Rank Up or Down: Lady Gaga
Rank Up or Down ranks the album releases of a given artist from the crème de la crème to the bottom of the barrel.
Lady Gaga has released five solo albums, with four of those being full-length. The Fame Monster is technically a mini-album, but too long to be an EP. After releasing five solo albums, how does her discography rank? Is her debut album definitive? Has she lost steam with her latest releases? Well, friends, fiends, and otherwise, here’s how The Musical Hype views the Lady Gaga album collection.
1. The Fame
In some respects, it’s a close-call between ranking Born This Way or The Fame as Lady Gaga’s best album. The Fame represents the ascension of the dance-pop artist. Arguably, Born This Way has more notable songs beyond the surefire hits, but her fame truly began with The Fame. Hard to deny the power of no. 1 hits “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” not to mention a top-five hit with the risqué “LoveGame.” Throw in “Paparazzi” (no. 6) for good measure.
2. The Fame Monster
Even though an argument can be made for Born This Way to rank as the second best (or even the best) project by Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster has “too many weapons.” Unlike The Fame, there were no no. 1 hits – something that Born This Way can boast. However, “Bad Romance” – which peaked at no. 2 – is one of the best songs of her career. Add top-five hits “Telephone” and “Alejandro,” and things get even better. “Speechless” wasn’t a major hit, but the ballad shows Lady Gaga’s range beyond being a dance-pop artist.
3. Born This Way
Born This Way didn’t earn two no. 1 hits like The Fame, but arguably features more buzz-worthy songs. “Born This Way” was the sole no. 1 from the album, but dang, it was a good one. “Born This Way” earned a spot on our 20 Notable LGBT Songs Released in the Last Five Years. Beyond “Born This Way,” hits “The Edge of Glory” (no. 3), “Yoü and I” (no. 6), and “Judas” (no. 10) all graced the top-10 of the Billboard Hot 100. “Hair” featured the sax playing of the late Clarence Clemons, peaking at no. 12. Exceptional opener “Marry The Night” barely snagged a top-30 peak…somehow! And sadly, the infectious “Sheiße” – a German word translating roughly to shit – missed the Hot 100! Hmm… maybe Born This Way should be at the top of the rankings!
The main reason Joanne is ranked so low is the fact that The Fame, The Fame Monster, and Born This Way arrived ahead of it. If Joanne had been the first album by the chanteuse, it would receive more love. Nonetheless, this is an excellent album that shows some stylistic changes from the singer/songwriter. None of the singles have been big hits yet, but time could tell. “Perfect Illusion” peaked at no. 15 as of press time, while “Million Reasons” is just getting its wings. Standouts aside from the aforementioned include “A-Yo,” “John Wayne,” and the moving “Angel Down.”
While Lady Gaga has never made a bad album, ARTPOP would come closest to that characterization judging her discography. It has its moments, but the album never has the same magic as her top-three contenders. Hence, it’s easy to rank her newest effort, Joanne, ahead of it. “ARTPOP” did score some points with “Applause,” a no. 4 hit. Even so, “Applause” felt flat compared to say, “Bad Romance.” The double entendre of “Do What U Want” is clever, but there’s a creepiness given the featured guest is R. Kelly…no shade. The next best moment comes from “Dope,” a ballad that shows Lady Gaga’s vocal abilities.