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The Fame Monster is the third extended play (EP) by American recording artist Lady Gaga. It was released on November 18, 2009 through Interscope Records. Initially planned to be included on a re-release of Gaga's debut studio album, The Fame, she announced that the eight tracks would be included on a standalone release, saying that she thought the re-release was too expensive and that the albums were each conceptually different, describing them as Yin and yang respectively. A Super Deluxe edition of The Fame Monster including The Fame and additional merchandise, including a lock of Gaga's wig, was released on December 15, 2009.
Musically, The Fame Monster is a pop album influenced by a number of genres, prominently the disco, glam rock and synthpop music of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as industrial and Gothic music. The album was also inspired by fashion shows and runways. According to Gaga, the album deals with the darker side of fame, including love, sex, alcohol and more. Lyrically, they are expressed through a monster metaphor. The cover artwork was done by Hedi Slimane and has a Gothic theme, as described by Gaga herself. The artwork was originally declined by her record company, however, Gaga convinced them to go through with it. The Fame Monster received generally favorable reviews from music critics. In some countries, the album charted with The Fame, and topped the charts in multiple nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, and Switzerland. In the United States, it reached number five on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
Its lead single, "Bad Romance", was a commercial success, topping the charts in more than twenty countries worldwide, while reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The next two singles, "Telephone" and "Alejandro" were successful as well, reaching the top ten in multiple countries worldwide. "Dance in the Dark" was only released as a single in select territories, but received moderate success in some countries, and receiving a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the 53rd Grammy Awards. "Speechless", "Monster", "So Happy I Could Die" and "Teeth" charted in multiple countries as well, despite not being released as singles. The Fame Monster has won multiple awards since its release. It was nominated in a total of six categories at the 53rd Grammy Awards, winning Best Pop Vocal Album.
The Fame Monster received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 78, based on 14 reviews.Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine felt that the album was not a huge leap forward for Gaga, but provided "small, if fleeting, glimpses behind the pretense."Simon Price of The Independent called it "a whole new piece of art in its own right."Kitty Empire from The Observer said that the album is "a lot more splendidly deranged."Sarah Hajibagheri from The Times commented that the album "lack the beat and bite that made us all go Gaga for the eccentric New Yorker."Josh Modell of Spin commented that "When Gaga reaches for sincere balladry she sounds lost".Evan Sawdey from PopMatters commended Gaga for being "willing to try new things" and felt that the album shows "she’s not complacent with doing the same thing over again … Gaga is allowed to make a few mistakes on her way towards pop nirvana—and judging what she’s aiming for with The Fame Monster, there’s a good chance she’s going to get there sooner than later."
Mikael Woods from Los Angeles Times felt that The Fame Monster continued to demonstrate Gaga's creative ambition and stylistic range.Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone felt that "half the disc is Madonna knock-offs, but that's part of the concept—fame monsters needn't concern themselves with originality."Edna Gundersen from USA Today believed that on The Fame Monster, "Gaga's icy aloofness and seeming aversion to a genuine human connection leave a disturbing void. With an avant-garde intellect, pop-electro eccentricities and freaky theatrics competing for attention, there's no room for heart."Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph commented that the album has an "an irrepressible quality that is given full rein. Although not as thematically integrated as the original Fame, Gaga’s vivacious energy, bold melodies and almost comically relentless sensationalism keeps things interesting."MSN Music's Robert Christgau found it to be of "comparable quality" as The Fame and gave it an "A–",indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction".
In 2010, Gaga won the "Outstanding Music Artist" award for The Fame Monster, during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.The album and its songs were nominated for six awards at the 53rd Grammy Awards. The EP in its entirety was nominated for Album of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album."Bad Romance" won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video; her single "Telephone" was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and "Dance in the Dark" earned a nomination for Best Dance Recording.
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