Dance in the Dark

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This article is about the Lady Gaga song. For the racehorse, see Dance in the Dark (horse).
Not to be confused with Dancer in the Dark or Dancing in the Dark.
"Dance in the Dark"
Face of a blond woman, whose platinum blond hair is shaped in a bob cut. She wears a shiny dark colored dress and has a black mask with strings around it on her eyes. The woman tilts her head to the right. Beneath her chin, the words "Lady Gaga" and "Dance in the Dark" are written in white bold font.
Single by Lady Gaga
from the album The Fame Monster
Released July 26, 2010 (2010-07-26)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2009; Metropolis Studios, London, England
Genre
Length 4:49
Label Streamline, Kon Live, Cherrytree, Interscope
Writer(s) Stefani Germanotta, Fernando Garibay
Producer(s) Fernando Garibay, Lady Gaga[1]
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Alejandro"
(2010)
"Dance in the Dark"
(2010)
"Born This Way"
(2011)

"Dance in the Dark" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga, from her third EP, The Fame Monster. Inspired by Gaga's "Fear of Self Monster", the song deals with the intimate experience between two people alone in a bedroom. According to Gaga, the record is about a girl who likes to have sex with the lights off because she is embarrassed about her body. She explained that she came across such women while working on the MAC AIDS Fund, and that the song is not about freedom, but rather the assurance that Gaga understood their feelings. The song was initially planned to be released after "Telephone", but due to a dispute between Gaga and her record company, "Alejandro" was released instead. It was later released as a digital download and radio-only single in Australia, Belgium, and France.

A synthpop and dance-pop song, "Dance in the Dark" contains retro and new wave music, and begins with a stuttering introduction. It includes a spoken interlude, where Gaga says the names of famous people whose lives ended tragically. The song has received mostly positive reviews from critics. It charted on the lower regions of the UK Singles Chart and Billboard '​s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, while reaching the top-thirty in Australia and the top-ten in Slovak Republic, Hungary and Czech Republic.

Gaga performed "Dance in the Dark" as the opening song of The Monster Ball Tour. In the first leg of the tour, she appeared behind a scrim-lit screen to perform the song, while in the revamped shows, Gaga performs it on a set reminiscent of a New York City night scene. The song was also performed at the 2010 BRIT Awards, where Gaga dedicated it to her close friend, Alexander McQueen, who had committed suicide a few days earlier. It was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 53rd Grammy Awards, but lost to Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)".[2]

Background[edit]

Gaga told Los Angeles Times that the inspiration behind "Dance in the Dark" as being the intimate experience taking place between two people alone in a bedroom, the fear of Sex Monster. According to her, the record is about a girl who likes to have sex with the lights off, because she is embarrassed about her body. "She doesn't want her man to see her naked. She will be free, and she will let her inner animal out, but only when the lights are out," Gaga explained.[3] She added that like the song, she has to struggle with issues of body image and self-doubt in her own life.[4] While working on the MAC AIDS Fund, she realized that women of her age do not speak their mind, in fear that their boyfriends would not love them if they did so.[3]

"All of these new things entering my life are changing the way I view my purpose, but 'Dance in the Dark' in particular is about me wanting to live—but also, the song isn't called 'Dance in the Light'. I'm not a gospel singer trying to cross people over. What I'm saying is, 'I get it. I feel you, I feel the same way, and it's OK.'

"I hope and pray that I can inspire some sort of change in people subliminally through the show. They're singing 'Dance in the Dark,' but they're dancing and they're free, they're letting it out. But the songs are not about freedom, they're about [the fact that] I get it. I feel the way you feel."[3][4]

According to MTV, the song was initially planned to be released after "Telephone", but due to a dispute between Gaga and her record company, "Alejandro" was released instead.[5] The song was released to the Belgian iTunes as a promotional single from the album, along with "Alejandro".[6]

Composition[edit]

A 28-second sample of "Dance in the Dark". The song has influences of retro and new wave music in its composition, and features Gaga singing in a synth-like voice.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Dance in the Dark" is a synthpop and dance-pop song, with influences of retro and new wave music.[7][8] Michael Hubbard from musicOMH wrote that the song begins with a stuttering introduction and orgasmic groans, followed by Gaga singing the song.[9] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Dance in The Dark" was written in the time signature of common time, with a tempo of 121 beats per minute.[10] It is composed in the key of D minor with Gaga's vocal range spanning from Bb3 to D5. It follows a basic sequence of Am–Dm/A–F/A–G as its chord progression.[10] A spoken interlude is also present.[11]

The lyrics of the song refer to vampires and werewolves: "Run run her kiss is a vampire grin/The moon lights her way while she's howlin' at him". Gaga explained that the lines were means of expressing how people rely on external motivations to cope with internal anxiety. "She doesn't feel free without the moon," Gaga said. "These lyrics are a way for me to talk about how I believe women and some men feel innately insecure about themselves all the time. It's not sometimes, it's not in adolescence, it's always."[3] The spoken interlude refers to famous people who met with a tragic end of their lives, namely Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Sylvia Plath, JonBenét Ramsey, Liberace, Jesus Christ, Stanley Kubrick, and Princess Diana.[8][12]

Critical reception[edit]

The song has received positive reviews from critics, with many citing it as a highlight of the album. Paul Lester from BBC felt that the song was "generic machine RnB".[13] Evan Sawdey from PopMatters commented that "Dance in the Dark", along with "Monster" are a "delightfully dirty retro workout ..... to make for one surprisingly effective pop cocktail."[7] Scott Plagenhoef from Pitchfork Media felt that Gaga had morphed into Madonna on the song.[14] Nick Levine from Digital Spy commented that "'Dance in the Dark' is the sort of song that, well, makes you want to dance with your top off in a grotty German bondage basement."[12] Edna Gunderson from USA Today called the song "campy".[11]

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine commented that "'Bad Romance' and 'Dance in the Dark' are stacked with towering new-wave synths and seemingly endless hooks; if melodies could be time-stamped, these would have "'80s" branded on their asses. [...] The song isn't a cautionary tale per say [sic], but a call to arms to misfits everywhere." She went on to declare the song as one of the highlights of The Fame Monster but added that "After a stuttering intro of orgasmic groans it becomes a little bit Gaga-by-numbers, which is a shame given the standard of the early tracks".[8] Ben Patashnik from NME felt that "Dance in the Dark", along with another song "Monster", was "slightly disposable".[15] Michael Hubbard from MusicOMH complimented the song for its "monumental chorus and some Madonna-esque spoken-word moments, including this shout out to a lost Royal: 'You will never fall apart Diana, you're still in our hearts / Never let you fall apart / Together we'll dance in the dark.'"[9]

Chart performance[edit]

In Hungary, the song debuted on the Mahasz Single Top 10 lista chart at number nine on November 30, 2009 but fell off the chart the next week.[16] In the United Kingdom, "Dance in the Dark" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at eighty-nine on December 12, 2009, but was present on the chart for one week.[17] In Canada, the song charted on the Canadian Hot 100 at position 88 on the issue dated November 11, 2009, for one week only.[18] "Dance in the Dark" debuted at number 93 on the Australian Singles Chart, after it was released to Australian radio, moving to number 43 and then 24 in the following weeks.[19] In France, the song entered the French Digital Singles Chart at forty and has thus far reached a peak of thirty.[20][21] On the Billboard issue dated August 21, 2010, "Dance in the Dark" debuted on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at position 22,[22] and on the Hot Dance/Electronic Digital Songs at number nine, on the issue dated October 9, 2010.[23] The song has sold 120,000 digital downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.[24]

Live performances[edit]

Gaga performing "Dance in the Dark" in the original shows of The Monster Ball Tour.

Gaga performed "Dance in the Dark" as the opening song of The Monster Ball Tour. The show began with Gaga appearing behind a giant, green laser lit video screen featuring scrim lights, in a futuristic silver jewelled jumpsuit with bulbs on it.[25][26] She had matching eye makeup and wore a mask, beginning to sing "Dance in the Dark", "while dancers dressed in white balaclavas and white jumpsuits moved around her."[27][28] The scrim resembled an electric math grid which was lifted during the performance.[29][30] Jane Stevenson from Toronto Sun felt that it was not until Gaga had moved on to the next song after "Dance in the Dark", that the Monster Ball "was alive".[27] In the revamped 2010-11 shows of The Monster Ball tour, the song was once again added as the opening song of the setlist, as a part of the segment titled "City". Gaga performed it in a set, reminiscent of New York City night scene, with flickering neon signs displaying the words "Ugly", "Sexy" and "Liquor", fire escape stairwells and a broken yellow taxi.[31]

Gaga performed "Dance in the Dark" at the BRIT Awards on February 16, 2010, at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The performance was inspired by the recent death of her friend, fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Initially she had planned a different version of the performance, but changed the concept at the last minute, since she wanted to pay tribute to McQueen.[32] Hence she chose acoustic versions of her songs "Telephone" and "Dance in the Dark". She started the performance by sitting in front of a piano and announcing "This is for Alexander McQueen."[33] The whole performance was low-key compared to her previous ones.[32] The stage was decked out in white, and perched on a pedestal was a statue of Gaga wearing a piano skirt and the lobster-claw heels she wore in her "Bad Romance" music video. After finishing an acoustic performance of "Telephone", she got up from her piano as the disco groove of "Dance in the Dark" was heard throughout the room. She wore a lace bodysuit and a large bouffant wig, took to a giant keytar and performed a techno rendition of the track. After the show, she posted a message on her Twitter account: "Tonight's performance is inspired by our friend. Mask by Phillip Treacy, Sculpture by Nick Knight, Music by Lady Gaga. We miss you."[33]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[6]
  1. "Dance in the Dark" – 4:49
  1. "Dance in the Dark" (Monarchy 'Stylites' Remix) – 6:10

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Fame Monster album liner notes.[1]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009–11) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[19] 24
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[19] 33
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia)[19] 48
Canadian Hot 100[18] 88
Czech Airplay Chart[35] 10
French Digital Singles Chart[21] 30
Hungarian Singles Chart[16] 9
Polish Dance Club Singles Chart[36] 38
Slovak Airplay Chart[37] 6
UK Singles Chart[17] 89
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[22] 22
US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs[23] 9

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
Belgium[6] November 9, 2009 Digital download
Australia[38] July 26, 2010 Contemporary hit radio
France[39] August 25, 2010 Mainstream airplay

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Fame Monster (Liner notes). Lady Gaga. Interscope Records. 2009. 2726601. 
  2. ^ "53rd Annual Grammy Awards nominees list". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d Powers, Ann (2009-12-15). "Gaga Wisdom: Words from the Lady, Part 2". Los Angeles Times (Gannett Company). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  4. ^ a b Ditzian, Erik (2009-12-16). "Lady Gaga Explains Real Meaning Of 'Dance In The Dark'". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  5. ^ Reporter, MTV (2010-04-06). "Lady GaGa Will Release Alejandro As Next Single". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  6. ^ a b c "Lady Gaga – "Dance in the Dark" – Belgium iTunes". iTunes Belgium. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  7. ^ a b Sawdey, Evan (2009-11-23). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster < Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  8. ^ a b c Cinquemani, Sal (2009-11-18). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  9. ^ a b Hubbard, Michael (2009-11-23). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster, track-by-track". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  10. ^ a b Germanotta, Stefani; Laursen, Jeppe (2011). "Digital Sheet Music – Lady Gaga – Dance in the Dark". Musicnotes.com. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. 
  11. ^ a b Gunderson, Edna (2009-11-24). "Listen Up: Lady Gaga's 'Fame Monster' is so cool, it's cold". USA Today. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  12. ^ a b Levine, Nick (2009-11-23). "Music – Album Review – The Fame Monster". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  13. ^ Lester, Paul (2009-11-20). "Lady Gaga The Fame Monster Review". BBC. BBC Online. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  14. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (2010-01-13). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  15. ^ Patashnik, Ben (2009-12-03). "Album review: Lady Gaga – 'The Fame Monster' (Polydor)". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  16. ^ a b "Single (track) Top 10 lista – November 30, 2009" (in Hungarian). Mahasz. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  17. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - Dance In The Dark by Lady Gaga Search". The Official Charts Company. 29 June 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Billboard – Lady Gaga – Singles Discography". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Lady Gaga – Dance in the Dark (Song)". Ultatop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  20. ^ "Le classements Telechargement-Titres Singles" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Disqueenfrance.net. 2010-09-19. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  21. ^ a b "Download Single Top 50" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Hung Medien. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  22. ^ a b "Bubbling Under and other charts". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 131 (38). 2010-08-21. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on 2011-07-12. 
  23. ^ a b "Hot Dance/Electronic Digital Songs". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 131 (45). 2010-10-09. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on 2011-07-12. 
  24. ^ Grein, Paul (2010-09-12). "Week Ending Sept. 12, 2010: The Dulcet Tones Of Bruno Mars". Yahoo!. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  25. ^ Foucher, David (2009-12-02). "Lady Gaga "The Monster Ball"". Edge (Edge Publications, Inc). Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  26. ^ Harrington, Jim (2009-12-14). "Review: Lady Gaga thrills S.F. crowd with strange, sexy show". San Jose Mercury News (MediaNews Group). Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  27. ^ a b Stevenson, Jane (2009-11-29). "Lady Gaga puts on a Monster show". Toronto Sun (Sun Media Corporation). Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  28. ^ Dunlevy, T'Cha (2009-11-28). "Concert review: Lady Gaga romances Bell Centre crowd, Nov. 27". The Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  29. ^ Montogomery, James (2009-12-19). "Lady Gaga Brings San Diego A Feast For The Eyes And Ears?". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  30. ^ Adams, Jeremy (2009-12-02). "Live Review: Lady Gaga Brings Her Pop Theatricality to Boston in First U.S. 'Monster Ball' Show". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  31. ^ Hubbard, Michael (2010-02-26). "Lady GaGa @ O2 Arena, London". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  32. ^ a b WSJ Staff (2010-02-16). "Lady Gaga Performs "Telephone," "Dance in the Dark" As Tribute to Alexander McQueen at Brit Awards". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  33. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (2010-02-16). "Lady Gaga Pays Tribute To Alexander McQueen At Brit Awards". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  34. ^ "Lady Gaga: The Remix". Universal Music Japan. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  35. ^ "RADIO TOP100 Oficiální – Lady Gaga – Dance in the Dark". IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  36. ^ "Top w dyskotekach" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  37. ^ "RADIO TOP100 Oficiální – Lady Gaga – Dance in the Dark". IFPI Slovakia. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  38. ^ "Lady Gaga – Dance In The Dark". The Music Network (Peer Group Media) (797). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  39. ^ "'Dance In The Dark', le nouveau single de Lady Gaga". Universal Music France. 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 

External links[edit]