I began listening to Lady Gaga’s record “The Fame” as soon as I began typing this sentence. The record is revolving on my turntable right this instant, however it is not playing at its normal 33 and 1/3 pace. It is playing at least a quarter too slow because I am fascinated by slowing down music on my turntable. It is the best thing you can do to music in my opinion. Playing a record slower than it is meant to be, brings out all of the best and worse parts of it. Wanting to write a review of this record, I decided listen to “The Fame,” and review it song by song how it sounds slowed down.
When listening to the track slowed down, it opens to much more bubbling sounds that you just cannot find when played at full speed. The opening synth sound turns into a cosmic saw burning through the supposed dance floor that Gaga is apparently getting down on. You have heard this song on the radio over and over for the last year probably, because it was all over the charts when it first came out. I have to admit that I was sick of it to. Until I slowed it down. Gaga’s lyrics on the song become less abrasive and more like what I would imagine the serpent sounded like offering the apple. The track and its beat just melt together like butter into a sexy cornbread when it is unhurried. Really though, the best part of the song has to be that synth, God it sounds good.
“Let’s have some fun, this beat is…” sicker than when played at a normal speed. The synth again is a grinding beast, but the thing that shines is Gaga’s vocals. Slowing the record down has dramatically changed her tone and the overall effect of what she is saying. When she says that she is “educated in sex” you believe her. Her voice becomes like a leviathan of hotness. Think Scarlet Johansson meets Bridget Bardot trapped in the love game. Sultry is her voice and combined with the beat it is hard not to saunter around your room doing a slow dance. “Got my ass squeezed by sexy cupid,” and she means it. “Lets play a love game.” Sure Gaga sounds good.
This was my favorite song of Gaga’s when it first came out, and now at the slower speed, it has become one of my most favorite songs of the last ten years. Easily. Instead of harsh surrounding piano-synth sounds, the main instrument here is choppy and really adds to the atmosphere by combining somewhat karate chops of sound flavor. The synth notes come in and out of the beat with slow attacks. Gaga’s voice is incredible in this song as well. It almost sounds like the voice of a siren…only though if it was a siren floating down a lazy river.
“Ma ma ma Mahh.” Slowing this song down helps to turn it into the soundtrack of some sort of bi-friendly carnival ride. This may be one of Gaga’s most popular songs, which is surprising because of its concept. She is telling her man that he can’t read that she is fancying a woman while copulating with him. “Russian Roulette is more fun with a gun,” says Gaga, but this song is more fun because of the slowing down. Her vocals become much lower, sounding at times like Morrissey and at other times like a disco version of Joni Mitchell. When she sings the hook at the end over and over again, it turns into less of a catchy group of words to more of a battle cry. It is very strange. “I wanna roll with him a hard pair we will be.” I believe that any group she is involved with would be hard, because slowed down she sounds like a force to be reckoned with.
Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say):
This song is a departure from the rest of the album. It had no radio play, probably because of its T.L.C. qualities. But the song is great because it boasts disco qualities with its Caribbean beat and the echo-y vocals really shine through. The song starts off with the lyrics “Cherry cherry, boom boom, Gaga,” foreshadowing the poppy nature of the song. Eh, nothing else I can say.
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich:
“We’ve got a redlight pornographic dance fight, systematic honey, but we got no money.” Ok, I believe it. This song is covered with lecherous slime, and I think that is its appeal. It seems like it was written in one of those stalls in a pornographic video cassette rental store on the south side of Wichita Kansas. Slowed down, Gaga sounds like she is singing the lines “Uh bang bang bang / bang bang bag/ beautiful dirty rich” from a dumpster behind a sleaze shop. And maybe she is.
The guitar is the star of this track, sounding like a Foreigner B side riff. Or, it may be more of a seventies glam-rock lead which matches the lyrics, “Give me something I wanna wanna be, retro glamour, Hollywood yes we live for the fame / doing it for the fame.” Slowing the song down is the only way the guitar has this effect. Normally it is not as triumphant. The bridge is written better than any song the Bee gee’s have written, and has a sort of slowed down Kylie Minogue echo-y effect. Gaga says in the song that fame is her teenage dream, and she’s doing to “make it tonight” and I think that this song is the proof of that; the title track to the album that made her famous, both called The Fame.
The pre-chorus of this song descends like a snow leopard on a slick mountain. Gaga says “It’s good to live expensive you know it but / My knees get weak, intensive / When you give me kisses. That’s money honey.” And it is money. Her voice and beat, when slowed, moves down the scale with great care, and you can tell it was crafted to be the perfect pop song. Well, at least the most perfect pop song about being a mistress. The song fits well with the rest of the album, being about taking money from an older man in exchange for explicit things. But the best thing that is brought out by the slowing down of the record is the harmonies in the last thirty seconds of the track. They blend together in an outstanding fashion.
This is the closest thing on the album to a Britney Spears song, or a T-Pain type jam because of the auto-tune that is altering Gaga’s voice. Her vocals sound extra-terrestrial, but the rapper has a smooth shine on his tone due to the descending tempo of the modified record speed. It may sound like a Britney song, but it still is much better than anything she has produced in a long time. At the end of the song, Gaga sounds like what I would imagine the soundtrack to a dinner party with the Talking Heads at Lil Wayne’s house.
Boys Boys Boys:
This is the most likely of her songs to be sung in a high school drama class. This is due to the Grease-like quality of the chorus. The best line in the song is “Love it when you call me legs,” because Gaga’s voice sounds like a ghoul when she sings it close to slow motion.
Apparently Gaga don’t want no paper gangsta, or so she says over and over in this song. What is a paper gangsta? According to the lyrics you need something shiny, a range rover heart, money for dinner, and diamonds. But, if you give them to Gaga they will be “melted into ice” along with your diamond thoughts. The piano in this song is great, and sounds like an old player piano that would be heard in an old western movie. This is a strange instrument to place in a dance song, but it works great. This song is like an old-west-disco minus the threat of tuberculosis.
What do you get when you mix Michael Jackson, Elton John and a twenty-two year old Gaga? This song. It sounds like a choice cut from either Jackson or John, but there are some elements of Freddie Mercury sass as well. It is a ballad which is different than the other tracks on the album, but it does have a major guitar solo right in the middle of it. This is the only song where Gaga lets you see into her thoughts on things other than just fame and the things connected with it. This song is about loss and love, whereas the rest of the album is about gaining money and sex. Lots of sex. Even though the song is different it still fits, but listening to it slowed down, it could be right at home on an eighties power ballad greatest hits album.
I Like it Rough:
Apparently she likes it rough.
This song is the ultimate jam, when slowed down. It starts with the line, “nowhere yah we’re goin’ nowhere fast,” but that’s not true. The song is going everywhere, even when it’s not so fast. The song’s chorus is magnificent. It touches on the same feeling of dirty disco pop that Rilo Kiley flirted with, only this is done much better by Gaga. It has everything for a summer jam; interesting lyrical flow, driving beat, synths, and wicked grooves. If you close your eyes while listening to the bridge, it takes you to a beach date where the only thing you may have to fear is crabs…”I’m a busy girl / Don’t have too much time / Hurry up before I change my mind,” hurry up, because you definitely don’t want to miss out. This Blondie inspired hit is the best way Gaga could have ended the album.
“A year from now, I could go away, and people might say, ‘Gosh, whatever happened to that girl who never wore pants?’ But how wonderfully memorable 30 years from now, when they say, ‘Do you remember Gaga and her bubbles?’ Because, for a minute, everybody in that room will forget every sad, painful thing in their lives, and they’ll just live in my bubble world.” Gaga said this to a New York Magazine columnist a few days ago, and I think that it sums up the album and her life, so far, pretty well. In this album and in her life she is trying to just make an experience for people. The fact that the record turned out to be good only helped her in making this experience more widespread. Will you remember anything about Lady Gaga in thirty years? Probably so, but not that much. But, if you listen to her record “The Fame” slowed down you will enjoy it so much that you may remember it for longer than if you just listened to it at its normal speed.