Hearing New York’s own Lady GaGa’s opening track ‘Just Dance’ played back-to-back with a recent Madonna track on the radio this week, you really do believe this Princess Of Popâ„¢ hype that we’ve been subjected to recently. The pure and polished opener sails miles higher in the pop skies than Maddy could hope for these days. And as health board statistics show us, all the kids are doing these days is being so drunk that they lose their keys, phones and forget the name of the club/one-nighter they end up in/with. Now they have an anthem.
We all know that great pop stars are built upon singles, but within the first seven seconds of track two a lyric so appalling it prompts your reviewer to fire a shoe across the room, aiming for the fast-forward but actually knocking over a three day old cup of tea. It actually sounds like your auntie trying to be young and outrageous. And thus are the highs and lows of the album, all within five minutes. Sadly the edge is polished off the rest of the album save for the superb ‘Poker Face’, currently bothering some daytime radio near you.
The rest of The Fame is filled with songs, some of which lean towards Gwen, some towards Christina, but all without the punch of the opening song. In fact some lean so far towards the centre of radio-friendly mediocrity (‘Eh, Eh’, ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’) they’re like cast-offs from some Stock Aiken Waterman project.
The last third of the album tries out the ballad songs (though ‘Again, Again’ has an air of Britpop about it). ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’ is not half as much fun as it thinks it is but ‘Summerboy’ is somewhat a return to better form, and is a little reminiscent of early Cardigans in its summery cheer.
Lady GaGa sings with utter confidence and when the material is there it’s all you want to party to, but the weak writing and obvious aping of other artists styles leave all but three songs feeling like padding. She’s set her own high benchmark but if Madonna is to be left in her jet trails she’ll need to do a lot better than ‘Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick. I wanna take a ride on your disco stick’.