LoveGame

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"LoveGame"
Head shot of a blond woman from the left. She places her left hand on her forehead and tilts it backwards. Her lips are slightly parted as if in a moan. The arm is painted in blue and violet colors and glitters are pasted on it. Similar glitters are placed on the woman's left cheek also.
Single by Lady Gaga
from the album The Fame
Released March 24, 2009
Format CD single, digital download, 7" vinyl
Recorded 2008; Record Plant Studios (Hollywood), Chalice Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)[1]
Genre
Length 3:33
Label Streamline, Kon Live, Cherrytree, Interscope
Writer(s) Stefani Germanotta, Nadir Khayat[2]
Producer(s) RedOne
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)"
(2009)
"LoveGame"
(2009)
"Chillin"
(2009)

"LoveGame" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga from her debut album, The Fame (2008). Produced by RedOne, the track was released as the album's third single in North America and Europe and the fourth single in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden after "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)". "LoveGame" was also released as the fourth single in the United Kingdom, after "Paparazzi".

The song was critically appreciated for its tune and the "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" hook. Gaga had explained that the term "disco stick" is a euphemism for a penis and was inspired by her sexual attraction with a stranger at a night club. Musically carrying the vibe of underground New York discos, the song talks about love, fame and sexuality which was the central theme of the album. "LoveGame" has charted within the top ten in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other European countries. It became Gaga's third consecutive number-one song on the Billboard Pop Songs chart.

The New York underground inspired music video for the song, portrayed Gaga dancing through an underground subway station and in a parking lot. The music video was a tribute by Gaga to the New York lifestyle including its glamour, fans and fashion. The diamond like coating on her body is reminiscent of Britney Spears' video of her hit single "Toxic". The video has several qualities of Michael Jackson's "Bad" music video, which also took place in a subway station. In Australia, the music video was banned from being aired at the PG rated time slots because of its sexual content. "LoveGame" has been performed live a number of times by Gaga, including her first headlining The Fame Ball and Monster Ball tours, where she performed it while holding her "trademark" disco stick in one hand.

Background[edit]

Faraway image of a stage lit by red light and backdrops of flames. A potlight falls on a female blond woman in the center who wears a large white headdress and holds a stick in her left hand. She is surrounded by similar dressed male dancers who also wear a half-sleeved jacket.
Lady Gaga performing "LoveGame" on The Born This Way Ball Tour.

"LoveGame" was written by Lady Gaga and RedOne who also produced the track. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gaga explained the meaning of the song and her inspiration behind it, especially for the line "Let's have some fun this beat is sick / I wanna take a ride on your disco stick". She said,

"It's another of my very thoughtful metaphors for a cock. I was at a nightclub, and I had quite a sexual crush on somebody, and I said to them, 'I wanna ride on your disco stick'. The next day, I was in the studio, and I wrote the song in about four minutes. When I play the song live, I have an actual stick – it looks like a giant rock-candy pleasuring tool – that lights up.[3]

While commenting in regards to the lyrical content of the song "LoveGame," on Australian talk show Rove, Gaga said that she is unrepentant about her "disco stick" metaphor, though it led to a banning of the music video on Network Ten in Australia. She further said,

"I don't think disco stick is subtle. It's very clear what that lyric is all about. If anything, I happen to think people are frivolously hard on me. A lot of youth-oriented pop music is much racier than mine. 'Throw me on the floor, take off my clothes, give it to me, baby, let's dirty dance'. All these records are so provocative, but it's the context of what I'm doing that makes people concerned.[...] It's the music in relation to the visual, in relation to the way I move and the way I articulate the lyrics. But if I wanted to make music to make people sing 'la di da' that would be very boring."[4]

Composition[edit]

A 23-second sample of Gaga's "LoveGame" where the chorus is played backed by the line "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick."

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Musically "LoveGame" is an uptempo electropop and dance-pop song. According to Kerri Mason of Billboard, the composition "carry the pleather-and-sequins vibe of the downtown New York scene out of the underground and onto the FM dial without losing its smut and sass."[5] "LoveGame" has received a number of remix treatments, one of which featured rocker Marilyn Manson in the vocals.[6] Gaga explained that the lyrics of "LoveGame" were very clear about what the song is all about. She thought that the lyrics portrayed a powerful message about love, fame and sexuality which was the central theme of her album The Fame.[4] "LoveGame" is set in the time signature of common time and is composed in the key of B minor with a moderate tempo of 104 beats per minute. Gaga's vocal range spans from B3 to G5. It follows in the chord progression of Am–Dm–C–Am–Dm–C in the first two verse and chorus while progressing as Am–Dm–Am–Dm in the intermediate verse before the final chorus.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

A blond woman in a nude colored leotard is flanked by two males in nude body suit and blue jacket. The woman's chest and the hand and head of the two males are covered by skeletal masks. The woman has glitter surrounding her eyes.
Gaga performing "LoveGame" on The Monster Ball Tour, flanked by her dancers, all of them wearing skeletal headgear.

The song received mostly positive reviews from critics. The Phoenix music editor Daniel Brockman said that "Gaga ups the ante in terms of catchy song writing and sheer high-in-the-club-banging-to-the-beat abandon." He also commented on the lyrics saying that "'Let's have some fun, this beat is sick/I wanna take a ride on your disco stick' might be the trashiest-yet-awesomest refrain I’ve heard on a major-label record this year."[8] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine commented that the song has "cheap" lyrics and it "painfully enunciates without any resemblance of actual sex appeal".[9] While reviewing The Fame, BBC said that the song sounded robotic in the line "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick". But it was deemed as brilliant as well as utterly cold which "leaves us awarding Gaga the yearbook title of 'pop star most likely to kill'."[10]

Ben Hogwood from MusicOMH.com declared the song as "top notch, diamond-encrusted pop" along with other tracks like "Starstruck" and "Paparazzi" but commented that the lyrics were sometimes odd especially the statement, "I'm on a mission, and it involves some heavy touchin'."[11] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe said that the song "has a gutter level quippage with sinuous moves."[12] Priya Elan from The Times was not impressed with the song and called it calculated.[13] Billboard music editor Chris Williams gave the song a positive review, commenting that "It has all the winning ingredients of its predecessors: a radio-friendly, club/electropop feel; a provocative, yet silly enough catchphrase and hook ("Let's have some fun, this beat is sick/I wanna take a ride on your disco stick"); and a dash of '80s synth magic, so the adults can play along. On 'LoveGame' Gaga is in it to win it."[14]

Chart performance[edit]

Gaga performing "LoveGame" on one of the revamped Monster Ball shows.

The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number ninety-six for the issue dated April 4, 2009 but fell off the chart the following week.[15] After six weeks it reached position six by selling 107,000 digital downloads and becoming the weeks greatest digital gainer.[16] Two weeks from that, "LoveGame" reached a peak of position five on the chart.[17] The song has reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs and became Gaga's third number one song on the Pop Songs chart.[18] It has sold 2,584,000 paid digital downloads in the United States as of March 2014 according to Nielsen Soundscan.[19] In Canada, the song debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number sixty-eight[20] before its official release as a single. Its second appearance was on the chart of January 10, 2009 at number eighty-seven.[21] Subsequently, "LoveGame" climbed to a peak of five.[22] After fluctuating down the chart for a few weeks "LoveGame" reached a new peak of two on the chart.[23] The song was certified two times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in June 2009, for sales of 80,000 paid digital downloads.[24]

In Australia, the song debuted at number ninety-two, and then moved up the charts to forty-one the next week.[25][26] On the issue dated May 11, 2009, the song peaked at number four becoming Gaga's third top five single there.[27] On the issue dated July 6, 2009, the song was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 70,000 copies of the single.[28] In New Zealand, the song debuted at number thirty-six[29] and moved up to a peak of twelve.[30] On the issue dated March 6, 2009 the song entered the Irish Singles Chart at number forty-nine.[31] It peaked at number thirty.[32] It also debuted at number nineteen in Finland[33] and has since moved to a peak of twelve.[34]

In early 2009, the song charted on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number eighty-nine based on downloads only. It re-entered the chart at number sixty-four after the release of the single was announced, and peaked at nineteen,[35] becoming her lowest-charting single in the UK. In the Netherlands the song debuted at twenty-eight[36] and has peaked at five.[37] The song also debuted at number six in France[38] and moved to five the next week.[39] It debuted at numbers nineteen[40] and thirty-eight[41] on the Belgian Flanders and Wallonia charts respectively. In Flanders it has reached a peak of six.[42] In Wallonia it moved to a peak of five.[43] The song has also reached seven on the Billboard European Hot 100 Singles.[44]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

"This is all part of a movement. My artistry is much deeper than fashion or anything like that. I love pop music, and I want to bring it back. [...] People are truly hungry for this. They generally miss the '90s and the superfans flooding Times Square, crying and wailing and doing anything to see the fingernail of a star. I want that back, and [the 'LoveGame' video] is just another move towards that. 'LoveGame' is a genuine New York lifestyle video. It's got that feeling of 'gay, black New York,' of inclusion and glamour," [...] I wanted to really bring forth the girl that I was four years ago, and I wanted to put it in the setting of the underground subway. I worked with Joseph Kahn, and he did an amazing job. He didn't just capture the fashion; he captured the artist."[45]

The music video of "LoveGame" was directed by Joseph Kahn and premiered on March 23, 2009, in Australia,[46] while in the UK it premiered on August 13, 2009, at 7pm on 4Music.[47] The video mainly takes place in a subway station. Several qualities of the video are reminiscent to Michael Jackson's "Bad" music video, which also took place in a subway station.[48] Although the video was shot in Los Angeles in January 2009 alongside with the music video for "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", it has a New York City setting. Gaga spoke to Entertainment Weekly during the Behind the Scenes of the shoot regarding what she thought about the video and the development of it including the new creative measures undertaken:

"I wanted to have that big giant dance video moment, I wanted it to be plastic, beautiful, gorgeous, sweaty, tar on the floor, bad-ass boys, but when you got close, the look in everybody's eyes was fucking honest and scary. [...] The whole idea behind the subway 'Bad' thing is that me and my friends from New York, we're all, like, the dopiest fucking artists,[...] Best designers, performance artists, dancers. The dancers in the video...those are not hot L.A. people that you see in everybody's video. Those are kids who don't get cast, because they're too fucking real. [...] I love the imagery of a downtown, bad-ass kid walking down the street with his buddies, grabbing a pair of pliers, and making a pair of sunglasses out of a fence on the street, [...] I thought that imagery was so real, and it shows that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or how much money you have in your pocket, you're nothing without your ideas. Your ideas are all you have. The opening of the video is me with this chain link hood and these intense glasses. They look so hard. It looks like I plied them right out of the fence and put them on my face."[48]

Synopsis[edit]

A blond woman in a mauve leotard holds out a stick with a light atop it in her left hand. She is surrounded by men in black jackets and caps who seem to be looking at the stick.
Gaga intimidating a circle of men with her disco stick while wearing chain-linked glasses in the music video for "LoveGame"

The video starts with the heading "Streamline presents" and three men moving through Times Square.[45] They open a man-hole cover on which "Haus of Gaga" is written. Gaga is then shown naked with blue and purple paint and glitter on her body, frolicking with two men who have the words "Love" and "Fame" shaved into their heads.[49] The scene shifts to a subway where Gaga starts singing in a grey-white leotard with a hood. She carries her trademark 'disco stick' and wears chain-linked glasses. The chorus starts with Gaga and her dancers progressing through the subway and dancing down a staircase. Her trademark dogs, two harlequin Great Danes, are also shown on top of the staircase.[45] The video shifts to a train where the second verse takes place amidst choreographed dance routines and Gaga wearing a black jacket. The group move on to a car-park.[48] Gaga is then shown with the two men again and enters a ticket booth with an inspector. This next scene shows Gaga in makeshift kissing and caressing.[49] As the camera pans from right to left the inspector changes from a man to woman in each frame.[50] The final scene incorporates Gaga in a choreographed dance routine with her crew of backup dancers. The video comes to an end as Gaga and her dancers hold their groins as they gesture towards the camera.

Reception[edit]

The music video was censored in many countries after its release in 2009. The video faced censorship troubles in Australia where it was rated AV18+ by Network Ten due to suggestive video footage involving bondage and sexual acts. The channel demanded to be provided with an edited version of the video which would not violate censorship rules.[49] Video Hits refused to air the video in its G and PG rated time slots. They cited "numerous sexual references both visually and lyrically" as the reason they could not create a child-friendly edit without bleeping the repeated hook "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick".[4] Australian programs like Rage and cable networks Channel V and MTV aired the video in its original form.[49] The video also faced a ban from MTV Arabia citing the same reason as Australia. Since it was very rare to ban videos in MTV, head of MTV Arabia Samer al Marzouki commented, "We represent the young generation's mentality and culture so we can't play something that conflicts with that. If they can't watch something comfortably with their brother, sisters or friends then we will not play it."[51] In the United States, VH1 and MTV played an edited version that removed almost all scenes of Gaga naked, and blurred the label on a bottle of alcohol one of the dancers holds. No lyrics were changed.[52]

Live performances[edit]

Gaga wearing a black dress with a triangular piece and holding her disco stick, performs "LoveGame" on the The Fame Ball Tour.

Gaga performed "LoveGame" live on the UK program The Album Chart Show on February 14, 2009 as promotion for The Fame.[53] On March 20, 2009, the song performed live at the AOL Sessions along with Gaga's other singles such as "Just Dance", "Paparazzi", "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" and an acoustic version of "Poker Face".[54] An acoustic version was performed at the MTV Sessions in January.[55] The song was a major part of Gaga's performance in her first headlining Fame Ball tour as the second number of the setlist and was performed alongside "Starstruck". Gaga wore a silver and black short skirt like a tutu shaped like a peplum with a triangular piece set on her right breast[56][57] and high heeled ultra spike shoes. Gaga's hair was made an austere blond bob and she wore black sunglasses.[56][58] She was surrounded by her dancers holding plates which were encrusted with crystals and completely hid them.[59] The plates were angled similar to the dress she wore. As the performance of the opening number "Paparazzi" ended, the plates opened up and Gaga started singing the song "Starstruck" while standing on the platform.[56][58][60] Pre-recorded music and mixing were provided in the background by DJ Space Cowboy. Gaga also brought out her "trademark" disco stick for the performance of "LoveGame".[56] It ended with Gaga doing a dance routine for the last chorus and coming down to the front of the stage and saying the line "People say some really terrible things about me, [.....] I've thought about it, and they're mostly true."[61]

On May 17, 2009, Gaga performed the song live on Australian talk show, Rove.[62] She also performed the song at the season finale of the American Dancing with the Stars season eight.[63] A remixed version of "Poker Face" and "LoveGame" was performed at the 2009 MuchMusic Video Awards, during the indoor-outdoor streetside show. The performance, which included Gaga being trapped in a fake subway car surrounded by fake police officers, was billed as a tribute to New York City.[64] On September 8, 2009, Gaga performed the song live at the season seven premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[65] A version featuring a full live band was performed by Gaga at the thirty-fifth season of American comedy show Saturday Night Live, while wearing a big gyroscope-like contraption that rotated around her.[66] It was also performed on Gaga's The Monster Ball Tour. Gaga wore an off-white costume with skeletal lighted headgear and breastplates shaped like ribs. A digital background of flames and mechanical fog was featured, with the dancers also wearing skeletal headgear.[67][68][69] The intro of the song featured a number of psychedelic fractal images on the backdrops, as the dancers writhed on stage. The video portrayed a rave-like haired Gaga purging green liquid on the white dress of a demure looking Gaga. On the revamped shows, she performed the song during the second act. During the performance she and her dancers emerge from a New York City subway car and perform a dance routine. While wearing a revealing plastic dress and an exaggerated nun's habit, Gaga bears her infamous "disco stick", except this time around the prop has been modified to look more like an Olympic style torch. The performance incorporates the Chew Fu remix of the song which commences at the end after Gaga screams to the audience "now dance you mother fuckers!"[70] The song was also included on the set list of the 2012 Born This Way Ball Tour. The song was shortened and had Gaga performing it in a clear bath tub while wearing a Statue of Liberty styled head piece.

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Fame album liner notes.[82]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Body Rock" by Oceana
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs number-one single
July 25, 2009 – August 1, 2009
Succeeded by
"Love etc." by Pet Shop Boys
Preceded by
"Don't Trust Me" by 3OH!3
US Billboard Pop Songs number-one single
July 18, 2009 – August 1, 2009
Succeeded by
"Waking Up in Vegas" by Katy Perry

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
France March 23, 2009 Digital download[110]
Canada March 24, 2009 Digital download[77]
United States March 31, 2009 Digital download[78][111]
May 12, 2009 Airplay[112]
Digital download – The Remixes[113]
June 9, 2009 CD single – The Remixes[75]
Germany[114] June 26, 2009 CD single
France[115] May 11, 2009
United Kingdom[116] September 21, 2009

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