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Happy birthday, Lady Gaga!

Since today is Lady Gaga's 28th birthday (no 27 Club for her, thank goodness), I thought it would be fun to share the story of how I got to know and came to love her. I know the day's almost over (well, depending on your time zone), but I knew I had to write a post about it.


I first heard about Gaga back in January or February 2009, after online commentators suggested that Christina Aguilera had borrowed Gaga's style, to which Xtina responded by stating that she wasn't sure if Gaga was a man or a woman (I kid you not). I mentioned this incident to one of my best friends, who quickly dismissed Gaga as a poseur. We decided to check out some of her music videos, and we soon concluded that she wasn't that bad. It all changed during a fateful weekend in early March (I remember it was my sister's birthday), when I decided to give "Poker Face" another chance, and I got instantly addicted to the song and its video—there was something about Gaga slowly emerging from a pool wearing a mirror mask as those ice-cold synths played in the background that really creeped into my brain. Next thing I knew, I was playing her debut album, The Fame, nonstop. Even my aforementioned friend eventually admitted that Gaga had grown on her!



At that point, I was completely obsessed with everything Gaga did—her fashion, her live performances, her statements, her concepts. I just found her so fresh, exciting, and inspiring, not to mention the girl could sing. I honestly didn't know that many artists that were as eccentric or thought-provoking as her, and as a fan of stuff like soul, R&B, and jazz, I hadn't been properly exposed to synthpop, or electronic music in general. Everything else looked and sounded so dull to me, and I simply refused to lump her in with just any ordinary pop star. With a little help of Last.fm, Gaga introduced me to other artists of the genre, including Little Boots, La Roux, Goldfrapp, Robyn, Annie, Ladyhawke, and The Knife, to name just a few.

2009 was a really weird and bittersweet year for me. It was extremely exciting and extremely bleak all at once, and I'm really glad Gaga was a part of it. In December of that year, Gaga released The Fame Monster, the darker, more personal companion to The Fame. Themes included love, sex, alcohol, and loneliness. Although songs and videos like "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" would cement her status as a global superstar, the album also included brilliant yet criminally overlooked songs such as "Dance in the Dark," "So Happy I Could Die," and "Monster."




In 2011, Gaga released her second studio album, Born This Way, whose main themes were self-empowerment and individualism. Despite all the controversies surrounding the album's release (the alleged similarities between the title track and Madonna's "Express Yourself," "Judas" being released near Holy Week and Easter, Amazon's 99-cent sale of the album, canceling her tour prematurely due to a hip injury), and in my honest opinion, the questionable single choices, the album managed to produce some awesome—and again, underrated—tracks, namely "Government Hooker," "Bad Kids," "Heavy Metal Lover," "Electric Chapel," and "Scheiße."



Gaga's third studio album, ARTPOP, was released last November. As I opined in my personal review, the album has its fair share of exciting moments, but I didn't find it as consistent as Gaga's previous offerings. The album has been subject to much media scrutiny, with several commentators pointing out its underperforming sales. To make matters worse, the music video for one of my favorite songs from the album, "Do What U Want," involved two of the most controversial people at the momentR. Kelly, who is featured on the song, and Terry Richardson, who was going to direct the video. I highly doubt the "Do What U Want" video will ever see the light of day, but luckily, Gaga seems to be back on her feet, as she released the music video for "G.U.Y." last Saturday, a video that reminded me why I fell in love with her in the first place.



Love her or hate her, so much could be said about Lady Gaga—way more than I can remember right now. Granted, I'm not sure if I'll ever get all wet over a new Gaga release like I used to in 2009–10, but to me she remains one of the most creative and multitalented artists of our generation, and she will always hold a special place in my heart.

Happy birthday, Mother Monster.


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