She’s only been releasing albums since 2008, but in three short years Lady Gaga has made an indelible mark on pop music. Here is a ranking of all her studio album songs – from 2008’s The Fame, 2009’s The Fame Monster and 2011’s Born This Way – plus a couple bonus tracks.
A dimwitted boast about the beautiful people set to a desultory beat. Beneath Gaga's dignity.
A rather dull paean to New York City and high fashion, with religious references guaranteed to raise eyebrows and hackles.
"Not interested in fakers/Don't want no paper gangsta," Gaga sings in this rather embarrassing dip into hip-hop.
Rough sex, timid beat.
Gaga sings about sex, art and religion in English, Spanish and French.
Straight-up circa 1979 disco revivalism, with the bass in place and Gaga doing her finest Anita Ward impersonation.
Inspirational bromides, Gaga-style: "I can be the queen that's inside of me."
Generic Eurodisco thump, with lyrics auf Deutsch.
"I need some new stilettos/Who could walk down the street in those?" It’s not the kind of complaint you expect to hear from a woman who shows up to awards ceremonies wearing a Porterhouse steak. But this dance-pop tribute to haute couture is diverting fun. “I’m too fabulous,” Gaga boasts, and who could argue with that?
Gaga tries out straight-ahead R&B, with middling results.
Gaga conquers her insecurities, finds love and revives Eighties dance-pop – all in under four minutes.
"Together we'll find a way/To make pure love work in a dirty way." The shrieking metal guitar solo will help the cause.
Smutty. Quoth Gaga: "I want your whiskey mouth/All over my blond south."
Gaga ponders fame, fortune and "hot blondes in odd positions" over a funk-pop groove.
In which Lady Gaga propositions President John F. Kennedy.
Gaga exults in the pleasures of club-hopping, drinking and bi-curiosity.
A particularly spirited vocal turn highlights this dopey song about love trumpets "the Jag, the jet, and the mansion."
Gaga croons one for her core constituency: the misfits.
High school romance, à la Gaga: "Let's go see The Killers and make out in the bleachers . . . Love it when you call me legs/In the morning, buy me eggs."
A lovely retro-rock ballad, with Beatles chords and George Harrison-style guitar solo.
A suave four-square beat and some Auto-tune boost this deceptively dark song about a Don Juan. "He ate my heart then he ate my brain," she sings. "That boy is a monster."
Gaga returns to a favorite theme: love-as-a-battlefield. "Let's have some fun/This beat is sick/I wanna take a ride on your disco stick."
Gaga at her bubblegummiest. A cheery, cherry-flavored synth-pop trifle.
A grungy funk-rock groove bolsters a beatific tale of summertime romance: "You can take me home/Somewhere nice we can be alone/Bikini tops, coming off…"
The greatest Anglo-Latina lesbian marriage story ever set to a disco-cabaret beat.
A delicious soul-glam ballad, with lyrics that pledge puppy love – and complain about premature ejaculation.
The discotheque as utopia: "Just dance, gonna be ok."
Gaga bids farewell to a lover, in an ersatz-Latin accent, with the usual top-drawer global-pop production values, courtesy of comrade-in-arms RedOne.
Madonna's "Express Yourself," updated for the marriage equality era. The groove is ferocious.
Extravagant coiffure as personal liberation. All together now: "I am my hair!"
Biblical mumbo-jumbo, "fame hookers," "ear condoms" – and the stormiest chorus Gaga's ever recorded.
More sexual neurosis, propelled by a sleek synth-swathed beat, and one of Gaga's most lustrous choruses.
Gaga's "Born to Run": "Get your hot rods ready to rumble/'Cause we're gonna fall in love tonight."
Gaga joins forces with New Jack Swing maestro Teddy Riley for her funkiest, filthiest song. "Show me your teeth," she commands. "Take a bite of my bad girl meat."
Lady Gaga battles Beyoncé Knowles to a draw. Neither is accepting phone calls, by the way.
Gaga's most open-hearted song: a straightforward ode to her "cool Nebraska guy." With a big beat, and a big tune, worthy of a classic Def Leppard power ballad – not to mention Def Lep's old super-producer, "Mutt" Lange.
The battle of the sexes as a high-stakes game of Texas Hold 'Em. Beneath the bluster ("I'll get him hot, show him what I've got"), a sad reflection on the gulf that separates lovers, delivered over heartstring-tugging minor chords: "He can't read my poker face/She's got to love nobody."
Gaga reanimates the corpse of Bonnie Tyler, recasting high-Eighties cheese-pop for for 21st-century discos. Sure hope the night signed a pre-nup.
Gaga channels with her inner glam-rocker. The greatest power ballad never recorded by Queen or Mott the Hoople.
Is it a song, or a hurricane? Gaga's sublime dance-rock anthem, written about her grandparents, is powered by bombastic power chords and even more bombastic lyrics. ("Put on your shades 'cause I'll be dancing in the flames/Tonight, yeah baby.") Just when you think it can't get any bigger, Clarence Clemons steps into the spotlight…
In Lady Gaga's universe, obsessive love and modern tabloid celebrity tend to get conflated. With the slinkiest, most insinuating beat of any Gaga song – and the usual ginormous chorus.
The essence of Gagaism: a relentlessly catchy chorus and a pummeling club beat power a song that's grand and tawdry and joyful and melancholy – a story about how love hurts so good, and so bad. Mission statement: "I'm a freak, baby." Tender come on: "I want your horror/I want your design." Singalong refrain: "Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah/Roma, roma ma/Gaga, ooh la la."