“The Fame Monster” is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga, released on November 19, 2009, through Interscope Records. The album was reissued as a two-disc deluxe edition on November 18, 2010, which included additional tracks and remixes. It was preceded by two singles—”Bad Romance” and “Alejandro”—which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.
Content and Composition
Upon its release, “The Fame Monster” generally received positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 78 based on 27 reviews. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.108 million copies, becoming Gaga’s second consecutive million-selling album in the country and her second debut at number one. Doing so made her the only artist in history to have achieved this feat with their first two charting albums. Internationally, the album peaked at number one in Canada and Australia and reached the top five in France and Japan, among others.
Most successful songs on “The Fame Monster” were released as singles before the album’s release. The lead single “Bad Romance” topped charts in over twenty countries worldwide and became Gaga’s highest-charting single at the time on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number two. It was followed by “Telephone,” a duet with Beyoncé Knowles that peaked at number three in the Hot 100, making it Gaga’s third consecutive top-ten single from “The Fame Monster.” The third single, “Alejandro,” peaked at number six on the Hot 100 chart; its accompanying music video won Best Short Form Music Video at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. All other songs were eventually released as promotional singles or as part of live performances.
Critical Reception and Legacy
Ten years after its release, “The Fame Monster” is considered by many critics to be one of Gaga’s best works and a classic pop album of the 21st century. Pitchfork placed it at number 22 on their list of “The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s”, writing that it was “lightyears ahead of its competition.” The Consequence of Sound ranked it fifth on their list of greatest pop albums, while Slant Magazine placed it third on their list of best pop albums. NME listed it as one-half of Gaga’s best work and her debut album “The Fame.” Stereogum named it one of their favorite albums from 2009 while ranking it 171st on their list of best albums from 2000–2009. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked it at 340th on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, while The A.V. Club named it both Gaga’s best record so far and one giant step for pop music in general.”
The Release of “The Fame Monster”
When “The Fame Monster” was released in 2009, it was met with mixed reviews from critics. Some praised Gaga for her willingness to experiment with new sounds and styles, while others criticized her for straying too far from her pop roots. However, looking back on the album ten years later, it’s clear that “The Fame Monster” was a pivotal moment in Gaga’s career—not only did it solidify her status as a pop icon, but it also laid the groundwork for the experimental direction she would take with future albums.
In many ways, “The Fame Monster” serves as a prelude to Gaga’s later work; much like the album itself, her subsequent releases would oscillate between moments of light and darkness. However, unlike “The Fame Monster,” these later albums would lean more heavily into the latter category; tracks like “Million Reasons” and “Shallow” explore much more personal topics such as heartbreak and insecurity. Even though “The Fame Monster” may not be Gaga’s best album, it’s undoubtedly one of her most important—it set the stage for the rest of her career and established her as one of the most daring and innovative artists of our time.
Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster” is considered one of her best works by many critics ten years after its release. It is praised for its composition, commercial performance, and critical reception. Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster” remains an intriguing snapshot of both the artist herself and the zeitgeist of late-2000s pop culture. While its mixture of lighthearted pop songs and more somber ballads may not have won over all of the critics upon its initial release, history has been kinder to “The FameMonster”; today, it is widely regarded as one of Gaga’s best works. If you’re looking for a classic pop album to add to your collection, this is one that you should consider!