Monster (Lady Gaga song)

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"Monster"
Song by Lady Gaga from the album The Fame Monster
Recorded Record Plant Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length 4:09
Label
Writer
Producer
  • RedOne
  • Lady Gaga
The Fame Monster track listing
"Alejandro"
(2)
"Monster"
(3)
"Speechless"
(4)

"Monster" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga, from her third EP, The Fame Monster (2009). Inspired by her "Fear of Attachment Monster",[1] the record was written by Gaga, RedOne and Space Cowboy, with RedOne producing the track. Gaga had explained that "Monster" describes her fear of sex and relationships, and described the lyrics as being in love with the bad boy all the time, but instead of running away, one keeps going back to the same person. She added that the fear in "Monster" erupted from her need to have a stable relationship. Incorporating the usage of heavy bass lines, descending keyboard lines and "massive" choruses, "Monster" contains zombie like metaphors, and a reference to Gaga's debut single "Just Dance".

"Monster" received generally positive reviews from critics who appreciated the song's musical arrangement and frequently rated it as a top track from The Fame Monster, while some disliked its lyrics. "Monster" enjoyed brief commercial success in 2010, charting on four singles charts, as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs and Latin Pop Airplay. Gaga has mostly performed "Monster" on her 2009–11 The Monster Ball Tour. The performance included the portrayal of homicide and was criticized following a real-life incident at Manchester in the United Kingdom. She also performed "Monster" on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Writing and production[edit]

"Monster" was written by Lady Gaga, RedOne and Space Cowboy, with RedOne producing the track.[2] The song was recorded at the Record Plant Studio in Los Angeles, California.[2] In an interview with MTV News, Gaga said that "Monster" describes her fear of sex and relationships and the literal meaning is about a "guy with a big dick".[1][3] She elaborated, "It's the fear of attachment and the fear of loving something that's bad for you... If you listen to the lyrics, it's like being in love with the bad boy all the time, and you keep going back for more." Gaga added that the fear in "Monster" erupted from her need to have a stable relationship. "I keep falling in love with the monster... But what I really need is the security and the safety and the womanhood, responsibility of my femininity. And so that's what that song is about.[3]

Composition[edit]

The end of the song's chorus including repetitive lyrics and a "Timbaland-esque male vocal" line.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

A synthpop and dance-pop song, "Monster" begins with Gaga's voice uttering the line, "Don't call me Gaga".[4] It contains stuttering synths and 1980s drums that, according to PopMatters' Evan Sawdey, create a playful environment.[5] It uses heavy bass lines, descending keyboard lines and "massive" choruses, while a male voice sounding like Timbaland sings about Gaga being "hot as hell".[4][6] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Monster" is set in the time signature of common time, and composed in the key of C major,[7] with Gaga's vocal range spanning from the low note of E3 to the high note of B4.[7] "Monster" has a basic sequence of F–G–Am–Em as its chord progression.[7] Lyrically, "Monster" contains zombie-like metaphors about having one's heart eaten.[5][8] The song also features references to "Just Dance", Gaga's debut single, with the line "I wanna ‘Just Dance’/ But he took me home instead".[6][9] Michael Hubbard from MusicOMH believed that the lines in the last verse "get a bit gruesome at the end" with the lines saying "He tore my clothes right off/ He ate my heart and then he ate my brain."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received generally positive reviews from critics. Michael Hubbard from musicOMH called "Monster" "a potential single", praising its musical composition, but criticizing the lyrics.[4] Evan Sawdey from PopMatters also criticized the metaphors contained in the lyrics of the song, but ultimately called it "one surprisingly effective pop cocktail".[5] Ben Patashnik from NME felt that it was "slightly too disposable".[10] Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork Media saw similarities between Gaga's voice on "Monster" and the work of Kylie Minogue.[11] Brian Linder from IGN felt that the track was lighter compared to the other songs on The Fame Monster, and complimented the line "We French kissed on a subway train / He tore my clothes right off / He ate my heart and then he ate my brain", calling it a lyrical gem. He also added that "Monster" was a "dance floor riot".[12] Jaime Gill from Yahoo! felt that "'Monster' is a squirmy little beast that wriggles into your brain slowly and is almost impossible to remove."[13] Monica Herrera from Billboard called the song "80s adoring".[14]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, "Monster" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at sixty-eight, on December 12, 2009, but slipped off the chart the next week.[15] On August 16, 2010, the song debuted at number thirty on the New Zealand Singles Chart due to digital downloads and radio airplay, and later peaked at number twenty-nine. The song was present on the chart for seven weeks.[16] In Hungary, it debuted on the Mahasz Single Top 10 lista chart at number six on November 23, 2009, but fell off the next week.[17] "Monster" debuted and peaked on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart at number eighty on the issue dated November 30, 2009.[18] The song debuted on the United States Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs at number forty-nine on September 18, 2010,[19] before moving to its highest position of number twenty-nine on October 9, 2010, where it remained for another week. It fell off the chart after eight weeks.[20] On the Latin Pop Airplay chart, the song was initially seen at number thirty-two,[21] and later peaked at number twenty-two. "Monster" has spent fourteen weeks on the chart.[22] According to Nielsen Soundscan, the song has sold 207,000 digital downloads in the US.[23]

Live performances[edit]

Gaga performing "Monster" on the 2010 shows of The Monster Ball Tour. She is seen here doing the Michael Jackson inspired choreography.

On January 15, 2010, Gaga performed "Monster" as part of a three song medley on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[24] The performance began with Gaga appearing on the stage wearing a dress, that looked both like a pantsuit and dress. Her hair was in spikes and she held a spiked ball and chain in her hand. "Monster" was the first song of the medley that she performed, others being "Bad Romance" and "Speechless".[24] She also performed the song on all legs of The Monster Ball Tour. The performance was preceded by a video interlude featuring snarling dogs and brooding ravens.[25] "Monster" began with Gaga emerging in a black feathered jacket and performing dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson. The backdrop featured the close-up of a black bird's wings.[26][27][28]

During the 2010 shows of the tour, the performance of "Monster" was changed a little to include an ending, where Gaga is portrayed as getting killed by a murderer,[29] after which she lies "dying" in a pool of blood. Her performances of that scene in Manchester, England triggered protests from family groups and fans in the aftermath of the Cumbria shootings, in which 12 people were murdered by a taxi driver.[30] "What happened in Bradford is very fresh in people's minds and given all the violence which happened in Cumbria just hours earlier, it was insensitive," said Lynn Costello of Mothers Against Violence.[31][32] Chris Rock later defended her flamboyant, provocative behavior. "Well, she's Lady Gaga," he said. "She's not 'Lady Behave Yourself.' Do you want great behavior from a person named Gaga? Is this what you were expecting?"[33]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Fame Monster album liner notes.[2]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Lady Gaga's 'Monster' Is About The Fear Of Attachment" (video). MTV (MTV Networks). November 23, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c The Fame Monster (CD liner). Lady Gaga. Interscope Records. 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (November 24, 2009). "Lady Gaga Sings About Loving 'Something Bad For You' On 'Monster'". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hubbard, Michael (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster, track-by-track". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Sawdey, Evan (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster < Reviews". PopMatters. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Probst, Sarah (November 23, 2009). "Gaga tears apart 'Fame Monster'". The Badger Herald. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Digital sheet music – Lady Gaga – "Monster". Musicnotes.com. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. 
  8. ^ Price, Simon (November 22, 2009). "Album: Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster (Polydor)". The Independent. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  9. ^ Levine, Nick (November 23, 2009). "Lady GaGa: 'The Fame Monster'". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ Patashnik, Ben (December 3, 2009). "Album review: Lady Gaga – 'The Fame Monster' (Polydor)". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (January 13, 2010). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ Linder, Brian (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster Review". IGN. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ Gill, Jaime (November 25, 2009). "Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  14. ^ Herrera, Monica (January 19, 2010). "Lady Gaga, "The Fame Monster"". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Chart Stats – Lady Gaga – Monster". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on July 3, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b "Lady Gaga – Monster (Song)". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Hungarian Single (track) Top 10 lista". Mahasz. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. November 23, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 30 November 2009" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. November 30, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Chart Highlights: Adult Pop, Country Songs & More". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 18, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b "Billboard – Lady Gaga – Hot Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Latin Pop Songs: Week Ending September 11, 2010". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 11, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "Billboard – Lady Gaga – Latin Pop Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  23. ^ Grein, Paul (October 3, 2010). "Week Ending October 3, 2010: America's Most Popular Inmate". Yahoo!. p. 2. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (January 15, 2010). "Lady Gaga Pledges Haiti Earthquake-Relief Donation On 'Oprah'". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  25. ^ Montogomery, James (December 19, 2009). "Lady Gaga Brings San Diego A Feast For The Eyes And Ears". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  26. ^ Adams, Jeremy (December 2, 2009). "Live Review: Lady Gaga Brings Her Pop Theatricality to Boston in First U.S. "Monster Ball" Show". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  27. ^ Stevenson, Jane (November 29, 2009). "Lady Gaga puts on a Monster show". Toronto Sun (Sun Media Corporation). Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  28. ^ Savage, Mark (February 19, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Monster Ball meets Manchester". BBC (BBC Online). Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  29. ^ Stevenson, Jane (July 11, 2010). "Gaga sparkles for Toronto". Toronto Sun (Sun Media Corporation). Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  30. ^ Roberts, Sorya (June 3, 2010). "Fans protest Lady Gaga's blood-spattered Monster Ball show in England after shooting spree". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Gaga's bloody stage show sparks fury". Hindustan Times. June 4, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Lady Gaga upsets British crowd with gig with stage references to Cumbria massacre". Herald Sun (The Herald and Weekly Times). June 4, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  33. ^ Patrick, Dan (July 9, 2010). "Q&A with Chris Rock". CNN. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Billboard: Other charts". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 129 (30). December 12, 2009. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Billboard: Other charts". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 129 (30). December 12, 2009. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Billboard: Other charts". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 129 (30). December 12, 2009. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Year-end charts: Dance/Electronic Digital Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]