Monday, March 8, 2010

The Fame and The Fame Monster 2008 - Present

A blond female performs onstage. She is clad in a white leotard. She is singing onto a microphone in her left hand and is surrounded by male dancers
Gaga performing at the New Kids on the Block: Live tour.

By 2008, Gaga had relocated to Los Angeles, working closely with her record label to finalize her debut album The Fame.[14] She said that she combined a lot of different genres on the album, "from Def Leppard drums and hand claps to metal drums on urban tracks."[12] She began to work with a collective called the Haus of Gaga, who collaborate with her on her clothing, stage sets, and sounds.[1] The Fame received mostly positive reviews from critics; according to the music review aggregation of Metacritic, it has received an average score of 71/100.[30] Times Online described the album as "a fantastic mix of Bowie-esque ballads, dramatic, Queen-inspired midtempo numbers and synth-based dance tracks that poke fun at celebrity-chasing rich kids."[1] The Fame peaked at number one in Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland, and the top-five in Australia and the United States.[31][32] The album's lead single, "Just Dance," was released on April 8, 2008, and has topped the charts in six countries – Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[33] It received a Grammy nomination for the Best Dance Recording, but lost to Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger."[34] The second single, "Poker Face", was released on September 23, 2008, and has reached number one in nearly twenty countries, including almost all major music markets in the world. "Poker Face" became her second consecutive number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 2009.[35] Afterward, the Haus of Gaga turned its focus further upon the American market with Gaga going on her first concert tour with fellow Interscope pop group, the reformed New Kids on the Block. She started her stint with them in Los Angeles on October 8, 2008, and continued through the end of November.[36] Her first headlining North American tour, The Fame Ball Tour, began on March 12, 2009, and has received critical acclaim.[37][38] She opened for the Pussycat Dolls on the UK and Australian leg of their World Domination Tour in May. Her performance there was well-received, with a reviewer writing that she "upstaged the Dolls".[39][40] Around the same time, the music video for her international third single, "LoveGame," was banned by the Australian channel Network Ten, who refused to play the video reasoning that it contained sexually explicit imagery.[41]

Gaga appeared semi-nude, wearing only plastic bubbles, on the cover of the annual 'Hot 100' issue of Rolling Stone in May 2009.[42][43] In the issue she discussed that while she was making her beginnings in the New York club scene, she was romantically involved with a heavy metal drummer. She described their relationship and break-up, saying of it, "I was his Sandy, and he was my Danny [of Grease], and I just broke." He later became an inspiration behind some of the songs on her debut album The Fame.[44] She later regretted disclosing her orientation, saying, "I don't like to be seen as somebody who is using the gay community to look edgy. I'm a free sexual woman and I like what I like. I don't want people to write that about me because I feel like it looks like I'm saying it because I'm trying to be edgy or underground."[45] She had previously told a crowd at one of her concerts that her song "Poker Face" lyrically discusses fantasizing about a woman while being in bed with a man.[46] She appeared on rapper Wale's single "Chillin."[47] Gaga was nominated for a total of nine awards at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video for "Poker Face" and Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction for "Paparazzi."[48] She won the award for "Best New Artist" while her single "Paparazzi" won two awards for "Best Art Direction" and "Best Special Effects."[49]

Upper torso of a young blond woman. Her hair falls in waves up to her shoulders. She wears a black shiny bustier and a white wrapping is visible underneath it. On her left hand, just below her underarm, a tattoo is visible.
Gaga performing on The Monster Ball Tour.

In October 2009, Gaga received Billboard magazine's Rising Star of 2009 award.[50][51] She attended the Human Rights Campaign's "National Dinner" on October 10, 2009, before marching in the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. "In the music industry there's still a tremendous amount of accommodation of homophobia. [...] So I'm taking a stand," she commented.[52][53] She performed a rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine", changing the lyrics to refer Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder; the college student's death is a rallying cry for the gay rights movement.[52] In November 2009 she announced the release of The Fame Monster, a collection of eight songs that dealt with the darker side of fame as experienced by her over the course of 2008–2009 while travelling around the world, and are expressed through a monster metaphor. "Bad Romance" was released as the first single from the album. It topped the British, Canadian, Irish, Finish, Danish and Swedish charts while reaching the top-two in the United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.[54][55] On December 11, 2009, she met and sang the song "Speechless" for Queen Elizabeth II.[56] She also announced The Monster Ball Tour associated with the release of her sophomore album.[57] The singer was named chief creative officer for a line of imaging products for Polaroid at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 7, 2010 where she commented that she will create fashion, technology and photography products. "I'm working on bringing the instant film camera back as part of the future."[58]

On January 14, 2010, Gaga had to cancel the Monster Ball concert in West Lafayette, Indiana, due to health concerns; she was having trouble breathing in the hours leading up to the show, and paramedics later stated that she was suffering from an irregular heartbeat as a result of dehydration and exhaustion.[59][60][61] In an interview with Barbara Walters, she dismissed an urban legend, the claim that she is intersexual, and responded to a question on the issue by stating: "At first it was very strange and everyone sorta said, 'That's really quite a story!' But in a sense, I portray myself in a very androgynous way, and I love androgyny."[62] Gaga received her first Grammy Award at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. She was nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Dance Recording for her single "Poker Face", winning the last of the three.[63] The Fame itself had been nominated for Album of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album.[63] She has won all three of her Brit Nominations, winning Best International Breakthrough Artist, Best International Album and Best International Female Solo Artist.[64]


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