Mother Monster is Born: Celebrating 10 Years of ‘The Fame Monster’.

The deluxe edition cover of Lady Gaga's EP, 'The Fame Monster'.

Interscope Records, Streamline Records, Cherrytree Records, KonLive Distribution

The deluxe edition cover of Lady Gaga's EP, 'The Fame Monster'.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

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In 2009, American singer-songwriter and pop icon Lady Gaga was on top of the world. She was topping charts everywhere with her hit singles “Just Dance” with American singer Colby O’Donis, “Poker Face, “LoveGame”, and “Paparazzi” from her massively successful debut album, The Fame, and her flamboyant music videos and extravagant costumes both confused and captivated the public eye.

On November 18, 2009, Gaga continued her pop music takeover with the release of her sophomore effort, The Fame Monster. Originally intended to be a deluxe repackage of The Fame, she felt the albums were conceptually different and decided to release the eight new tracks as both a standalone EP and a deluxe version with The Fame on a second disc.

While keeping the disco, glam rock, and synth pop influences of The Fame, The Fame Monster is the album’s polar opposite, dealing with the dark side of fame and showcasing what Gaga described as “the decay of the celebrity and the way that fame is a monster in society”. She also cited her love for horror films and gothic fashion as her major inspirations for the EP.

Unlike The Fame, The Fame Monster deals with more personal subject matter, and each song represents one of Gaga’s fears or “monsters”: 

  1. “Bad Romance” = “Fear of Love Monster”.
  2. “Alejandro” = “Fear of Men Monster”.
  3. “Monster” = “Fear of Sex Monster”.
  4. “Speechless” = “Fear of Death Monster”.
  5. “Dance in the Dark” = “Fear of Self Monster”.
  6. “Telephone” = “Fear of Suffocation Monster”.
  7. “So Happy I Could Die” = “Fear of Addiction Monster”.
  8. “Teeth” = “Fear of Truth Monster”.

Due to its darker and edgier sound in comparison to her previous work, Gaga’s record label, Interscope, initially refused to release it, but after much persuading, they gave the “OK”, and it’s a good thing they did, because The Fame Monster solidified her place on the pop music scene, as there were still those who doubted her longevity, claiming she’d die out faster than she emerged, however, Gaga put them all to shame when this record.

The lead single, “Bad Romance”, peaked at number #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and since its release in October 2009, it has been certified 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), topped the charts in more than 20 countries, and sold 12 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The second and third singles, “Telephone” with American singer-songwriter Beyoncé and “Alejandro” would earn her even more success, reaching the top ten in multiple countries worldwide, and the final single, “Dance in the Dark”, achieved moderate international chart success.

The EP itself was met with universal acclaim from critics, topping the charts in over ten countries, reaching #5 on the Billboard Top 200, and winning Best Pop Vocal Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2011.

We also can’t forget to mention its iconic tour, The Monster Ball Tour, which ran from November 2009 to May 2011 and grossed a total of 227.4 million dollars from its 203 shows, drawing an audience of 2.5 million and becoming the highest-grossing tour by a debut headlining artist in history.

Since its release ten years ago, The Fame Monster has been hailed as Gaga’s greatest musical effort, as it was not only universally groundbreaking, but the namesake of her fandom, the “Little Monsters”, and the genesis of her title as “Mother Monster”.

Stream The Fame Monster on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/58WSd6SDPOcbnnJ2tq0Ph8?si=LoX_67tRThyw0XF2SMsGGA 

Watch the music video for “Bad Romance”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrO4YZeyl0I 

Watch the music video for “Telephone”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVBsypHzF3U 

Watch the music video for “Alejandro”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niqrrmev4mA