Lady Gaga’s first era The Fame was a slow burner since the beginning. The first single “Just Dance” spent five cumulative months on the Billboard Hot 100 and a total of ten months after his release, to reach the top spot on the States.
The album The Fame also debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 24,000 on the second week of November, but it wasn’t until five months later when on March 7th of 2009, the record reached his most significant spot on the USA’s charts with a top 10 position. Obviously without counting the re-release that was made with The Fame Monster EP later on the year.
“Poker Face” is also one of those tracks that help her immensely to demolish that image of a one-hit-wonder. On April 11th of the same year, the song topped the USA’s single chart. Being the first artist in almost a decade that has made their two first singles number one on the Hot 100 since pop icon Christina Aguilera, who released “Genie in a Bottle” (1999) and “What a Girl Wants” (2000).
After that, both singles reached the certification of diamond on the golden era of iTunes and radio. With almost 30 million copies sold between the two tracks worldwide.
Her bloody debut at VMA’s 2009
Apart from the fans and some pop lovers of some forums, nobody really knew Lady Gaga’s ability to performing live. So this was really one of the most outstanding performances of her career without any doubt.
On a time when the VMA’s still had some kind of relevance and were viewed by millions and millions of people, an extraordinary performance could comfortably position her into the eyes of the world as the artist to watch for the rest of the next decade. Still, a failure, could just simply placed her again as a one-hit-wonder.
Fortunately, the theatrical performance showed her incredible vocal ability (the way she changed the melody of “Poker Face” & “Paparazzi” at the end) and her eye for creating polemical and shocking moments on stage. After this incredibly smart performance, she became a household name on her own on the latest golden age of pop music.
Bad Romance and the Monster Era
It’s challenging to remember if in recent times a phenomenon like “Bad Romance” that was so influential for a young generation of pop fans and the rest of the globe has happened after that magistral song.
The infectious track was a total explosion and a masterclass of what pop music should be. The connection between Lady Gaga and RedOne was at his highest peak during this year and EP (The Fame Monster), with the creation of two of Gaga’s most iconic tracks like again “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro”.
Visually she was developing a fanaticism for what it was considered weird imagery, quite dark and outta this world inspired. This aesthetic reached their highest moment at the Born This Way years and became more colourful and drugs inspired on the Artpop Era.
Sadly the track never reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, his peak was at number 2 at the end of November 2009. But that didn’t stop the commercial success of “Bad Romance” which only on the US sold more than 6 million copies until today.
Gaga’s bizarre sense of style
Unfairly this was precisely one of the reason why the world didn’t take her seriously until only a few years ago as an artist.
From the Kermit the Frog inspired jacket that she wore on the German Tv to an Inflatable Star during the Artpop era; she also became the Big Foot one time and a headless flurry creature too. A dress made of purple hair and the red mask dress from the VMA’s 2009 also deserved mention among a thousand dressed during a decade of career.
But without any argument one of the most polemical ones is the meat dress that she wore at the VMA’s 2010. A moment that fluctuates between a jaw-dropping moment and an absolute feeling of repulsion and rejection.
Nobody actually knows what was the intention of that dress (maybe a criticism of how female pop stars are treated just like a piece of meat) but as a PR stunt was an excellent moment to catch the attention of the public on a gala that will always be remembered by the horrendous show that Kanye West offered during Taylor Swift’s speech.
The night of the meat dress she also earned the Video of the Year award for “Bad Romance.”
LGBTQIA+ ally // A battle with Madonna // Born This Way
On the night that she won the Video of the Year Award for “Bad Romance” at the VMA’s 2010, she also sang a little of her new single “Born This Way” which premiered on February 11st of 2011.
The track which was created on the road while Lady Gaga was still on the Monster Ball Tour, created an unprecedented reaction on the public because of her explicit lyrical content in support of the LGBTQIA+ rights.
“Born This Way” became an anthem for a lot of fans and the LGBTQIA+ community. It sold the incredible quantity of 1 million copies worldwide during her first week only on iTunes. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 top position for six consecutive weeks.
This song and the album of the same name really represented a high-peak on Lady Gaga’s creativity with a lot of songs of the record like “Government Hooker”, “Scheibe”, “Bloody Mary”, “Judas” or “Americano” still being considered highlights on her discography and fans favourites.
The Born This Way era caused her some trouble because of her explicit support to the LGBTQIA+ community. She was about to be arrested on Russia for “homosexual propaganda”, her problem with politics and the national anthem plus a polemic with Madonna.
Lady Gaga didn’t stop a single moment since the release of “Just Dance” in 2008 to reach what it was her dream, to be a top pop star. But that persuasion came with a prize that she’s still paying nowadays.
During the extensive Born This Way Tour, which was one the most massive tour ever done by a pop star with an incredible structure of a medieval castle, she suffered from Transient synovitis that derivated on an operation that generated the cancellation of 20 shows on the States. Apart from problems with Live Nation and the reimbursement of more than 25 million dollars on tickets and the loss of millions on the publicity that was already contracted for the show.
But this wasn’t the first time that she had to cancel shows because of severe health problems. On 2017 she withdrew and postponed all the shows in Europe because of her suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic pain that was aggravated by her openly public battle with her mental health.
This was explored on her Netflix’s documentary Five Foot Two and later discusses on multiple interviews like the extraordinary one with Oprah:
Let’s say that ARTPOP was a particular era riddled with controversy, bad decisions, confusion and polemics.
The EDM inspired record divided not only the critics but also the fans who felt that the record was quite underwhelming and overproduced. The leaks that the album suffered from the early stages and demos that ending up being better than the album versions (“Aura” for example) also cursed the record even before his release.
During the era there’re was a polemic that could have been easily avoided, “Do What U Want” should have been a solo track and prevent the collaboration of R.Kelly who is a sexual predator, something that was quite known by all the music industry by the time and something that didn’t play in favour of Lady Gaga’s past as a victim of violation.
All the money spent on the single “G.U.Y.” that couldn’t resuscitate the track on the charts, the horrible and stupid Artpop app released to create a more profound and closer relations with the fans but turned out to be total piece of shit and the silly “feud” with Katy Perry over her lead single “Roar”…. indeed the public became quite tired of her. At that time, Gaga started to be branded as a flop and a musical clown.
The performance was fairly scrutinized on social media as a promotion and glorification of bulimia and eating disorders in general.
After this disgusting and inexcusable performance, the public even turned her back on her even more. It was really a rock bottom for her. Her credibility in many aspects was nonexistent.
A NECESSARY IMAGE MAKEOVER
After the end of the ArtRave Tour, Lady Gaga initiated what it’s one of the smartest decision of her career.
On a mission to clean up her damaged image, she started to explore new ways of making music far away from any eccentricity like her previous era.
She found out in Tony Bennett not only a friend but a saviour. With their collaborative album Cheek to Cheek, Gaga’s was starting to be seen again as a serious musicians but an impressive talent and versatility.
One of the most magistral movements of that makeover mission, was her performance at The Oscars in 2015 performing a musical number to celebrate the film The Sound of Music and the iconic actress Julie Andrews. Fairly the performance was praised by numerous media outlets that seemed to be accepting the new Gaga.
She announced her participation of the popular TV series American Horror Story. Another smart turn on her career that made Gaga won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and prepared her for the highest peak of her career Star is Born.
That film not only made Lady Gaga’s image an entirely positive makeover but also won her the confidence that she needed to keep on the music world and nothing less than the award for Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “Shallow”, one of her most successful track ever. Everyone started to appreciate Gaga’s versatility as an artist again.
Also, it’s essential to don’t forget that Star is Born even gave her one nomination at The Oscar’s 2019 for Best Actress and that she also won a total of four GRAMMYs because of this movie on two different years (2019/2020).
THE 2017 HALFTIME SHOW
Another moment that happened before Star is Born was the Super Bowl and the release of Joanne.
That whole era was feeling quite underwhelming and vague until the announcement and the actual performance at the 2017 Superbowl Halftime Show. It’s true that the record debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 and was favourably accepted by the critics. Still, in fact, it wasn’t a memorable record that really served up any remarkable track apart from the surprise that “Million Reasons” turned up to be.
Her performance was 100% Lady Gaga’s fantasy with also her peculiarities and all those hits that really fulfil her catalogue. Her sales jumped out over a 1000% and the latest single from the record “Million Reasons” reached the top 5 at the Billboard Hot 100. The rest of the year is history with the previously mentioned success of the film Star is Born.
A NEW DECADE & ERA: “STUPID LOVE” AND A CAREER CHALLENGE
This new decade hasn’t started really good for Gaga. Her latest single “Stupid Love” leaked early on the year and even some HQ images from the video set have been leaked on forums and social media. I also assisted to a few parties where “Stupid love” have been played before her official release. If we’re coming back to the golden era of the leaks that the earlies 2010s were, I would recommend to Gaga’s team to put their shit together.
There hasn’t been any official news about the release of the track, which seems to be the final version and not a simple demo, apart from blind dates at pop forums. Still, what it appears to be true it’s that the track must be released this February.
But when the track gets finally released, Lady Gaga had to confront a bigger problem. The quality of her music.
For those like me who has already listened to “Stupid Love” know that the track is not a banger and it’s not a total avant-garde song that is going to change the game, in fact, seems to be more like a piece of work that is going to underperform on the charts and not turning out to be a fan favourite.
For the album, there’s no confirmation apart that is going to be a disco and rave inspired record. Electronica is going to be the direction for this project in which there are enormous names like BloodPop or SOPHIE on it. So they need to stop themselves from the same mistakes that were committed on Artpop and create an extraordinarily energetic and powerful record that really recover Gaga’s status musically at 100%.
The album supposedly will come before the summer, and there have been rumours about a possible world tour (please not the Vegas show) at the end of the year. So stay tuned for more information and let’s pray that this new record will blow our minds.
BONUS TRACK: LADY GAGA’S UNRELEASED MUSIC & PROMISES
If you click here, you’ll find a fan-made list of all the things that Lady Gaga promised over the year but she really never fulfilled. It’s a precious document to understand that you cannot trust artists when it comes to releasing material, especially in her case.
There’s nothing better to understand Lady Gaga’s career that all the unreleased music that has surfaced on the internet over a decade. Here’s a fantastic playlist that included some of those tracks and the unfairly unofficially released collaboration with Cher below: