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''The Fame'' is the debut studio album by American singer Lady Gaga. It was released on August 19, 2008, by Interscope Records. After joining Kon Live Distribution and Cherrytree Records in 2008, Gaga began working on the album with different producers, primarily RedOne, Martin Kierszenbaum, and Rob Fusari. Musically, ''The Fame'' is an electropop, synth-pop, and dance-pop album that displays influences from 1980s music. Lyrically, it visualizes Gaga's love of fame in general, while also dealing with subjects such as love, sex, money, drugs, and sexual identity. The album was primarily promoted through The Fame Ball Tour and multiple television appearances, and was reissued as a deluxe edition with ''The Fame Monster'' on November 18, 2009. The album received generally favorable reviews from critics, who commended its lyrical content, Gaga's musicianship and vocal ability. It was a commercial success, topping the charts in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and Switzerland. In the United States, it peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, ''Billboard'' 200, and also topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart for 110 non-consecutive weeks. ''The Fame'' became the fifth best-selling album of 2009, and has sold over 4.9 million copies in the United States as of January 2019. Combined with ''The Fame Monster'', the album had sold over 15 million copies worldwide as of May 2019. Gaga promoted the album with many television performances, award shows and also in her first headlining tour, The Fame Ball Tour in 2009. The first two singles "Just Dance (song), Just Dance" and "Poker Face (Lady Gaga song), Poker Face" gained international success, topping the charts in several countries worldwide including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The subsequent singles "LoveGame" and "Paparazzi (Lady Gaga song), Paparazzi" were commercial successes as well, charting within the top-ten of over ten countries worldwide. "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" had a limited single release, while "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" served as a promotional single. ''The Fame'' has won List of awards and nominations received by Lady Gaga, multiple awards since its release. In the United States, the album was nominated for a total of five Grammy Awards at the 52nd Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It won the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album and the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for the single "Poker Face", and also won Best International Album at the 2010 Brit Awards. In 2013, ''Rolling Stone'' named ''The Fame'' as one of the "100 Greatest Debut Albums of All-Time". As of 2018, it is the 12th biggest album of all time on the Billboard 200 in the US.


Background and development

While establishing herself as an artist and working her way up through the New York underground music, underground club scene, Gaga released her debut studio album, ''The Fame''. Speaking about the title and concept of the album, Gaga explained: "''The Fame'' is about how anyone can feel famous. [...] popular culture, Pop culture is art. It doesn't make you cool to hate pop culture, so I embraced it and you hear it all over ''The Fame''. But, it's a sharable fame. I want to invite you all to the party. I want people to feel a part of this lifestyle." Gaga stated in an interview with MTV (UK and Ireland), MTV UK that she had been working on the album for two and a half years and completed half of it during the first week of January 2008. As well as writing the lyrics, Gaga worked on the melodies and synth work of the album, with record producer RedOne. According to Gaga, the first track "Just Dance (song), Just Dance" is a joyous, heart-themed song, which appeals to people going through tough times in their life. "LoveGame", the second track, was inspired by Gaga's sexual crush on a stranger in a night club to whom she said, "I wanna ride on your disco stick". It was written in four minutes based on the disco stick hook (music), hook. "Paparazzi (Lady Gaga song), Paparazzi" has been interpreted with different meanings. However Gaga explained in an interview with About.com, that the song was inspired by her struggles and hunger for fame and love. Essentially a love song, "Paparazzi" dealt with enticing the media and asked the question, whether one can have both fame and love. "Poker Face (Lady Gaga song), Poker Face" was inspired by Gaga's boyfriends who enjoyed gambling, and also dealt with her personal experience of bisexuality; her fantasies about women while having sex with men, thus representing her 'poker face'." "Boys Boys Boys" was inspired by the similarly titled Mötley Crüe song "Girls, Girls, Girls (Mötley Crüe song), Girls, Girls, Girls". Gaga explained that she wanted a female version of the song that rockers would like too. "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" summed up her time of self-discovery, living in the Lower East Side and dabbling in drugs and the party scene. "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" was about breaking up with a boyfriend and finding someone new. "Brown Eyes" was inspired by the British rock band Queen (band), Queen and, according to Gaga, is the most vulnerable song on the album. Gaga further clarified the ideas behind ''The Fame'', and her inspirations and visions for the album. She believed that the most important thing missing from contemporary pop music was the combination of the visual imagery of the artist with the music. Gaga incorporated theatrics in her live performances of the songs from the album. Hence she hoped that people would take notice of the performance art, which she was trying to bring back with the album and its music; according to her, the music put the lifestyle in front of it.
"I just feel like this record is really different- you[']ve got club bangers to more 70s glam to more singer-songwriter records to rock music. [...] ''The Fame'' is not about who you are—it's about how everybody wants to know who you are! Buy it and listen to it before you go out or in the car. [...] I think you've really got to allow artists' creativity to marinate. It took me a while but really delving into myself I finally got it. I couldn't be more proud of it. It's not just a record[,] it's a whole pop art movement[.] It's not just about one song."


Composition

Musically, the album combines electropop, synth-pop, and dance-pop, while drawing influences from 1980s music. Songs like "Poker Face (Lady Gaga song), Poker Face", "Just Dance (song), Just Dance" and "LoveGame" are uptempo dance songs, with "Poker Face" carrying a Dark electro, dark sound with clear vocals on the chorus effect, chorus and a pop hook (music), hook. "Just Dance" is synth-based while "LoveGame" has a more dance-oriented beat, and "Money Honey" has a moderate techno groove. All of them combined synths of clipped marching beats, sawing electronic music, electronics and contained mild contemporary R&B, R&B-infused beats. "Paparazzi" carried a sultry beat while "Summerboy" had influences of the music of Blondie (band), Blondie. "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" is credited as a ballad compared to the rest of the dance-fueled tracks from ''The Fame''. The song has a 1980s synth-pop feel to it, while incorporating the "Eh, Eh" hook from Rihanna's single "Umbrella (song), Umbrella" (2007). Lyrically, the songs on ''The Fame'' talk about being famous and achieving popularity; "Poker Face" is about sexual innuendo and teasing. Gaga explained to the ''Daily Star (United Kingdom), Daily Star'' that the lyrics carry a bit of an undertone of confusion about love and sex. According to the BBC, the "Mum-mum-mum-mah" hook used in the song is sampled from Boney M's 1977 hit "Ma Baker". "Just Dance" talks about being intoxicated in a party, with lyrics like "What's going on on the floor? / I love this record, baby but I can't see straight anymore". "LoveGame" portrays a message about love, fame and sexuality. "Paparazzi" portrays a stalker who is following somebody being his or her biggest fan. The lyrics also portray the desire of capturing the attention of the camera as well as achieving fame. Gaga explained that,
"This idea of ''The Fame'' runs through and through. Basically, if you have nothing—no money, no fame—you can still feel beautiful and dirty rich. It's about making choices, and having references—things you pull from your life that you believe in. It's about self-discovery and being creative. The record is slightly focused, but it's also eclectic.[...] The music is intended to inspire people to feel a certain way about themselves, so they'll be able to encompass, in their own lives, a sense of inner fame that they can project to the world, and the carefree nature of the album is a reflection of that aura. I like to funnel interesting ideas to the rest of the world through a pop lens."


Critical reception

''The Fame'' received generally positive reviews from music journalism, music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a standard score, normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an weighted mean, average score of 71, based on 13 reviews. AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the album "music that sounds thickly sexy with its stainless steel synths and dark disco rhythms", and wrote that it is "glorious pop trash and a wicked parody of it." Nicole Powers of ''URB (magazine), URB'' complimented its "irony-laden lyrics, delivered in a style that owes a little something to Gwen Stefani," as well as the album's "deluxe ditties". Mikael Wood of ''Entertainment Weekly'' called it "remarkably (and exhaustingly) pure in its vision of a world in which nothing trumps being beautiful, dirty, and rich. In this economy, though, her high-times escapism has its charms". Alexis Petridis of ''The Guardian'' found it "packing an immensely addictive melody or an inescapable hook, virtually everything sounds like another hit single", and predicted that it "certainly sounds like it could be big." Daniel Brockman from ''The Phoenix (newspaper), The Boston Phoenix'' wrote that "Gaga ups the ante in terms of catchy songwriting and sheer high-in-the-club-banging-to-the-beat abandon." Ben Hogwood of ''musicOMH'' praised Gaga's "blend of sassy attitude, metallic beats and sharp, incisive songwriting", elements which he felt are integral to "creating pop music". Although he panned "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", "Paper Gangsta", and "Brown Eyes", Evan Sawdey of ''PopMatters'' called ''The Fame'' "a solid dance album" and wrote that "much of the album's success can be attributed to rising club producer RedOne." Joey Guerra from the ''Houston Chronicle'' felt that although the songs present in the album are not innovative, Gaga deserved credit for bringing real dance music to the mass. Genevieve Koski of ''The A.V. Club'' felt that the "whole point" of the album is "glitter-laced, dance-inciting energy that bodes well for extended club play". ''Slant Magazine''s Sal Cinquemani viewed that Gaga's lyrics veer between "cheap" and "nonsensical drivel", while her singing is "uneven at best". He added that the highlights such as "Poker Face (Lady Gaga song), Poker Face", "Starstruck", "Paper Gangsta", and "Summerboy" rely "almost solely on their snappy production and sing-along hooks." Freedom du Lac from ''The Washington Post'' criticized the album for lacking originality. ''MSN Music''s Robert Christgau gave the album an "honorable mention" and quippedly referred to it as "shallowness at its most principled." ''The Fame'' garnered five Grammy nominations at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on December 2, 2009. The album itself was nominated for Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Album of the Year and won Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album, Best Electronic/Dance Album.


Commercial performance

In the United States, ''The Fame'' debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200, ''Billboard'' 200 with sales of 24,000 on the issue dated November 15, 2008. After fluctuating down the charts, the album reached number 10 on the issue dated March 7, 2009. The album also topped ''Billboard''s Dance/Electronic Albums chart; it stayed at the number-one spot for 108 non-consecutive weeks. In March 2020, the album was certified six-times RIAA certifications, platinum for shipments of six million copies, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With the release of ''The Fame Monster'', which was also combined with ''The Fame'' as a deluxe edition, the album jumped from 34 to 6 on the ''Billboard'' 200 with sales of 151,000. It reached its highest sales week on the issue dated January 9, 2010 with 169,000 copies sold. On the issue dated January 16, 2010, ''The Fame'' moved to a new peak of two on the ''Billboard'' 200 after being on the charts for 62 weeks. By the end of 2009, ''The Fame'' became the fifth best-selling album of the year. ''The Fame'' has sold 4.9 million copies in the United States as of March 2019 and is the seventh best-selling digital album, selling 1.086 million digital copies. Including equivalent album units, ''The Fame'' has sold 8.8 million in the country. It was ranked at number 12 on the ''Billboard'' Top 200 Albums of All Time list. Following Gaga's Super Bowl LI halftime show performance, ''The Fame'' re-entered the ''Billboard'' 200 at number 6, selling 17,000 copies and 38,000 total album-equivalent units. It has spent a total of 223 weeks on the chart. In Canada, the album reached number-one, and has been certified seven times platinum by Music Canada for shipment of 560,000 copies. It had sold 476,000 copies as of March 2011.Total sales in Canada for ''The Fame'': * * The album debuted at number six, and peaked at number two in New Zealand as well as being certified double platinum. In Australia, the album debuted at number 12 and peaked at number three. The album has been certified sextuple platinum in Australia, by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 420,000 copies. ''The Fame'' debuted in the United Kingdom at number three with first week sales of 25,228 copies. After spending 10 weeks in the top 10, it replaced Ronan Keating's ''Songs for My Mother'' at the top position. Since then, the album spent four consecutive weeks at the number-one spot. It has since been certified ten-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), and has sold 3 million copies as of October 2018. It also became the first album to reach the platinum certification based on digital sales after selling 300,000 units in the UK. The album is the List of best-selling albums of the 2000s (century) in the United Kingdom, ninth best-selling album in the UK of the 21st century, and the List of best-selling albums in the United Kingdom, 31st best-selling album in UK chart history. In France, ''The Fame'' debuted at number 73 and peaked at number two for five weeks. It has been certified diamond status by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique and, as of February 2012, has sold 630,000 copies. In Ireland, the album entered the charts at number-eight, and in its fifth week climbed to number-one for two consecutive weeks. In mainland Europe, the album peaked at number one on the European Top 100 Albums, the Austrian Albums Chart and the German Album Chart. In Germany, it became the fourth most downloaded album ever. It also reached the top 20 in Mexico, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland. Combined with its reissue, ''The Fame Monster'', the album has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.


Promotion


Live performances and media appearances

To promote the album, Gaga did several performances worldwide. Her first televised appearance was on Logo (TV channel), Logo's NewNowNext Awards on June 7, 2008. She also performed on Stylenite, Michalsky StyleNite at Berlin Fashion Week, ''So You Think You Can Dance (American TV series), So You Think You Can Dance'', ''Jimmy Kimmel Live!'', ''The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'', as well as in Vietnam for the Miss Universe 2008, 57th Miss Universe beauty pageant during the swimsuit competition. On January 31, 2009, she performed on television in Ireland on RTÉ One's show ''Tubridy Tonight''. Three songs from ''The Fame'' were used in the Gossip Girl (season 2), second season of The CW's series ''Gossip Girl'': "Paparazzi" in the episode "Summer, Kind of Wonderful", "Poker Face" in "The Serena Also Rises", and "Money Honey" in "Remains of the J". Gaga also performed "Poker Face" on ''American Idol (season 8), American Idol'' on April 1, 2009. To celebrate the launch of the show ''Dirty Sexy Money'', American Broadcasting Company, ABC created a music video of Gaga's song "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich", directed by Melina Matsoukas. It was initially announced as Gaga's second single, but "Poker Face" was chosen instead, with "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" being released as a Promotional recording#Promotional single, promotional single. There were two videos released for the song – the first was composed of clips from ''Dirty Sexy Money'', and the second was the actual music video. The song charted on the UK Singles Chart due to digital downloads and peaked at number 83.


Tour

The album received further promotion from her first headlining concert tour, The Fame Ball Tour, which started on March 12, 2009 in San Diego, California. It was Gaga's first concert tour with North American shows in March, followed by dates in Oceania and a solo trek through Europe. Dates in Asia soon followed, as well as two performances at England's V Festival and two shows in North America that had been postponed from April. Gaga described the tour as a traveling museum show incorporating artist Andy Warhol's pop-performance art concept. Tickets were distributed for charity also. Alternate versions of the show with minimal variations were planned by Gaga to accommodate different venues. The show consisted of four segments, with each segment being followed by a video interlude to the next segment, and it ended with an encore. The set list consisted of songs from ''The Fame'' only. Gaga appeared on the stage in new costumes including an innovative dress made entirely of bubbles and premiered an unreleased song called "Future Love". An alternate set list with minor changes was performed for European dates. The show received positive critical appreciation with critics complimenting her vocal clarity and fashion sense as well as her ability to pull off theatrics like a professional artist.


Singles

"Just Dance" was released as the album's lead single commercially worldwide on June 17, 2008, through digital distribution. The song was critically acclaimed with reviewers complimenting its club anthem-like nature and the synth-pop associated with it. It achieved commercial success by topping charts in the United States, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as reaching the top 10 in 16 other countries. The song received a 51st Grammy Awards, Grammy nomination in the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, Best Dance Recording category but lost to electronic music, electronic duo Daft Punk for their song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger#Structure, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". "Poker Face" was released as the second single from the album. It was also well received by critics, most of whom have praised the robotic hook and the chorus. The single achieved greater success than "Just Dance" by topping the charts in almost all the countries it was released to. "Poker Face" became Gaga's second consecutive number one on the Hot 100. On December 2, 2009, "Poker Face" received three 52nd Grammy Awards, Grammy nominations in the categories of Grammy Award for Song of the Year, Song of the Year, Grammy Award for Record of the Year, Record of the Year, and won for Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, Best Dance Recording. "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" was the album's third single in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark and fourth in France. The song received mixed reviews. Some critics compared it to nineties Europop while the others criticized it for bringing the party-like nature of the album to a halt. It failed to match the success of the previous singles in Australia and New Zealand by reaching 15 and nine, respectively. It peaked at two in Sweden and at seven in France. "LoveGame" was released as the third single in the United States, Canada and some European nations. It was the fourth single in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The song was critically appreciated for its catchy tune and the "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" hook (music), hook. The song has reached the top 10 in countries such as the United States, Australia and Canada and the top 20 in others. "Paparazzi" was announced as the third single in the United Kingdom and Ireland with a release date of July 6, 2009, the fourth single in the United States, and the fifth single overall. The song has reached the top five in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. It also reached the top 10 in the United States. The song has received critical acclaim for its fun-filled, club-friendly nature and is deemed the most memorable and telling song from the album. The associated music video for the song was shot as a mini-movie with Gaga starring as a doomed starlet who is almost killed by her boyfriend, but in the end takes her revenge and reclaims her fame and popularity.


''The Fame Monster''

''The Fame Monster'' is a reissue of ''The Fame'', released on November 18, 2009. Initially planned solely as a part of the deluxe edition of ''The Fame'', Interscope later decided to release the eight new songs as a standalone extended play, EP in select territories. The decision was also due to Gaga believing the re-release was too expensive and that the albums were conceptually different, describing them as yin and yang. The deluxe edition of the album contains ''The Fame'' in its entirety along with ''The Fame Monster''. The album deals with the darker side of celebrity, fame, as experienced by Gaga over the course of 2008–09 while travelling around the world, and are expressed through a Paranoia, monster metaphor. Cover artwork was done by Hedi Slimane and has a gothic look which Gaga had to convince her record company to allow her to shoot. The composition takes its inspiration from gothic rock, Gothic music and fashion shows. Contemporary critics gave mostly positive reviews of the album, with the majority of them complimenting the songs "Bad Romance", "Telephone (song), Telephone", "Dance in the Dark", and "Monster (Lady Gaga song), Monster". In some countries the album charted together with ''The Fame'' while in others like the United States, Canada and Japan, it charted as a separate album. It has reached top 10 in most of the major markets. She announced The Monster Ball Tour supporting the album, which started on November 27, 2009 in Montreal, Canada, and finished on May 6, 2011, in Mexico City, Mexico.


Legacy and impact

With the release of ''The Fame'', Gaga revived electronic dance music during the late 2000s on radio. Jonathan Bogart from ''The Atlantic'' stated, "EDM came in by no back door but right through the front gate, with Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" in 2008" and that "the sound didn't take long to spread". DJ Tommie Sunshine told MTV that "there wouldn't be a David Guetta top 10 hit... there wouldn't be this The Black Eyed Peas, Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D., record, if it wasn't for ''The Fame''. The influence of that record is epic, and we are hearing talking about all of this because of that." ''St. Louis Post-Dispatch'' journalist Kevin C. Johnson with his article "Lady Gaga helps bring EDM to the masses", acknowledges the impact. In the article, Rob Lemon said Gaga "definitely has had influence" and that she "is exposing people to the music, and anybody exposing people to it is part of the machine." Radio personality Zane Lowe and record producer and DJ, Calvin Harris, address the impact of the album in a Beats 1 radio interview. Lowe states: "Mike Skinner (musician), Mike Skinner told me this, cause we were having a debate about Lady Gaga and he was like "One thing you gotta remember about Lady Gaga, she put four-on-the-floor back on American radio" and that "up until that moment there was nothing resembling four-on-the-floor in pop music." Harris adds: "A 100%. They even had a hip-hop version of Poker Face, for radio" and that "it was the 4/4 one that hit, and then it just went ridiculous."


Track listing

Notes * signifies an additional co-producer


Personnel

Personnel adapted from ''The Fame'' liner notes. * Akon – backing vocalist, background vocals * Victor Bailey (musician), Victor Bailey – bass guitar * Vicki Boyd – Artist and repertoire, A&R coordinator * Troy Carter – management * Lisa Einhorn-Gilder – production coordinator * Flo Rida – rapping * Rob Fusari – record producer, production, Executive producer#Music, co-executive producer * Calvin "Sci-Fidelty" Gaines – programming (music), programming, bass guitar * Gene Grimaldi – audio mastering, mastering * Vincent Herbert – executive producer, A&R * Pieter Henket – photography * Tom Kafafian – guitar * Dyana Kass – Chief marketing officer, marketing director * Martin Kierszenbaum – production, A&R * Brian Kierulf – production, arrangement * Lady Gaga – lead and background vocals, production, piano, synthesizers, keys * Leah Landon – management * Candice Lawler – photography * Dave Murga – drums * Colby O'Donis – vocals, background vocals * Robert Orton – Audio mixing (recorded music), mixing * Jennifer Paola – A&R admin * RedOne – production, multi-instrumentalist, instruments, programming, recording, background vocals, co-executive producer * Andrea Ruffalo – A&R coordinator * Dave Russell – recording engineer, engineering * Warwick Saint – photography * Joshua M. Schwartz – production, arrangement * Space Cowboy (musician), Space Cowboy – production, vocals * Joe Tomino – drums * Tony Ugval – engineering * Liam Ward – art director, design


Charts


Weekly charts


Decade-end charts


All-time charts


Year-end charts


Certifications and sales

, - !scope="row", Philippines (Philippine Association of the Record Industry, PARI) , 9× Platinum , 135,000 , - !scope="row", Worldwide , , 15,000,000 , -


Release history


See also

* List of UK Albums Chart number ones of the 2000s#2009, List of UK Albums Chart number ones of the 2000s * List of UK Albums Chart number ones of the 2010s * List of European number-one hits of 2009 * List of European number-one hits of 2010 * List of number-one albums of 2009 (Canada) * List of number-one albums of 2009 (Ireland) * List of number-one albums of 2010 (Ireland) * List of number-one albums of 2011 (Poland) * List of Billboard number-one electronic albums of 2008, List of ''Billboard'' number-one electronic albums of 2008 * List of Billboard number-one electronic albums of 2009, List of ''Billboard'' number-one electronic albums of 2009 * List of Billboard number-one electronic albums of 2010, List of ''Billboard'' number-one electronic albums of 2010 * List of Billboard number-one electronic albums of 2011, List of ''Billboard'' number-one electronic albums of 2011 * List of Billboard number-one electronic albums of 2017, List of ''Billboard'' number-one electronic albums of 2017 * List of number-one hits of 2009 (Austria) * List of number-one hits of 2010 (Germany) * List of number-one hits of 2010 (Switzerland)


References


External links


''The Fame''
at LadyGaga.com
''The Fame'' – Ten Years
at LadyGaga.com {{DEFAULTSORT:Fame, The 2008 debut albums Lady Gaga albums Albums produced by Fernando Garibay Albums produced by Martin Kierszenbaum Albums produced by Lady Gaga Albums produced by RedOne Brit Award for International Album Cherrytree Records albums Concept albums Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronica Album Interscope Geffen A&M Records albums Interscope Records albums