Lady Gaga came back in a big way with the passionate, hard-rocking "Perfect Illusion." The first single off her upcoming, as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2013's Artpop not only teased her latest era in an ever-evolving career but quenched fans who had been thirsty for a return to her solo career after some time spent focused on acting and collaborating with Tony Bennett. As her ardent followers prepare for her imminent album release, we asked our readers to vote for the best Gaga tracks. Here are the results.
At the time The Fame Monster came out, it still felt like fans weren't getting the full image of Lady Gaga as a person. "Speechless" changed everything, inviting the world into her relationship with her father and her plea for him to get open-heart surgery. The power ballad not only showed off some of Gaga's best writing skills but remains one of her finest moments as a vocalist and pianist.
Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone" was an epic collaboration with both at pivotal moments of their career: Gaga moving beyond "Bad Romance" and The Fame to establish herself as an artist who was here to stay and Beyoncé growing into the type of artist who could change the rules of record promotion with two surprise albums under her belt. The catchy ode to not wanting to pick up a phone call from a clingy beau while in the club came complete with a nearly 10-minute music video that had the two recreating Thelma and Louise in a Sin City-ish style with Bey breaking Gaga out of jail so they can get revenge on the former's boyfriend.
Labeled by Gaga as a song about the "the Fear of Sex Monster," "Monster" relays the story of falling for a bad boy whom she compares to a "monster." Combining sex with horror imagery much like "Bad Romance," the track shows off the ease Gaga can achieve catchiness – even with such an ominous lyrical message.
Pop had very few alien weirdos until Gaga's "Just Dance" rolled around. The perfectly 2008 track was a synth-saturated party anthem, a year when songs like Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" and Flo Rida's "Low" dominated the charts and radio. Gaga's sound mixed with her Bowie-referencing style quickly helped establish a space just for her and a mold she didn't stick to for too long.
The shimmering, lush "Paparazzi" showcased higher ambitions for Gaga then the type of grungy house party she's seen in for the "Just Dance" video. Fame has long been an important theme in her music, and "Paparazzi" took it one step further, making her both the voyeur and the It Girl. The glamorous music video featured Alexander Skarsgard as her leading man who pushes her off a balcony in an effort to become more famous – until she eventually poisons him. As an added bonus, her blood-soaked VMA performance was a career-making moment that shocked the world.
As Gaga began to open up more about her sexuality and experience feeling like an outcast as a teen, she became even more connected with her fans, especially those experiencing the same traumas and life experiences as her. She became Mother Monster to her Little Monsters, and just as she did as a performer who embraces the weird, chaotic and ugly sides of fashion more than the glamour, she offered safe spaces for those struggling with their identity or bullying. The anthemic "Born This Way" became the emblem of her Monster Movement and the soundtrack to her support.
This electro-pop jam turned into one of the biggest songs of 2009 and also an important personal statement for the singer."Poker Face" is partially an ode to her many rock & roll boyfriends, but it is also about the singer's bisexuality and the times she's fantasized about other women while with a man.
One of the finest love letters from Gaga to her rock & roll side and history was the Springsteenian "Edge of Glory." The epic, Born to Run-esque track goes full Eighties with its "tonight's all we got" message. The song also features a gorgeous and final sax solo from the legendary E-Street member Clarence Clemons, who died a month after the single was released.
Sure, the video for "You and I" introduced the world to Gaga's male alter ego Jo Calderone, but the song itself serves as one of her best love songs. Skipping the tricks and special effects, the simple piano-driven power ballad is a tender, comfortable piece dedicated to her "cool Nebraska guy."
"Bad Romance" was not Gaga's first hit, but it was the smash that made her hard to ignore. Both the video and single were memorable, image-making pieces that paid tribute to both the couture fashion world and the art of creating a simple, catchy sing-along-ready pop song. The track won two Grammy Awards and sold 12 million copies worldwide.