Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster [Interscope, 2009]
I liked the 14-track 2008 version of this album, augmented in this two-CD set by an eight-song EP of comparable quality. But only after being overwhelmed by the sheer visibility of her warp-speed relaunch did I realize how enjoyable and inescapable her hooks and snatches had turned out to be. Even if you consider her videos and such overelaborate, as I do, her songs are streamlined pop machines. Some are more efficient than others--I prefer the "Poker Face" hook as jacked by Kid Cudi and Lil Wayne to Gaga's sandbagging original. But even the slower ones have a way of taking off, in part because she writes lyrics like a paper gangster. The tell is "Money Honey," an apparent descent into ever crasser materialism that instead revives a short-lived slang usage of "money." His Jag, enjoyable. His kisses, money. A-