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Teeth (song)

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"Teeth"
Song by Lady Gaga
from the album The Fame Monster
Released November 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)
Recorded
Genre R&B[1][2]
Length 3:41
Label Interscope
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Lady Gaga
  • Teddy Riley

"Teeth" is a song recorded by American singer Lady Gaga. The track appears on The Fame Monster (2009), her second major release and her third extended play. The song was written by Gaga, Taja Riley, Pete Wyoming Bender, and Teddy Riley,[a] and produced by Gaga and Teddy Riley. It has an oral theme and has been called a "perverse" march and an ode to sadomasochism. "Teeth" peaked at number 107 on the UK Singles Chart and received a mixed reception from critics. Gaga performed the song during The Monster Ball Tour. In 2013, Riley sued Gaga for US$500,000 and punitive damages over the songwriting credits, saying he was not given 25 percent of royalties as he had been promised.

Background and composition[edit]

"Teeth" was written by Lady Gaga, Taja Riley, Pete Wyoming Bender, and Teddy Riley,[a] and was produced by Gaga and Teddy Riley. It has been described as a "perverse march" and a "gospel ode" to sadomasochism.[3][4] Bradley Stern of MuuMuse said the song is "part musical, part country, and a little bit tribal in spots".[5] Popjustice described "Teeth" as a "wobbly, stompy, bouncy marching song" that opens with the lyric "don't want no money, just want your sex" and later chants, "show me your teeth!"[6] Lyrically, Gaga asks her lover to display his teeth for her. According to MusicOMH, "In the background another voice intones strange messages, which may or may not revolve around dentistry".[7] Music Times said the "skank-y" horns in the track exhibit Riley's work.[8] In an interview with MTV, Gaga explained the meaning behind the song and its lyrics: "It is meant to mean two things, the first one kind of juvenile sexual provocative connotation is about oral sex, but also the monster in the song is fear of the truth. 'Show me your teeth' means 'tell me the truth' and I think that for a long time in my life that I replaced sex with the truth."[9]

In 2013, Teddy Riley sued Gaga for US$500,000 and punitive damages over the songwriting credits, and said his daughter Taja "committed fraud and copyright abuse by earning a deal with EMI for her role in the song".[10][8] Riley said he was not given the 25 percent of royalties he had been promised.[11][12] He also tried to sue his daughter and said, "her participation in the creation of the composition, authorship, and ownership [of 'Teeth'] are all false and untrue".[13] Music Times said Teddy Riley's work on "Teeth" was his only contribution to The Fame Monster and called the track the EP's "smallest".[10]

Reception[edit]

"Teeth" received a mixed reception from critics; some complimented the song and others called it the album's worst track. Gaga's vocals was compared to those of Christina Aguilera.[14] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said the song "sounds like something from Michael Jackson's last studio album as sung by Christina Aguilera ... that the closest she gets to another human being involves being tied up and bitten is revealing."[4] Blogcritics' Clayton Perry said "Teeth", along with the tracks "Monster" and "Telephone", "thump harder than anything she's released thus far".[15] In his review for Consequence of Sound, Tony Hardy describes the song as a "repetitive chant which gets its point across in the first verse, rendering the rest of it almost redundant".[16] Nick Levine of Digital Spy said "Teeth" is "the most sonically intriguing thing GaGa's put her name to, an ode to rough sex conducted over an intense, tribal production that recalls Cher's 'Half Breed' and Fleetwood Mac's 'Tusk'."[17]

MusicOMH called "Teeth" the album's "biggest curveball" and said in its review, "It doesn't really go anywhere, the chorus getting mixed in with the verses, but it's still a compellingly dancey listen and may be indicative of where she's heading next".[7] MuuMuse's Stern described the song as a "stomping, hoot-and-holler-worthy chant-along" that invites listeners to "cut loose and ... well, sink their teeth into the music". He added, "It's an odd choice to end the album, though a surefire crowd pleaser for live shows if the addictive backing beat is anything to judge by".[5] Popjustice rated the song six out of eight and said it "foray[ed] into Black Betty territory".[6] PopMatters' Evan Sawdey called "Teeth" Gaga's "most sonically adventurous song yet".[18] Nick Hyman of Under the Rader said the song was the worst on the album.[19] Vulture, an online blog associated with New York, included lyrics from "Teeth" in its "Best Lines" portal.[20]

Live performances and other appearances[edit]

Lady Gaga performing "Teeth" on The Monster Ball Tour in May 2010

Gaga performed "Teeth" during The Monster Ball Tour.[21][22] The Riverfront Times said her January 2010 performance of the song in St. Louis was "fantastic" and described it as "a fierce Broadway strut full of vamps, vigor and choreographed dancing which recalled Chicago".[23] Gaga performed an "angry version" of the song at Radio City Music Hall a few days later; she "hunched over in an animalistic crouch, surrounded by a predatory-looking pack of dancers" while images of a "ferocious" wolf were displayed.[24] She grabbed her crotch and "snarled" to emphasize the song's lyrics; Dan Aquilante of the New York Post said these actions "didn’t seem all that inappropriate".[25] Gaga performed a "concert version" of the song at Lollapalooza in August 2010, during which a guitar solo was played between each iteration of the line, "Show me your teeth!"[26] During some performances of the song, she told concert attendees she never lip syncs. In his review of Gaga's April 2011 performance in Montreal, Mike Lepage said the reminder was "needless" and wrote, "What idiot would actually have charged this canary-haired dynamo with that? If anything, you can’t shut the Gaga up, and she has both the chops and the pride to deliver it all live."[27] In 2017, Gaga performed the song in her setlist for the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[28][29]

In 2011, Discovery Channel used "Teeth" to promote its "Shark Week" programming.[30] Target Corporation sells a "singing" toothbrush that plays two-minute excerpts of "Born This Way" and "Teeth".[31]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Fame Monster liner notes.[32]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 107

Notes[edit]

  • ^a While Bender and Teddy Riley are not credited as songwriters of "Teeth" in the album liner notes, they are listed as songwriters by BMI.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wood, Mikael (November 23, 2009). "Album review: Lady Gaga's 'The Fame Monster'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ Power, Ed (December 14, 2009). "The Fame Monster". Hot Press. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (November 18, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on August 28, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Stern, Bradley (November 16, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster (Album Review)". MuuMuse. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Lady Gaga's 'Fame Monster' – it's a proper album (and a very good one at that)". Popjustice. October 26, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Track-by-Track: Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster". MusicOMH. November 23, 2009. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Gailbraith, Alex. "Lady Gaga sued by Teddy Riley over 'Teeth' royalties". Music Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ Anitai, Tamar (November 3, 2009). "Lady Gaga On MTV's 'It's On With Alexa Chung'". MTV News. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Book, Ryan (November 3, 2013). "Lady Gaga sued by producer Teddy Riley for his work on 'Fame Monster' track 'Teeth'". Music Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Lady Gaga sued by Teddy Riley over song fee". Calgary Sun. November 2, 2013. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Lady Gaga sued by Teddy Riley for 'Teeth' Movie Review". The Times of India. November 2, 2013. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ Clements, Ashley (November 2, 2013). "Lady Gaga Being Sued by Backstreet Star Over 'Teeth' Track". Giant Digital. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  14. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (January 31, 2010). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on February 14, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  15. ^ Perry, Clayton (November 13, 2009). "Music Review: Lady GaGa – The Fame Monster". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  16. ^ Hardy, Tony (December 4, 2009). "Lady GaGa – The Fame Monster". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ Levine, Nick (November 21, 2009). "Lady GaGa: 'The Fame Monster'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  18. ^ Sawdey, Evan (November 22, 2009). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". PopMatters. Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  19. ^ Hyman, Nick (January 13, 2010). "Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster". Under the Rader. ISSN 1553-2305. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Best Lines: Lady Gaga". Vulture. Archived from the original on November 13, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  21. ^ Montgomery, James (June 29, 2010). "Lady Gaga Goes the Distance at Montreal Monster Ball Tour Kickoff". MTV. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  22. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (February 22, 2011). "Lady Gaga Brings Monster Ball Home to New York". MTV. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  23. ^ Zaleski, Annie (January 8, 2010). "Show Review + Setlist: Lady Gaga, Jason Derulo and Semi Precious Weapons at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Thursday, January 7". The Riverfront Times. St. Louis, Missouri. Archived from the original on October 31, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  24. ^ Zinoman, Jason (January 22, 2010). "For Lady Gaga, Every Concert Is a Drama". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ Aquilante, Dan (January 21, 2010). "Radio (City) Gaga". New York Post. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ Blauvelt, Christian (August 7, 2010). "Lady Gaga kicks off Lollapalooza: On the scene". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  27. ^ Lepage, Mike (April 26, 2011). "Concert review: Lady Gaga, The Monster Ball, Bell Centre, April 25". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  28. ^ Weatherby, Taylor (April 16, 2017). "Lady Gaga Debuts New Single & Plays Beyonce Collaboration During 2017 Coachella Performance". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  29. ^ Wood, Mikael (April 16, 2017). "Lady Gaga's Coachella performance was an absolute thrill — until it wasn't". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  30. ^ "'Show me your teeth': Lady Gaga takes a bite out of 'Shark Week'". The Blaze. July 6, 2011. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Brush Buddies Singing Lady Gaga Toothbrush". Target Corporation. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  32. ^ The Fame Monster (Liner notes). Lady Gaga. Interscope Records. 2009. 2726601. 
  33. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart for the week ending December 5, 2009". UKChartsPlus. Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd (432): 3. 
  34. ^ "Teeth (Legal Title): BMI Work #11129493". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved November 8, 2015. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]