The Fame Monster
Lady Gaga's rapid rise is due partly to her enormous intrigue. Who else wears getups as inexplicably wacky as she? Who else feigned bleeding to death during MTV's 2009 Video Music Awards?
Beyond that, this 23-year-old New York native boasts of her bisexuality, swooning over the devotion of her huge homosexual fan base.
And beyond that, she beckons the disenfranchised of all hues and stripes to look to her for the inspiration to be free.
But is she actually loving her admirers? Or is she leading them into a hedonistic, S&M-laced lifestyle of clubbing, casual sex and purposelessness … other than dancing?
"Bad Romance" is an ode to bad boys who don't love you back. With a couple uses of "b‑‑ch" thrown in, Gaga sings, "I want your ugly/I want your disease/ … I want your horror/ … I want your psycho/ … You and me could write a bad romance."
On "Alejandro," a cigarette-smoking Gaga is caught up in a dysfunctional love square, not triangle.
There's much, much more: "Monster" is Gaga's shout-out to loving another bad boy—this time French kissing him on a train and having sex at her place later. She sings, "He's the monster in my bed/ … He ate my heart then he ate my brain." Gaga's girlfriend, by the way, can't remember if she, too, has had sex with this "m-m-m-monster" man, and the song's punctuated with the f-word.
Hurtful, hateful breakups, wrecked friendships, and an odd and gloomy tribute to the lives of women and girls who have met tragic demises fill other songs. Gaga snarls, "Silicon, saline, poison, inject me/Baby, I'm a free b‑‑ch/ … Find your freedom in the music/Find your Jesus/Find your Kubrick."
With "So Happy I Could Die," Gaga expresses her bisexuality and fondness for masturbation ("I love that lavender blonde/The way she moves/The way she walks/ … I touch myself all through the night"). She also mentions alcohol and being "higher than ever." And on "Teeth," she swings toward sadomasochism ("That s‑‑‑'s ugly/Just want your sex/Take a bite of my bad girl meat/ … I'm gonna love you with my hands tied/Show me your teeth").
"Telephone" is the album's least offensive track. And its sole plea is for a boyfriend to stop calling: "I got my head and my heart on the dance floor/ … 'Cuz I'm out in the club/And I'm sippin that bub/And you're not gonna reach my telephone."
Gaga's lyrics are beyond tasteless and her fashion sense is incomprehensible. But this girl can sing. And that makes matters worse, because it means even more lost souls will gravitate to her brand of narcissism and self-destruction. It's downright depressing to see her gifts wasted on such a search for significance in all things empty.
Sometimes artists sum up their albums perfectly in their own words. So I'll let Gaga do that here. From "Teeth": "Got no direction (I need direction)/Got no religion (you're my religion)/Just got my vamp/ … Got no salvation (no salvation)/ … I just need a little guidance/Tell me something that'll save me/ … Tell me something that'll change me."
When somebody does, I hope she'll listen.