Everyone knows about the crazy side of Lady Gaga. There's the bubble outfit, the time she smeared (fake?) blood on herself at the MTV Video Music Awards and her affinity for not wearing pants.
But on her new eight-song EP, The Fame Monster (the songs are also available on a deluxe re-issue of her debut album, The Fame), listeners are let in a little bit on the romantic side of Gaga. Yep, she has a song for a girl and sings about touching herself ("So Happy I Could Die"), and other tracks suggest she's had her heart broken in the past year ("Monster").
But if you don't care about all that, the CD is full of dance club tracks and a couple pleasant surprises that show Gaga's range as a singer and songwriter (first example: see lead single, "Bad Romance," on which her vocals are some of the grittiest they've ever been.)
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There's also the track "Speechless," which Gaga has said she thinks may be the best song she's ever written. She's totally right. The piano-driven ballad makes her sound like a poppier Carole King. She needs to make an entire album like this, where she's showing so much emotion that it sounds like she's crying.
Other stand-outs include "Telephone," on which Beyoncé makes a cameo, and "Teeth," a song with so much stank, you'll feel like you're in a Southern Baptist church with no air conditioning where the gospel choir sings about taking bites out of "bad girl meat." The song's got a hypnotic beat and is super-sexy, yet a little creepy--just like Gaga herself.
Rolling Stone's accused Lady Gaga of being a Madonna rip-off, but she's more like a sexed-up Christina Aguilera who's a walking art project.
The Fame Monster isn't much of a departure from her full-length debut, but the new tracks show us Gaga's got more than a few tricks up her sleeve.