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Album review: Lady Gaga's 'The Fame Monster'

November 23, 2009 |  1:01 pm
Lady_gaga_fame_monster Lady Gaga lives by the credo of "Go big or go home" -- that goes for her wardrobe, her choruses and her sexual innuendo. So it makes sense that in an age of skimpy cash-grab reissues, Gaga would buck the system with "The Fame Monster," a deluxe version of her 2008 debut that comes equipped with eight new tracks. The New York dance-pop diva is even selling the extra tunes as a standalone EP to avoid ripping off early adopters; by major-label standards, that's more value than you shake a disco stick at.

In her music videos and live shows over the past year, Gaga has worked hard to demonstrate her creative ambition and stylistic range, and that project continues on "The Fame Monster," which includes the turbocharged Euro-soul of lead single "Bad Romance," the bubbly, ABBA-style pop of "Alejandro" and "Speechless," and a sweeping glam-rock number seemingly modeled after David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" phase.
In "Telephone," Gaga is joined by Beyoncé for a carefully considered meditation on how annoying it is when a dude keeps calling you while you're throwing down at the club. And "Teeth," the EP's closer, is a sassed-out R&B jam produced by new jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley; like Gaga's piano-bar rendition of her own "Poker Face," it emphasizes the no-frills vocal talent beneath the art-directed glitter.

Just dance? Maybe tomorrow. For now, Gaga wants to think too.

-- Mikael Wood

Lady Gaga
"The Fame Monster"
(Streamline/Konlive/Cherrytree/Interscope)
Three stars (Out of four)

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