On Lady Gaga’s “Fashion”

No not “Fashion of His Love” or “Fashion!”. Just, “Fashion.”

Background
It was written in 2007 by Lady Gaga and RedOne(produced her first album) for Sex and the City originally. Then RedOne gave it to Heidi Montag for her debut album(which didn’t do too hot). Gaga’s original version floated around a bit after that. It was released on Confessions of a Shopaholic Original Soundtrack in 2009(where I discovered it). And then it was performed during The Monster Ball Tour(Gagapedia).

Here is a lovely fan-made music video:

I just need to nut this out for a little while. This song just captures everything I love about “The Fame” era Gaga and her notions of inner fame and earnest embrace of narcissism, superficiality, and glamorous trashiness.

Her Voice
Honestly, who can ever get over the sass and passion of young Gaga’s voice? There’s a kind of naivete in the lilt, a little sloppiness in the execution that’s just so endearing and endlessly interesting to listen to. And when she practically does the equivalent of drooling in singing as she massages those designer names–perfection.

The Production
Upon “rediscovering” Gaga after I had shelved my obsession for her earlier work, I forgot how alluring the funky, disco bop sound was. It is ages the song yes, but in a universal way. It hits an interesting sweet spot, where it is refreshingly different than the modern trajectory of pop music, yet not too cookie cutter 2000s. The rounded drum sound and mini disco breakdowns(admittedly there are still some these days) really draw out this “trashy” vibe, and I absolutely love it.

Fashion
I would say that the main theme of the song is portraying the way the masses consume high couture. It’s in Gaga’s tone and lyrics — especially the literal name-dropping of designers (now that I think about it, the intentional correct pronunciations of their names could either be her insistence on respecting them or her mimicking the affect of sophistication of the wanna be fashionista).

Final Thoughts
This is such an underappreciated song. I really hope she’ll perform it again some day, but it’s extremely unlikely since it seems she only does that for her hits. I want to close with the observation that young Gaga seems at once deeply enthralled with the glamour of fame, yet removed enough to intelligently mock it. It’s clear that this song is satire, but it’s got an underlying earnestness that says “yeah, this is ridiculously dumb, but fuck you, it’s still awesome.”

And the live performance (it’s a yike, but, well, it’s the only one that exists):

 

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