The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

100

'The Fame'

Lady Gaga, The Fame
Courtesy of Interscope Records

Lady Gaga
Interscope, 2009

The title sounded like wishful thinking when Stefani Germanotta's album arrived in August 2008 to a shrug from radio programmers and record-buyers. By the spring of 2009, though, Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, was famous indeed. Gaga's debut was a game-charger, making dark, booming dance-pop—buoyed by the almighty four-on-the-floor thump of Eurodisco—the dominant sound of the global charts. And it introduced the world to an outrageously plus-sized form of pop divadom—to a provocateur and fashion plate who treated the whole world as her red carpet. Those paparazzi she sang about weren't just metaphorical, after all.

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