Lady Gaga’s ‘The Fame’ Turns 5: Stan & Deliver
Name: Dan Hughes | Location: London, UK | Twitter: @Daneeeboy
2. LoveGame: There are pop songs that exist to change the world, there are pop songs that exist to further the mythology of the pop star at the helm, and there are pop songs that exist to fill space. “LoveGame” is not a remarkable song, and in 2013 – 5 years after it debuted – it could easily be erased from Gaga’s back catalogue with little consequence. However, this is not to say that “LoveGame” is in any way a bad song; “LoveGame” is a wonderful moment of pop frivolity which served to keep the upstart Lady Gaga machine chugging along at the beginning of her career.
What was remarkable about Lady Gaga when she scrapped her way on to the scene in 2008 was that she was the ultimate party-crasher. In truth, she was a self-styled pretender, borrowing DIY imagery from the greats who proceeded her to try and ‘fit in’ in a world of slickly produced major label products. Her dedication to the art form provided the energy to allow Gaga to compete with the most major of players, and it was momentum that made her a household name.
Lady Gaga released better tracks ahead of “LoveGame” – While “Just Dance” defined her RedOne produced trademark sound, and “Poker Face” dominated the dance floors with its insanely addictive chorus, “LoveGame” is little more than an electro-dance track with a questionable line about taking a ride on your disco stick. As Madonna once correctly asked: “What the hell is a disco stick?” But from her earliest shows through to the release of her second album, “LoveGame” remained a mainstay of her live set lists, and an integral part of the Gaga canon.
By the time the song got the single treatment in 2009, Gaga was already a big name in pop. But the song provided an opportunity for Gaga to further her pop posturing with a beautifully produced video in which she visually references the iconic imagery of Britney’s “Toxic” and Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” It is also the moment in which she solidifies her own iconography, that of the disco-stick wielding pop star from out of space (itself a Bowie reference), all white one-piece and absurd sunglasses, it’s an image that will be trotted out to represent that period in Gaga’s career much like Madonna’s punk bride or Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
It was with followup single “Paparazzi” that Gaga began to destroy the image she had built of herself as a mysterious other-worldly pop being. So “LoveGame” stands as the last testament to a Gaga who was not a megastar, but a girl from Manhattan in a homemade dress with her own smoke machine in the corner of the club desperately seeking our attention.
In the context of The Fame, “LoveGame” sits sandwiched between better tracks. In the context of her career, songs like “Bad Romance” will be remembered for their sonic brilliance, while tracks like “Born This Way” will be remembered for defining the Gaga story, and the frivolous “LoveGame” will be lucky to make a Greatest Hits collection. But 5 years on, one play can take me back to those heady days of 2008, when everything felt new, everything was exciting, and it seemed as if Gaga was about to take us all on a journey to a new world of pop enlightenment.