Five years ago today, an art school drop out with big dreams of taking the world by storm with her music released an album entitled “The Fame” in the U.S. Lady Gaga’s debut album was wrapped around a synthpop sound as she documented her hunger for fame on 12-track release. “The Fame” not only established Gaga as a household name over time but it also helped mainstream electronic music on the radio in the years that followed.
Like Madonna’s debut album, Gaga’s “The Fame” was not an instant hit upon release. It would not chart on Billboard’s albums chart until a month later. Following the slow burn success of her singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” she would go on to sell over 4.5 million copies of “The Fame” in the U.S. (as of press time).
On her debut single “Just Dance,” Gaga gave some quality advice to tipsy club goers. “I love this record, baby, but I can’t see straight anymore,” she admits on glowing dance track. Colby O’Donis creeps in past the halfway point to put his R&B touch on the record. It all resulted in one of the all-time best party anthems.
Gaga proved there was more depth to her music with follow-up single “Poker Face.” She cleverly likened her prowl for a man to casino-themed antics. “I’m bluffin’ with my muffin,” she memorably mentions on the dark club track. An avid LGBTQ advocate, Gaga already gave gay men something to sing about on “Boys Boys Boys,” her flamboyantly fun response to Mötley Crüe’s “Girls Girls Girls.”
The beautiful aspect of “The Fame” was Gaga’s whole fascination with the subject matter. On arguably her best track ever, “Paparazzi,” Gaga takes her obsession to a new high. “I’m your biggest fan / I’ll follow you until you love me,” she sings with utmost determination on the majestic pop tune. She relishes the limelight on the telling “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” and bouyant “Money Honey.”
Along with fame, Gaga also began her romance with electronic music on the album. She fearlessly took on the genre and even experimented with it a bit. On the plucky “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say),” Gaga flirted with an Italo disco sound and with the spunky “Summerboy,” she went as punk rock as pop can go. “Brown Eyes,” a hazy ballad, serves as a sort of hangover to partying and fun on “The Fame” album. Even so, Gaga still manages to rock out on the slow jam.
With “The Fame,” Gaga made herself as famous as she hoped when first making this album. She took her big dreams and made something of them in the form of a forward-thinking pop record. The album influenced the electro-pop trend that followed in the wake of her success. Lady Gaga continues to the take the electronic genre to new places and will undoubtedly do so with her next album “ARTPOP.”
Check out a short video of Gaga making “The Fame” in May 2008 here
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