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Monster (Lady Gaga song)

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

"Monster" is a song by American singer Lady Gaga from her third extended play (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.[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]

A Europop[4] and dance-pop[5] song, "Monster" begins with Gaga's voice uttering the line, "Don't call me Gaga".[6] It contains stuttering synths and 1980s drums that, according to PopMatters' Evan Sawdey, create a playful environment.[7] The track uses heavy bass lines, descending keyboard lines and "massive" choruses, while a male voice sounding like Timbaland sings about Gaga being "hot as hell".[6][8] Gaga belts during the break down like segment in the middle, with incorporation of chiptune like music.[9]

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,[10] with a tempo of 120 beats per minute and Gaga's vocal range spanning from the low note of E3 to the high note of B4.[10] "Monster" has a basic sequence of F–G–Am–Em as its chord progression.[10] Lyrically, "Monster" contains zombie-like metaphors about having one's heart eaten.[7][11] 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".[8][12] 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."[6]

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.[6] Evan Sawdey from PopMatters also criticized the metaphors contained in the lyrics of the song, but ultimately called it "one surprisingly effective pop cocktail".[7] Ben Patashnik from NME felt that it was "slightly too disposable".[13] Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork saw similarities between Gaga's voice on "Monster" and the work of Kylie Minogue.[14] 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".[15] Jaime Gill from Yahoo! felt that "'Monster' is a squirmy little beast that wriggles into your brain slowly and is almost impossible to remove."[16] Monica Herrera from Billboard called the song "80s adoring".[17]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, "Monster" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at 68, on December 12, 2009, but slipped off the chart the next week.[18] On August 16, 2010, the song debuted at number 30 on the New Zealand Singles Chart due to digital downloads and radio airplay, and later peaked at number 29. The song was present on the chart for seven weeks.[19] 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.[20] "Monster" debuted and peaked on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart at number 80 on the issue dated November 30, 2009.[21] The song debuted on the United States Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs at number 49 on September 18, 2010,[22] before moving to its highest position of number 29 on October 9, 2010, where it remained for another week. It fell off the chart after eight weeks.[23] On the Latin Pop Airplay chart, the song was initially seen at number 32,[24] and later peaked at number 22. "Monster" spent 14 weeks on the chart.[25] According to Nielsen Soundscan, the song has sold 207,000 digital downloads in the US.[26]

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.[27] 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".[27] 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.[28] "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.[29][30][31]

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,[32] 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.[33] "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.[34][35] 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?"[36]

"Monster" was part of the setlist of Gaga's 2014 residency show, Lady Gaga Live at Roseland Ballroom. She performed the song while playing on a keytar decorated with red roses, wearing a crimson leather body suit.[37] The intro of Gaga's 2017 Joanne World Tour starts with the line "Don't call me Gaga", taken from the song, before Gaga declaring that she instead wants to be called Joanne, and starting the show.[38]

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 News. November 23, 2009. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. 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 News. Archived from the original on April 2, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ Zaleski, Annie (November 24, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Las Vegas Weekly. Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Reviewing Lady Gaga's Fame Monster: Track-By-Track". Autostraddle. November 23, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Hubbard, Michael (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster, track-by-track". MusicOMH. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Sawdey, Evan (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster < Reviews". PopMatters. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Probst, Sarah (November 23, 2009). "Gaga tears apart 'Fame Monster'". The Badger Herald. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ Stern, Bradley (November 16, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster (Album Review)". MuuMuse. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c "Lady Gaga "Monster" Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  11. ^ Price, Simon (November 22, 2009). "Album: Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster (Polydor)". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  12. ^ Levine, Nick (November 23, 2009). "Lady GaGa: 'The Fame Monster'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on July 10, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  13. ^ Patashnik, Ben (December 3, 2009). "Album review: Lady Gaga – 'The Fame Monster' (Polydor)". NME. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  14. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (January 13, 2010). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 14, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ Linder, Brian (November 23, 2009). "Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster Review". IGN. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  16. ^ Gill, Jaime (November 25, 2009). "Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  17. ^ Herrera, Monica (January 19, 2010). "Lady Gaga, "The Fame Monster"". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Lady Gaga: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Charts.org.nz – Lady Gaga – Monster". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  20. ^ a b "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  21. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 30 November 2009" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. November 30, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Chart Highlights: Adult Pop, Country Songs & More". Billboard. September 18, 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Lady Gaga Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "Latin Pop Songs: Week Ending September 11, 2010". Billboard. September 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "Lady Gaga Chart History (Latin Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  26. ^ Grein, Paul (October 3, 2010). "Week Ending October 3, 2010: America's Most Popular Inmate". Yahoo!. p. 2. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (January 15, 2010). "Lady Gaga Pledges Haiti Earthquake-Relief Donation On 'Oprah'". MTV News. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  28. ^ Montogomery, James (December 19, 2009). "Lady Gaga Brings San Diego A Feast For The Eyes And Ears". MTV News. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  29. ^ Adams, Jeremy (December 2, 2009). "Live Review: Lady Gaga Brings Her Pop Theatricality to Boston in First U.S. "Monster Ball" Show". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  30. ^ Stevenson, Jane (November 29, 2009). "Lady Gaga puts on a Monster show". Toronto Sun. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  31. ^ Savage, Mark (February 19, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Monster Ball meets Manchester". BBC News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  32. ^ Stevenson, Jane (July 11, 2010). "Gaga sparkles for Toronto". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  33. ^ Roberts, Sorya (June 3, 2010). "Fans protest Lady Gaga's blood-spattered Monster Ball show in England after shooting spree". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 6, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Gaga's bloody stage show sparks fury". Hindustan Times. June 4, 2010. Archived from the original on September 16, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Lady Gaga upsets British crowd with gig with stage references to Cumbria massacre". Herald Sun. June 4, 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  36. ^ Patrick, Dan (July 9, 2010). "Q&A with Chris Rock". CNN. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  37. ^ Jordan, Runtagh (April 1, 2014). "REVIEW: Lady Gaga Touches The Edge Of Pop Glory With Historic Final Shows At Roseland Ballroom". VH'. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  38. ^ Johnston, Maura (September 2, 2017). "Lady Gaga makes a powerful statement at Fenway". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Lady Gaga – Chart history: Canadian Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 22, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  41. ^ "Lady Gaga Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  42. ^ "Lady Gaga – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 22, 2017. 
  43. ^ "Year End Charts: Dance/Electronic Digital Songs". Billboard. 2010. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]