If you even glance at music blogs once a month, there is no way that you have not experienced the GaGa firestorm that has consumed pop music lovers around the globe. It is pretty staggering to see just how pervasive she has become in the span of a year, especially when you take into account that her first single “Just Dance” didn’t even hit #1 in the US until this past January. Now, you can’t listen to a pop radio station an hour without hearing one of her five hits.
In reading Will-W’s review of The Fame Monster, due in stores and online November 23rd, I was struck first by his enthusiasm for the opus, but I started to wonder about her still-building popularity. Four top 10 singles is a huge year for any artist, but “Bad Romance” makes #5, and there are at least two more hits waiting in the wings. Should GaGa have left her monsters waiting to build some anticipation? Or did she do the right thing by striking while the iron is still hot? I know that this was supposed to be part of a re-issue (a practice I already have a huge bias against), but it appears that this has grown well beyond the original plan. “Bad Romance” is almost a given to hit #1 soon (possibly even in two weeks, once the EP hits, and Fame Monster may give Adam Lambert’s For Your Entertainment a run for the #1 album.
You know what song “Bad Romance” reminds of at times? Don’t laugh…New Kids on the Block’s “Step By Step”. And there’s a reason for that. After the huge response to Hangin’ Tough and the resulting tour, “Step” sounded like a huge, well, step ahead, with a much larger sound and an arena-inspiring chorus. “Step” is the one song of theirs from the 80s that actually holds up well. To me, there are a lot of comparison between NKOTB and GaGa right now (minus the branded bedsheets). Both seemed to come out of nowhere, both broke wide open globally, and both racked up multiple top 10 hits off of their breakthrough records (Hangin’ Tough was NKOTB’s 2nd album). And let’s not forget that they have already recorded together on the GaGa-penned “Big Girl Now”.
Here’s the big difference, though. New Kids had a bit of a break from the charts between 1989 and 1990 (Christmas single “This One’s For the Children” excepted). There is no break for GaGa, who is still at #7 on the Hot 100 with “Paparazzi”. Even with a break, the NKOTB backlash started in 1990, and continued on through the next couple of years, culminating in 1992 when they were accused of lip-syncing music sung by other singers. The fact that “If You Go Away”, arguably their finest moment, only got to #16 that year in the US demonstrates how quickly the biggest group in the world can plummet. I am not wishing a similar backlash for GaGa, as I hope she keeps pushing boundaries for years to come. My concern is that the public at large may not be as dedicated to her longevity, and she will be left behind for the next flash in the pan.
So what do you all think? Too much too soon? Cash in while the demand is there? Some other option?