Album Preview: Lady Gaga – ‘The Fame Monster’

A beast was waiting behind closed doors at Interscope Records in New York City on Thursday (Nov. 12) where Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster was previewed in advance of its November 23 release. The follow-up to her breakthrough album The Fame picks up where her debut left off, while reminding listeners that Lady Gaga is here to stay.

The session kicked off with a showing of her video for “Bad Romance” (5.5 million YouTube views and counting) where an Alexander McQueen-draped Gaga is prisoner to the Russian sex trade. After the visuals dimmed, the music kicked in on the eight-track mini-album, boasting dance-heavy beats from RedOne, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Teddy Riley, and more. The effort stands on its own so much that Gaga decided not to label it a re-release.

Early fans will undoubtedly eat up the new set, newcomers will want to grab the deluxe edition packaged with The Fame, and diehards may even splurge on the $100+ super deluxe edition with a lock of Gaga’s hair. No matter which one you choose, the experience promises to be monstrous.

1. “Bad Romance”
Produced by RedOne

The lead single is about loving the good and the bad in any relationship. Gaga starts the song with, “I want your ugly/ I want your disease,” making sure to keep it grotesque and tender simultaneously. She even throws in some inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock: “I want your Psycho, your Vertigo shtick/ Want you in my rear window/ Baby you’re sick.” The pop-synth beat with ’80s new wave undertones sets the mood for the album.

2. “Alejandro”
Produced by RedOne

If electro-pop was to have a child with flamenco music, he would be named “Alejandro.” The Latin-infused song deals with a breakup from a toxic relationship, calling out a list of Spanish suitors including Roberto and Fernando. The repetitive “Ale-Ale-jandro” is the hot sauce on this already spicy concoction.

3. “Monster”
Produced by RedOne

“He ate my heart” is the opening line to a club jam about a bad boy all the girls fall for, a woman to woman warning of a broken heart. Pop beats mixed with some heavy bass and lyrics all too familiar will hit a nerve with any girl who loved a boy that breaks hearts for fun.

4. “Speechless”
Produced by Ron Fair

Another song about a breakup leaves Gaga singing, “Oh boy, you’ve left me speechless/ I’ll never love again.” With references to James Dean and Johnnie Walker, Gaga is into loving the bad boys and reaping the consequences. This track sounds like a country-rock ballad complete with electric guitar, strings, and tambourines. An unexpected turn, but then again this is Lady Gaga.

5. “Dance in the Dark”
Produced by Fernando Garibay

This electronic, synth-heavy record dives into the insecurities women sometimes face in relationships: “She looks good, but her boyfriend says she’s a tramp.” Filled with lyrical breaks, bass, and dance floor-ready beats, this cut is sure to keep the crowd moving and fans wanting more.

6. “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé
Produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins

The most-anticipated track and the only guest feature on the album, Beyoncé returns Lady Gaga’s “Video Phone” favor by spitting a rap-like verse reminiscent of her song “Radio.” Pop’s leading ladies put their cells on silent and just dance. Gaga’s pop-funk swagger mixed with Beyoncé’s fierce hip-hop sensibility make this a ringtone-ready hit.

7. “So Happy I Could Die”
Produced by RedOne, Lady Gaga, and Space Cowboy

The fashionista slows down the pace and touches herself—literally. The song, possibly about masturbation, finds her eyeing a “lavender blonde” female. “I touch myself, can’t get enough,” she sings, while making no apologies for her behavior in the spotlight.

8. “Teeth”
Produced by Teddy Riley

Gaga bares her fangs and encourages her lover to do so too on the closing number. “Don’t be scared, I’ve done this before/ Show me your teeth,” she commands, while luring her lover into her bad world with taunts like, “I don’t want your money, I just want your sex.” Gaga and Riley create a monster by combining animalistic behaviors (“Take a bite of my bad girl meat”) with a stomping beat. Be afraid, be very afraid.

–Nadia Chanté