cuntface

Anonymous said...

soldier boy luvs to have sex with his mother i thinks, that is what he refers to as "lady gaga" - get fucked soldier

Glenn said...

haha, what the hell?