When I look back on my life, it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And, truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it.
— "Marry the Night: The Prelude Pathétique"
Lady Gaga (née Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, b. 1986), is an American dance-pop singer, songwriter, and pianist who burst onto the music scene in 2008 and since then has become known for her catchy songs, suggestive lyrics and outrageous outfits.Her music is influenced by the likes of Britney Spears, Madonna, Amy Winehouse, Klaus Nomi, Prince and Cyndi Lauper, as well as glam-rock artists like David Bowie and Queen, and the Europop genre of the 1990s. Gaga spent years trying to make it big, writing for other artists such as Fergie, The Pussycat Dolls and New Kids On The Block and Britney Spears while working toward her own big break. She also took part in her university talent contest, attracting rave reviews from the judges, and released a little-known album with a band she was singing with (as Stefani Germanotta).Okay, that doesn't cover half of it.Lady Gaga is, quite simply, the poster girl for over-the-top eccentricity. Between her outrageous outfits, her role-play crossdressing, her incredibly trippy music videos and performances, and her camp sensibilities, Lady Gaga is easily one of the most... interesting pop stars working today, as this page will show you very clearly.Her critics like to point out, and not without reason, that the entire point of Lady Gaga is her odd behavior and strange mode of dress, noting that without these elements of her stage persona, she never would have become as popular as she is today.The music video for Bad Romance is among the most viewed videos on YouTube. It has surpassed 500 million views, with a huge chunk coming from fans embedding the video everywhere they can and refreshing the page often. If your computer (or proxy) is within one of the allowed regions, you can watch it here.In 2011, Gaga's song "Born This Way" became the 1000th song to be identified as the #1 single in America by Billboard magazine since the establishment of the Hot 100 chart.Lady Gaga appeared as herself on the season 23 finale of The Simpsons ("Lisa Goes Gaga") in which she helps Lisa Simpson (and the rest of Springfield) with their low self-esteem.She will appear in the Machete sequel Machete Kills as La Chameleón.Discography:
As the Stefani Germanotta Band:
Red and Blue (2005): A five-track EP.
As Lady Gaga:
The Fame (2008)
Hitmixes (2008): A set of remixes and alternate mixes of songs from The Fame.
"Christmas Tree" (2008): A stand-alone single, and the most suggestive rendering of "Deck the Halls" ever.
The Cherrytree Sessions (2009): A three-track EP with an unplugged, piano-accompanied "Poker Face" and stripped-down versions of "Just Dance" and "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)".
The Fame Monster (2009): Released as both a stand-alone EP and as part of an Updated Rerelease of The Fame.
Lady Gaga: The Remix (2010): Just like Hitmixes, this is a set of remixed versions of songs from The Fame Monster.
Born This Way (2011)
Born This Way: The Remix (November 2011) As the title may vaguely imply, it has remixes of songs from Born This Way.
Born This Way: The Collection (November 2011) Born This Way, its remix CD and the Monster Ball Tour DVD, all in one convenient package.
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Tropes Applying to Lady Gaga
Affectionate Parody: Hilly Hindi of The Hillywood Show is one of the better-known Gaga impersonators, even earning a nod from the genuine article.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Luc Carl is..uh..implied to be this by her obsession with bad boys on the Born This Way album and bikers.
Analogy Backfire: The song that she took her name from, Queen's "Radio Gaga", is a Take That at MTV and their music videos eclipsing the importance of radio as a medium for experiencing music. This is highly ironic given her reliance on visual imagery to push her... um... image.
Anime Hair: Most notably the 'do that looks like an umbrella.
Ascended Fangirl: Gaga admits to "falling to the floor crying and laughing" when she heard Brian May would be playing Guitar on "Yoü and I".
Her Collaboration with Britney Spears for her Circus album is also this. She has called Britney the queen of pop and mentioned how she used to show up at her TRL performances in New York when she was a teenager, basically saying she stalked her when she was kid. (The songs are "Telephone" and "Quicksand").
She has had the good fortune to become the God-Mother of Elton John's child and perform with Bruce Springsteen
Auto Tune: Used in "Paper Gangsta", "Starstruck" and portions of "Monster" and "So Happy I Could Die".
Used a lot in Born This Way especially "Heavy Metal Lover". However, unlike most examples pegged here, the autotune she uses is mostly for the outrageous unsubtle effects (Starstruck/Heavy Metal Lover) or to sound hollow (like in So Happy I Could Die/Monster) rather than to cover up bad vocals.
Banned In Indonesia: Following threats by Islamic fundamentalists, Gaga's scheduled performance in the country was cancelled due to security concerns.
Be Yourself: The overarching theme of the Born This Way album.
In a recent interview she said that it's more like a nickname and that even her mom calls her Gaga, but in another, said she would prefer bed partners call her Stefani; having somebody yell out "Gaga!" would freak her out. The line "Don't call me Gaga" from "Monster" references this.
Clueless Aesop/Lost Aesop: Whatever your feelings on both Lady Gaga and Don't Ask Don't Tell, it's hard to take the "Alejandro" video and already-infamous VMA meat dress seriously as critiques of the policy, as Gaga insists they function.
Cluster F-Bomb: At her shows, both she and Justin Trantor, the lead singer for her opening act Semi Precious Weapons are prone to doing this frequently.
Lampshaded by Justin at least at one concert by giving a disclaimer to all the parents who brought their tweenage children that there may be material they find offensive long after the point where many of them would have already left in disgust.
Concept Album: Oddly enough, considering she's a dance-pop star, all of her major releases thus far qualify: The Fame is about, well, fame; The Fame Monster is about the darker side of fame and Gaga's personal fears; Born This Way is about outcasts and rebels.
Do Not Call Me Paul wishes to be addressed as "Lady Gaga" and not "Stefani" or any permutation of that name.
When she went on her web campaign to drum up support of the Don't Ask Don't Tell repealment, she called her own senators from New York on video and introduced herself as Stefani Germonatta since it is still her legal name, and while she didn't stutter or anything, there was an obvious hint that she was uncomfortable saying it.
Double Entendre: 'I want to take a ride on your disco stick.' "Blonde South", The constant reference to "Leather" and so much more.
Dye Hard: Though she has appeared in every hair color under the sun and most often blonde, she has only revealed herself in her natural hair color, brown, in "Marry The Night." In "Heavy Metal Lover" her lyrics say, "I want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south," although as a natural brunette, this makes no sense whatsoever.
Electra Complex: Count how many times she uses words that sound like "papa" or "daddy". ie: 'Dirty Rich' sounds almost like 'Daddy rich'. ie: 'papa-paparazzi'.
To say nothing of the line "Daddy, I'm so sorry, I'm so s-s-sorry, yeah" in "Beautiful Dirty Rich"
Or "Her boyfriend's like her dad, just like her dad." from "Alejandro"
"Speechless" was allegedly dedicated to her father - presumably (hopefully) not directly addressed to him, since she refers to the subject as "baby" and "boy" throughout, talks about his "James Dean glossy eyes" and "tight jeans," mentions "all the boys and the girls that we've been through" in the chorus, and...well, really, practically every line!
Don't forget, from her collaboration with New Kids on the Block: "Beat me, spank me, daddy/c'mon, touch my body."
At one point during "Government Hooker", she moans "ay, mi papito", which means something along the lines of "oh, daddy" and is widespread as a term of endearment in Latin American Spanish.
Scheiße is German for shit. The ß symbol actually makes a hard S sound but most people will probably see it as a B and not think anything of it.
In "Heavy Metal Lover", the autotuned male singer 3/4 of the way through the song gets "fuck" past the censors.
The official lyrics have it listed as "funk," but it's pretty clearly "fuck."
It lists one of the beginning lines as "red wine, cheap perfume, and a filthy pout," although most fans undeniably agree it's the word "pout" layered over the word "cunt."
Lady Gaga admitted herself that Pokerface has instances where she says "Fuck her face."
Godiva Hair: In her appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair. (And a lot of other magazines)
Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: In the video for "Bad Romance", towards the beginning she has big, digitally enhanced eyes, that side somewhere between "cute and innocent" and unnerving. The video for "Alejandro" does the opposite variation, as her eyes are mostly narrowed at the beginning.
Gratuitous French: Most obviously appears in "Bad Romance". Also appears in the chorus of "LoveGame".
Don't forget "Fashion".
The first two and a half minutes of the "Paparazzi" video are in Swedish. From the glorious mouth of Alexander Skarsgard.
"Bloody Mary": "Je ne veux pas mourire tout seule" *
Justified Trope: The ü is a reference to her ex-boyfriend Lüc Carl who the song is about.
Homage: Her 2011 Grammy performance of "Born This Way" seemed to be one to Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (minus the nuke worship/plus a giant egg and Yolandi Visser's fringe/bangs). The song itself seems to be an homage to Madonna's "Express Yourself", to Madonna's brother's annoyance.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She is 5"1". Her lover in the "Paparazzi" video (played by Alexander Skarsgard) is 6"4".
The Illuminati: Like it or not, she does use a lot of Masonic and Illuminati symbolism in her videos.
Impossibly Cool Clothes: Some of her outfits are just jaw-droppingly bizarre. This includes the meat-dress and machinegun bra.
Parodied when she had trouble sitting down to play the piano on SNL because of the human gyroscope she was wearing around her.
Her meat dress. A dress made of meat. Light on "Fancy" but heavy on the "Impractical".
In Da Club: "Just Dance" and "Telephone". Plus, most of her music is played here, often in remixed form.
Insult Backfire: When the Westboro Baptist Church made what was meant to be an insulting parody song called No Poker Face, wherein they called her such "creative" names as Lady GayGay and more, Gaga and her fans ironically embraced it. She now sells t-shirts at her shows embroidered with, "I Love Lady GayGay!"
Intercourse with You: "Let's have some fun/This beat is sick/I wanna take a ride/On your disco stick." And that's probably not even the worst one.
Most of her music in general is quite sexual, when it's not about a social cause or to prove a point or about her broken heart.
I Take Offense to That Last One: She has had some friction with her record company over promotional material, claiming they just want her "Half-naked on the beach touching [her]self." It seems the only thing she doesn't like about that scenario is the beach.
Kayfabe Music: She went to her little sister's graduation in full Gaga regalia at her sister's request.
The Lad-ette: She qualifies, interestingly enough. During her concerts she's loud and crass, swearing and grinding on her dancers and generally pissing off the Moral Guardians with her decidely unlady-like behavior all while having a blast. Has also stated she would carry around a razor in her mouth when she was growing up in New York.
Large Ham: While not as apparent in public appearances (save some performances) at her concerts she goes crazy. By her own admission she is the "largest ham in the oven." In the 2010 Grammy's, she finally made it apparent.
"Take my picture, Hollywood ... I WANNA BE A STAR!"
Latin Lover: "Alejandro" features three: Alejandro, Fernando, and Roberto.
Alex Goot's cover of "Bad Romance", which is this trope summed up. It sounds more like a genuine love song, and less like a freaky love-hate song. Imagine taking out the synths and replacing it with acoustic guitar and much more piano. That is this cover.
List Song: "Born This Way" lists almost every sexuality, gender identity, sexual identity, religious belief and physical race in the human world with few exceptions.
Loudness War: As most other popular artists, she does this most notably on Born This Way.
Lyrical Dissonance: "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", whose lyrics can be summarized as "I met another guy... we had a good run, right? I wish I had never met you, it'd be less painful than breaking up," uses an instrumental that is cute, pleasant, and guaranteed to make you smile (and make that double for the minimalist Cherrytree Sessions version).
The song "Just Dance" sounds like a generic perky dance song, but the lyrics behind it seem to paint a picture of a girl who is way too drunk to be comfortable about her surroundings, concerned about the people around her pawing at her, and trying to "just dance" to calm herself down, by the end of the song the alcohol has left her out of her wits and willing to go home with anyone there.
"The Edge of Glory" is an upbeat dance song in the style of '80s pop ballads... about someone who's about to die and wants to feel love and happiness one more time on the last night of her life. The fact that the saxophone solo is the last thing the late Clarence Clemons recorded before his passing makes it all the more bittersweet.
'Hair' has a pretty generic,upbeat dance-pop backing track,but is about Gaga's parents crushing her ability to dress the way she likes.
Lucky Charms Title: Whenever you see the word "Monster", be sure to mentally replace the "t" with a cross.
Money Song: "Money Honey", which is a subversion. Then there are "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" and "The Fame".
Mood Whiplash: From The Fame to The Fame Monster. Seriously, pick any song from the first album (other than, say, "Brown Eyes" or "Again Again"), pick any song from the second album ("Telephone" being a possible exception), play them back to back, and see if this trope doesn't apply. The Fame Monster is supposed to be, in a way, the darker side of The Fame.
Nice Hat: Pretty much every hat she wears. There's been the concentric steel rings, the giant button, the spikey-lacey face covering crown and latex version in "Bad Romance" and for "Telephone" in the 'Let's make a Sandwich!' scene, she's wearing a folded out telephone for a hat.
Nice Girl: Despite her extremely odd personality, she always comes across as very sweet and warm in interviews, being very nice to and genuinely appeciative of her fans.
Not Christian Rock: "Born This Way" has a pretty strong pro-Christian message, though definitely not in the sense that most religious figures would interpret it, and "Judas" earned her a rebuke from the Catholic League. All this despite the fact that she has openly claimed she is a devout Catholic.
Nude-Colored Clothes: Has been sighted on multiple occasions wearing costumes which incorporate a flesh-tone one-piece suit.
When she was interviewed for 60 Minutes she showed up in a flesh-colored leotard because "[she] didn't feel like wearing clothes today".
I'll never forget when Anna Wintour called me to play at this event, she called me and said, ‘I would like you to play at the Met gala, but I just want to make sure, because I’ve seen you perform before, that you won’t be swearing during the performance. So Anna, I will do my fucking best!
From her Radio One performance, right after saying she had been asked to limit the profanity:
Raise a glass to mend all the broken hearts of all my fucked up friends!
Many times during her concerts, most notably Beautiful, Dirty, Rich:
Product Placement: The video for "Bad Romance" features a man using a Wii remote to sell Lady Gaga as a prostitute.
Also her "Heartbeats" headphones which are part of Dr Dre's "Beats" collection, as well as the Beats Edition HP Envy 15 laptops, both featured prominently in the same video.
In "Telephone", the screen of her cell phone always has the Virgin Mobile logo, and at one point she's using Diet Coke cans as hair curlers. The free online dating site Plenty of Fish also gets a nod, as do Honey Buns snack cakes, Polaroid cameras, Wonder bread, and Miracle Whip.
In "Paparazzi", the drink that Gaga poisons her boyfriend with is the supplement drink Neuro Sonic.
Rule of Symbolism: During her appearance on Oprah, she explained that the majority of her outfits have some message to them. She points out that the message is most often not apparent to her audience, but she uses it personally as motivation in her performance.
To say absolutely nothing of the INCREDIBLY dense symbolism imagery in all of her videos. A quick run down highlights...
The Devil: Horned imagery bookends quite a few, leading to popular speculation of Baphomet worship. Or a working contract between the two. Or a secret agent working for him against the Illuminati. Or something.
Princess Die is about Princess Diana, pretty explicitly, mixed with some Marilyn Monroe legend.
Smarks: Her fans tend to be divided into two groups. Those who only listen to her albums and watch her videos and like her because she's so much fun, and those who see her perform unplugged and like her because she's a well-trained pianist and a fantastic singer.
Spell My Name with an S: A lot of people insist that her name is spelled "Lady GaGa", most likely because of the Queen song that she takes her name from. Supposedly, Lady Gaga actually did spell her name like that initially, then had a Sure, Why Not? moment.
Christina Aguilera as far as eccentric preaching against sexist and anti gay social reforms as well as unusual clothing choices and career decisions.
Music/Madonna as well, especially for her vocal LGBT support.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Her guest appearance in The Simpsons Season 23 finale. Not only did she appear on screen before any Springfieldian, she actually got more screentime than the Simpson family. Naturally, this didn't endear her to Simpson fans who aren't Gaga fans.
Scheiße: "I wish I could be strong without somebody there/ I wish I could dance on a single prayer/ I wish I could be strong without the scheiße."
The Stoic: Early in her career, she came off very somber and robotic in interviews. Addressed by the woman herself in her Cosmopolitan 2010 interview, where she said she began to realize it, and finally let it all go.
Too Much Information: The line "I want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south" from Heavy Metal Lover becomes this when you remember she's a bleach blonde.
Uncanny Valley Makeup: Regularly. A notable example is her 2011 American Idol mentoring appearance, where she shows up with bleached eyebrows, exaggerated cat-eye black liner, and a large fake mole on the right side of her face.
Underwear of Power: Frequently. One article described her trademark outfit as being "bullet bangs, shoulder pads, and panties". Or better yet, when was the last time she was seen with pants?
Unlimited Wardrobe: Goes without saying with most celebrities, but this woman merits special mention.
Yaoi Fangirl: At her Monster Ball concert she dedicated the song "Boys Boys Boys" to the gay males in the audience, referred to her male backup dancers as "my gay boys", and had two of her gay boys make out.
After 12 year old Greyson Chance became an instant star on YouTube for his piano cover of "Paparazzi" he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show where he got to talk to Gaga herself over the phone. Among the bits of advice she gave him for his fledgling career: "stay away from girls." Just the way she said it you knew it was more than the "don't let a relationship distract you" context.
Continuity Nod: This video is a sequel to the "Paparazzi" video. It being the same Gaga was implied throughout "Telephone", but it wasn't confirmed until the mugshot from the end of "Paparazzi" showed up at the end of "Telephone".
Beyonce poisons Tyrese the same way Gaga does Alexander Skarsgård (through their drink.) And when everyone starts dropping dead in the restaurant, she's wearing the same shades Gaga was in that scene as well.
Watch Gaga after she poisons everything in the kitchen. She shakes her head back and forth several times, which she does in "Paparazzi" after tasting her boyfriend's poisoned drink.
Gratuitous German: In the scene where everyone's eating the poisoned food, right after Tyrese's death, you can see "Ein, Zwei, Drei" in the subs while Gaga does some strange posing continues being Gaga, counting "One, Two, Three" in German. Unfortunately it's misspelled. "Ein" means "a/an", while "Eins" means "One".
Darker and Edgier: Arguably more disturbing than Bad Romance and Paparazzi. While they were still about sex slavery and murder, the endings were funny in context, and there was still a lot of decent Fanservice. This one is an especially nightmarish, densely symbolic take on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the ending is the worst part, and the Fetish Fuel is even more subjective. It's especially bad coming after the silly, over-the-top "Telephone".
Deconstruction: Possibly. At the very least it uses a lot of music video tropes and twists them.
Gun Porn: Literally. She wears a bra with the barrels of M-16 Machine Guns attached. Make jokes about her "guns" at your own risk.
The soldier on her bed also holds a golden pistol over his crotch.
Since the barrels are less than 16 inches, someone put together a mock NFA form 4.
Mood Whiplash: This video is almost a polar opposite of its predecessor, "Telephone." While "Telephone" was bright, colorful, and over the top, "Alejandro" is dark, in black and white, and about as close to "normal" and "subdued" as we're likely going to get from her. Watch the two back to back, and you almost couldn't believe they're from the same person.
Nude-Colored Clothes: Gaga's wearing underwear that's almost the same color as her skin in some shots, which might make you think she's totally nude in some shots even if she isn't.
Fun with Acronyms: The prologue takes place in the Government Owned Alien Territory in Space. Or GOATS.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: While the weird birth imagery fits perfectly with a Gaga video, having them be a kaleidoscope mashup means that it can be QUITE explicit and not get censored.
Good Needs Evil: Sadly, right when the birth of a new race without prejudice or hate was happening, evil was born.
And the Mother Monster realizes she cannot protect the perfection without the evil on top of it.
Human Subspecies: The video for Born This Way starts with her giving birth to a new species of humans, one without hate.
Mind Screw: It wouldn't be a Gaga video without it.
N-Word Privileges: She got into a little hot water for using the terms "chola" and "orient" in the song (Although "Oriental" is commonly used to describe East Asians in Britain, it's still considered offensive in America.) Most agree that she simply used the words as short and easy-to-rhyme catch-all terms for Mexicans and Asians, respectively (since she does mention "Black, white, beige" right before), but the words themselves still stung. Ironic considering the song is about equality and respect.
Retraux: The song in and of itself is two parts direct homage to Madonna's "Express Yourself", one part New Wave, and one part disco, but the lyrics appear to be directly inspired by Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign from 2010.
Shout Out: The video's opening music comes from the score to Vertigo, written by Bernard Herrmann.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Gaga's mermaid form has her breasts exposed, but the only feature on them are barely seeable gills.
Cheap Heat: Her 'cool Nebraska guy' tends to move around a lot depending on the radio station.
Could possibly be a *Take That to her ex who's originally from Nebraska, basically saying "I'm over you now".
Foot Focus: Shots of her feet bruised and bloodied from her journey. She also plays the piano with her foot at one point.
Mermaid Problem: Averted, as the whole problem is glossed over in the two brief sex shots.
Screw Yourself: If Calderone is Gaga's male alter ego, the result would be this.
Marry The Night
Based on a True Story: Marry the Night is intended to depict Gaga being dropped from Def Jam Records, flipping out, reinventing herself, and then, at the end, leaving for her appointment with Interscope.