So who is the Lady Gaga you needn’t be a monster to enjoy? Impulsive and willing to make mistakes, she uses her big ego and bigger emotions for good — to work herself hard and make waves. She campaigned outspokenly against don’t-ask-don’t-tell and shovels money to homeless LGBT youth. She never appears in public out of character and she never acts the diva offstage. She spends more on her shows and videos than a shrewd capitalist would. She’s funnier than her putative peers, with an absurdist streak that reflects her downtown history. And none of this would mean a thing if she hadn’t learned how to deploy her hook sense and vocal muscle in mammoth anthems that began with one called “Just Dance” and never stopped coming.
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— Robert Christgau (The Barnes & Noble Review)
10. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
“In theory, she was an artist you want to root for—all these ideas about art and celebrity and a flair for the dramatic. But the first few singles made the Lady Gaga project feel so presumptuous, her artsy entitlement overwhelming her songs’ occasional strengths. ‘Bad Romance‘ was the moment where the music didn’t just live up to the (self-inflated) hype, but surpassed it. The track is epic in construction– by the time she gets to the bridge, more than three minutes in, the realization that there are hooks yet to come is thrilling. It helps that RedOne‘s production matches the songwriting’s torrential drama; the churning, earth-shifting low-frequency synths are a programmatic reflection of the singer’s unsteady, perhaps unwise, infatuation. But it’s Gaga’s performance, the wholly unapologetic fools-rush-in carnal energy, that commitment to emotional bravery in a context of increasingly twee chart pop, that makes ‘Bad Romance’ feel so necessary.” (Pitchfork Media) Continue reading “Greatest Songs of 2009, #10 to #6”