Lady GaGa took the charts by storm nearly a year after her first single came out, hitting #1 in 2009 and breaking digital records with ‘Just Dance’ and the following single ‘Poker Face’, both holding the top and second spot simultaneously, a pretty impressive feat. GaGa streamed the same success with ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘LoveGame’ being released as further singles, which were close to hitting #1 as well, but settling for a Top 5 charting instead. What started out as The Fame re-release, turned out to be GaGa’s sophomore serving with The Fame Monster, centered on the concepts of loneliness, love, death, fear, sex and alcohol, omitting her obvious themes of fame and money; hence the title of her first album.

GaGa partners with RedOne again for Monster, also adding Darkchild, to bring the uptempos in the same vein as her previous singles (the aforementioned) and despite the songs being great and indulging, they do not bring anything new to the table from GaGa but catchy hooks, partly unchanged electro beats at different tempos and of course, different lyrics.

The EP reaffirms a pattern in GaGa’s writing style of stuttering the first syllable or letter from words or the title itself in the tracks choruses, manifested in ‘Just Dance’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Eh Eh (Nothing Else I can Say)’ and ‘Paparazzi’, which is also major in most of the new 8 track album, such as ‘Monster’, ‘Alejandro’, ‘Telephone’, ‘So Happy I Could Die’ and ‘Bad Romance’ (pretty much the whole track listing); the latter being extremely reminiscent of ‘Poker Face’, even in the opening chant.

Beyoncé’s feature is needless, and the persistent dashes of sex and fashion are okay to a point but then become overestimated. The production is intense and gigantic, but yet again do not contribute to anything new, which was what The Fame originally did when it was released in mid 2008.  

Standouts are the vicious and boisterous first single ‘Bad Romance’ for its frolic connotations, ‘Monster’, the apparent ode to masturbation ‘So Happy I Could Die’ and ‘Alejandro’ for its tint of Ace of Base. It also has its hidden gems in ‘Speechless’ and ‘Teeth’. ‘Speechless’ is a piano rock-a-fied ballad dedicated to her father. It features great songwriting and in fact showcases GaGa’s vocal talent at its best. She sounds raw and pours all her frustrated emotion over her piano and the listener, while ‘Teeth’ finds GaGa trying out a pounding aggressive edgy sound, which is a breath of fresh air after the rampant re-do of The Fame.   

GaGa’s continual talent is unquestionable, her vocals are flawless and her piano playing exquisite, but The Fame Monster aside from being pleasant and addictive, shows no sign of growth. Putting ‘Teeth’ aside, there is nothing which sets The Fame apart from the EP, which allegedly stands as a second album; it is too formulaic. The eight tracks could have easily been part of the first record or bonus tracks as a re-release instead of labeling it as her next piece of work. The only thing which obstructs people from noticing is the visual treatment given to both the singles and the artist itself, which involve a lot of input and ‘ceiling-less’ budgets. Without doubt the album is fun, catchy with a slight alternate perception and GaGa’s delivery is superb, but it emphasizes style more than substance. It becomes more of a fashion statement.

★★★1/2

C.Perez