Capitol may have hoped 2008 would see Katy Perry emerge as the year’s leading breakout act, but there was no doubt that title was held by Lady GaGa by the year’s end, overshadowing the singer’s ‘One of the Boys‘ with her critic-pleasing LP ‘The Fame.’
World domination came next, seeing the native New Yorker become Pop’s fastest rising star, riding on a wave of infectious Pop bops, fashion-fuelled headlines and fans that saw her brand rise to rival Beyonce‘s, earning two collaborations with the “selective” chanteuse.
However, it wouldn’t be long before things to a turn for the worst, beginning with the release of the singer’s second studio album ‘Born This Way‘, marking the start of the singer’s commercial decline and fall from grace in the eyes of the general public.
So, what did her first two eras (see ‘The Fame Monster‘) serve that the panned ‘Born’ didn’t?
Our theory? “Black” music.
A blanket term to describe any sound born out of the African-American experience, “Black” music (or Urban) has played a major part in the success stories of many an Interscope act, including the subject of this article.
Indeed, where other labels have failed to arm Pop acts with Urban music successfully, Interscope has succeeded, credited for the success of the undeniably authentic Fergie, Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado, all of whom enjoyed major success with Hip Hop kissed releases shortly before GaGa’s arrival.
Though ‘Just Dance’ served as its lead single, it was the rap-sung ‘Poker Face‘ that kicked off ‘The Fame‘s chart reign, doing so with help of a video akin to that of Remy Ma‘s ‘Conceited’, a Boney M. sample, and a culturally diverse crew of backing dancers…performing moves whipped up by former ‘Fly Girl’ Laurieann Gibson.
GaGa has found a formula, and an authentic one at that, fusing Synthpop with R&B / Hip Hop flavoured melodies to create a sound that was to take her to the top.
Indeed, save for ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Speechless’ and ‘Just Dance‘, GaGa singles followed this aforementioned formula.
There’s ‘LoveGame’ and its rapped intro, R&B soaked melody and a middle eight that may remind some of that of 3LW’s ‘I Do.‘
There’s ‘Alejandro’, inspired by the Ace of Base reggae fusion classic ‘All That She Wants‘…inspired by the Nigerian recording artist Kayo’s ‘Another Mother.’
When ‘Telephone’, ‘Monster’, ‘So Happy I Could Die’, ‘Starstruck’ and ‘Fashion‘ are thrown into the mix it’s easier to understand why the last GaGa single to receive a GaGa-sized was the mid-tempo synthpop and R&B track.
It would seem, after ‘Born’s failure to fly, that GaGa is at her best when she “goes back to Black.”