Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Maki, Feb 16, 2020.
Take your time @Maki , you are doing a wonderful job.
@elektroxx can keep crossing out those songs, because...
This is quite a shocker for me, since I thought it would surely reach the top 10.
Fabulous and glamorous, we love ourselves and no one else...
Average score: 7.943
Highest scores: 11 x 2 (@m_dimitrov, @KYLE), 10 x 5 (@Phonetics Boy, @muddleddreams, @Ana Raquel, @Maki, @Markus1981)
Lowest score: 5 x 1 (@Sprockrooster)
My score: 10
High peak: #4 (5 voters)
Low peak: #17 (12 voters)
Pre-Fame section is down to its top three and "Vanity" isn't among them, to my surprise. What happened here? I really thought this was a relatively well-known and generally loved song that could've easily been among the top 10. In fact, it was actually at #1 with 3 voters, but I don't include that into statistics, since it's too small of a number. But that glory didn't last long at all. It very soon fell out of the top 10 and remained that way pretty much until the end. Looks like 13 isn't its lucky number.
"Vanity" was written by Lady Gag, Rob Fusari and Tom Kafafian in 2006. She put up the song on her MySpace for a short period of time, before taking it off. What's interesting about it is that it's among those rare songs in this rate that were actually officially released. It was first supposed to appear on the US edition of "The Fame", as track 11, but It was actually issued in mid-2008, but was only available on US advance promo edition of the album:
Clock the alternate song titles for "LoveGame", "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich", "Paparazzi" and "Summerboy"!
Also, the song was originally planned to be track 8 on the UK version of "The Fame", but was cut for some reason. On November 11th, 2008, the song finally made its way and was officially released as an exclusive download song for the music store, Rhapsody (along with the official artwork I used for this elimination).
Another rarity when it comes to this rate is songs being performed live. Well, "Vanity" has that, too. It was a part of the setlist on The Monster Ball tour - the same set where the recently-eliminated "Glitter and Grease" was performed. I actually forgot about this fact before reading some of the commentary.
And a bit of trivia: The song was used in the movie "Beastly" as a cover sung by Hanover Swain. It was also released on "Beastly (Songs From The Motion Picture)" on March 1st, 2011 (this inferior cover version is linked below).
The best way to describe "Vanity" is if you compressed "The Fame" album into a 3-minute track. Literally. Okay, I just realized that "Money Honey" does pretty much the same thing. But "Vanity" wasn't produced by RedOne, so the point stands at least for Gaga's songs with Rob Fusari. I can just imagine Gaga and Lady Starlight bopping to this gem in the nightclubs, covered in sequins, diamonds, happy because they're shining.
There are her vocal quirks, funky and playful production (the guitar!), her signature Pre-Fame/Fame era lyrics and Gaga-isms, and loads of catchy and fun hooks - basically everything that makes "The Fame" such a strikingly unique debut. If I had to choose, the pre-chorus and the middle-8 are my favourite sections - they are just so good. The rest is amazing, too. And I must say that the lyrics are quite adorable, despite being so typical for her at the time - some parts really make me smirk ("We dance like no tomorrow, we're on burlesque time / But everybody's gotta work tomorrow at 9" and "We need a little pretty 'cause this country's insane", for example). Also, I see this as one of her more obvious nods to the huge popstar of the 00's - it could've easily been a Gwen Stefani song.
Without going further into details, it just is an excellent song with awesome production and delivery, and equally charming lyrics. I wonder what was actually the reason for not including this song on the album. Was it actually summing up "The Fame" era too much? Still, I think the song should've definitely earned a spot on her debut album, even as a bonus track. It really deserved more recognition.
Oh, and this:
I just had to bump my score from 9.5 to a 10, since in a rate that is a bit more lenient, this really is among the best.
But do the voters agree?
I'm a bit shook that @Sprockrooster (5) is the lowest scorer of this song. And the reason for him rating this song low is... this: "Natalia Kills really stole this word, cause her Vanity part in Mirrors is the first thing I think of seeing this title." I've yet to hear that song by that girl who changed her pseudonym more times than Gaga changed her wigs during the entire Monster Ball, Born This Way Ball and ArtRave tour combined, but at least I know it's been featured in @soratami's quirky pop girls rate. #promo
Okay, let's give the word to the stans. @Phonetics Boy (10) says: "This was a bonus on The Fame in some obscure territories, right? Iconic." Almost correct about, but you are correct about it being iconic.
@AshtrayHeart (8.5) is using "Vanity" in the right way: "Always loved this song, I consider it a part of the Fame era. Just because I always had it tagged on the end of the album."Speaking of sequencing, @Pat (8) shares my thoughts: "Should have been on ‘The Fame’ as a bonus track, instead of ‘Retro, Dance, Freak’."
Gwen got some shout-outs, unsurprisingly.
Firstly from @DominoDancing (7.5): "I like it, but it's Gwen Stefani cos-play, isn't it?", and then from @spaceship (6): "Very Gwen Stefani meets musical but still enjoyable." A pity they weren't keen on the song as much.
@Untouchable Ace (8.1) makes an interesting comparison: "Gaga's version of 40's pop." Xtina was the proficient one in terms of that sound, but this actually makes sense.
Our other Australian voter, @berserkboi (8.4), has a song contest reference: "One of those oddities I’d through a couple of points at on PJ00s for standing out and being a bit different, but I am afraid I wouldn’t return to it often…" Wait, doesn't it mean that this should be a 10, since it would've received points? You even give 10's to songs that don't get points from you (and I know that feeling).
@Seventeen Days (7.5) is more keen on the live version: "A fun track, though I honestly don’t return to it much. The live version at The Monster Ball gave this more energy.", and so is @DinahLee (6), but in a less positive way: "This is cute but no way missed on The Fame tbh. The Monster Ball performances were also fine moments." @Laurence (7) doesn't mention the tour, but gives a fair overview of the song: "A good song, not perfect. Great opening. Very The Fame of course lyrically and stuff. I like it. The chorus is great, good verses. The vvvvvvvvvantiy is a bit overdone and too much, I dislike it here." I find those bits v-v-v-v-very good!
@M24 (8.25) screams with relief: "SYNTHS AT LAST! But the chorus is meh except for that last "fabulous and glamorous we love ourselves and no one else". " I love that final bit in the chorus, though.
@TéléDex (6) thinks it's: "Bit overrated.", but @Music Is Life (8.5) tells it how it is: "It’s a bop. A big bop actually." Yes. It really is.
As per usual, the final word goes to @m_dimitrov, who is one of the two 11-givers who provided commentary: "This is better than at least 1/3 of The Fame, it would have fitted very nicely with the rest of the album, The Monster Ball performance is also amazing"
The truth has been spoken.
"Look at me, whatcha lookin' at?"
Hanover Swain's cover:
Next up: We break the 8 point average with another song that received a lot of love (i.e. 10's) from the voters... including myself.
really love the guitar work on the track but really it's a bit too WORDY for me NN.
A Jade Cole reference? We love to see it.gif!
This mention had me so worried that I'd lost my 11.
I knew that it'd be "Vanity," based on your clues.
I am a little shocked that "Dirty Ice Cream" and "Retro-Physical" outlasted "Vanity" though.
Vanity - 8.2. I prefer this to 'Money Honey' and 'Boys Boys Boys.' The 'Fabulous and glamorous, we love ourselves and no one else' part reminds me of 'If You Seek Amy,' I could have given this a bit more.
Very nice write up @Maki ! I think I was a bit too harsh, but this one really got worn out for me after so many years.
It's interesting to mention that Vanity was supposed to be track 8 on UK version, while "Money Honey" was supposed to be a Canadian exclusive only and I believe Starstruck was meant to be the one for US. They ended up changing plans and keeping both Money Honey and Starstruck, while Vanity got chopped.
Keeping the total random note going on, Money Honey first had an "extended cut" for the Canadian (first press of the album) version, and many other songs had small changed for the "final version" (US release) of The Fame.
Some things I forgot to mention in the write-up of "Vanity":
- Tom Kafafian is the one who plays the guitar in the song (which I think is a fantastic addition).
- If you pre-ordered the tickets for certain Monster Ball tour dates, you could get "Vanity" as a gratis track.
- The way I struggled with repairing the blurry text version of the artwork, only to find out there's a full HQ version available upon further search.
- @yeRleDanaL's average score for the remaining twelve songs is now a perfect 10 (and will remain that way until the end).
I didn't know those details, but it's obvious they had a lot of different tracklistings in mind while compiling the debut album.
And thanks for sharing the extended version of "Money Honey" - looks like the intro is the only thing noticeably changed. That middle-8 always gives me life.
Now that you mention it, I can actually hear the similarities. Maybe that's why I like that bit so much.
Oh, and another thing: There's a song that includes word 'vanity' among its lyrics and it appears in this rate. Can anyone tell which one it is?
10 years since Mirrors this week, iconic.
Damn... It has to be Let Love Down ":("
'Fashion sense and vanity consume us cause we
We want that Kandy Life'
That's correct! I even used the lyric in the elimination post of "Kandy Life". As a reward, you get...
...er, nothing. But I can reveal that you're going to lose some of your lowest remaining scores relatively soon.
Anyways, since I won't be able to do an elimination tonight, it seems appropriate to spotlight the "Gwen Stefani Germanotta" trinity, now that we talked about all of them:
"Kandy Life", "Reel Cool" and "Oh Baby", among others, can also be linked to Gwen, but to a lesser extent. I'm surprised that Gaga never properly gave credit to her - she really seemed to be inspired by her at the time.
This isn't the song I wanted to leave at all...
...but we must say goodbye to it.
And when I finally go away...
...I know you'll look for me one day...
Let Love Down
Average score: 8.043
Highest scores: 10 x 8 (@Phonetics Boy, @VitaminBee, @CorgiCorgiCorgi, @SyPOPhantic, @muddleddreams, @yeRleDanaL, @Laurence, @Maki)
Lowest score: 5 x 2 (@spaceship, @abael)
My score: 10
High peak: #3 (8 voters, 9 voters)
Low peak: #12 (34 voters)
Team Love Child loses yet another song, I lose a second 10 in a row (though @Phonetics Boy and @muddleddreams share the same fate) and our final true ballad leaves the rate. I guess I should be happy it managed to get that achievement - ballads have had some rough treatment in this rate, and it's pleasing to see this one take the crown in that category. However, looking at its leaderboard trajectory, I can't help but wish it made the top 10, since it really belongs there. It was even in the top 5 for a certain period of time, before going a bit lower.
At the second leaderboard tea, with 10 voters, I said this, referring to "Let Love Down":
I was internally screaming "Don't let me down!", just like Gaga is in the song, to the voters. Unfortunately, I did jinx it, since it started falling into the lower half of the top 10 and, by the final five voters, fell out of the top 10 and landed on its low peak with the very last voter. Actually, this is the last song which reached the low peak as its final placement, so here will be no more bigger disappointments for me when it comes to that.
Back to the song. "Let Love Down" was written by Lady Gaga and Rob Fusari, somewhere between 2006 and 2007. It bears sonic similarities to "Brown Eyes" and "Fooled Me Again" (especially the former). Looks like the song wasn't included on her debut album because they didn't want more than two ballads ("Brown Eyes" and "Again Again" were already chosen), which is a pity. No live performances, either, which is another shame. And a shout-out to "Blueberry Kisses" is a very cute detail incorporated in its lyrics.
Rob Fusari has released his own version of the song in 2016, titled "Don't Let Love Down", along with a music video for it, but I haven't heard it past the 30 seconds, since it's quite rubbish, unsurprisingly.
I adore this song. I've always adored it, actually. It's already been said a hundred times before, but she just knows how to do a proper ballad. And she hit the nail right on its head with this one. Taking everything great from songs like "Wonderful", "Oh Well", "Fooled Me Again" etc. and transforming it into something poignant yet incredibly strong probably resulted in the creation of this masterclass. It's not too surprising that "Let Love Down" is the only 10 I gave to those piano-guitar Team Love Child songs - there's something special about this one. Needless to say, there isn't a single flaw.
The lyrical nature of the song is obviously sad, and is portrayed in the song, which is already infused with melancholy and desolation. Someone really hurt her feelings and she's certainly reflecting that here. Gaga's delivery is so emotive, raw and equally delicate at parts that I fail to understand how it could leave anyone cold. But, really, the instrumental here is incredible, too, and deserves an equal amount of praise. So refined, with magic being scattered in its details (the backing vocals, certain instrument touches etc.). Those strings swelling throughout the song, adding the perfect amount of drama and providing an amazing build-up. The guitar serving as a perfect companion and further wrapping-up the atmosphere, making it sound fuller. That chorus... damn, it's a stunner. And don't get me started on when it gets to the stripped-down part of the final chorus, before the explosion of emotional delivery and the theatrical instrumental crashing along with those soothing backing vocals. A moment.
Melodically perfect, musically imposing and vocally exceptional, this song really deserved more recognition, not only in this rate, but also in Gaga's actual career. Top 3 of her unreleased songs if you ask me.
The voters were mostly pleased, to my delight.
@Phonetics Boy (10) makes her rating standards clear: "Anything sounding vaguely like Brown Eyes gets a 10 from me, not sorry!" Looking at the scores, "Fooled Me Again" received a 9.5 from you, but I get what you're talking about. @VitaminBee (10) spills the tea: "This is also so much better than Brown Eyes and Again Again. Rob Fusari put out a version of this... no one should have to see or hear that ever." Both sentences are 100% correct.
@berserkboi (9.3) is here for a lovely ballad: "I appreciate this for showing us many qualities she’d go on to develop and thrive at in her later ballads, but some of the affectations I dislike are still present so I cannot give a 10 I am afraid! Better on second listen!" and @Sprockrooster (9) loves it, too: "She does this sound so exceptional well. We really need a Joanne adventure that goes into GLAMrock more." Looking at what turn she took with "Chromatica", I really wish she did a Joanne 2.0 with more rock-influenced stuff.
@Laurence (10) stans and brings up his talented sister once again: "This is fantastic. My sister can play it on the piano too I think. It's heartbreaking and great. Top 10 to me." Well... almost top 10, unfortunately.
@pop3blow2 (8.8) thinks that: "There’s some real color in the production here. I like the strings & little added moments, background vocals, etc." Yep, all amazing additions.
Given that @DominoDancing (7.5) called "Wonderful" and "Fooled Me Again" MOR, this is actually a nice comment from him: "Sure, that's what a Gaga rock ballad sounds like. Could have appeared just like this on nearly any of her albums. I like this as much as usual when she goes for this style."
But there has to be someone with a negative thing to say. This time, it's @Pat (6): "Okay-ish, but this gets kinda dull." Sorry, but this is an amazing song and nothing about it is dull. And @Pat's not alone. As seen in the previous rate, @Music Is Life (6.5) is not a fan of Gaga's early ballads: "The epic arena pop-rock feel of this was nice, but never something I really ever want from her." I'm very surprised that you aren't keen on Gaga's slowies, since you really like, well... everything.
@Seventeen Days (7.5) mentions the similarities with the aforementioned track: "The spiritual twin of “Brown Eyes” - same vibe and all." and @SyPOPhantic (10) extends on that topic: "This honestly should have made the cut for the album, better than Brown Eyes." I agree.
I think @M24 (8.75) is hearing something: "WHEN YOU LET LOVE DOWN, WHEN YOU LET LOVE DOOOOOOOOOWN" A chorus indeed.
@DinahLee (8) praises the song in a questionable way: "Before we had A Star Is Born I’d say this one was top3 Gaga ballads so it speaks a lot nn" Okay, I'll give you "Shallow" (and "Always Remember Us This Way" at a stretch), but "Angel Down", "Dope" and "Speechless" were all released before the soundtrack. But it is certainly among her best ballads (in my top 3), even including all of her released ones.
Despite giving all of the remaining songs a score of 10, @yeRleDanaL (10) will not be happy with this elimination: "This song almost got my 11, it's such an amazingly emotional track. My absolute favorite part is the prechorus, "AND WHEN I FINALLY GO AWAY..... I KNOW YOU'LL LOOK FOR ME ONE DAY..." I remember going THROUGH it freshman year when I had a falling out with a friend and this song was a hard relate." Aw. Sending you virtual hugs.
"I don't have to remind you, but you know that I'm around..."
And if anyone wants to hear the Rob Fusari vers-... oh, okay.
Next up: Going into a different sonic direction, unsurprisingly.
Which song will fall on the last hurdle before the top 10?
I don't have to remind you but you know that I'm around~ UGHHH What the fucm this deserved top ten
I'm done. This deserved top 10. Look, it's @abael coming in yet again with the lowest score on a track I love...
And reading this right after my reply on the Madge Rate thread ddd Love ya sis.
Ugh thinking about it, I think it could have been a 9.
Let Love Down really is a highlight. It's quite annoying to think it wouldn't fit on The Fame (Monster) or any other release at all (I mean, "Brown Eyes" also didn't fit with The Fame at all and she threw it in anyway).
It does sound like a huge song for anybody, just a bit too simple (even if gorgeous) to fit along the GagaWorld from The Fame-ARTPOP. But as I mentioned, I'd say this really feels like one of her finest ballad songs (along with Oh Well). It's just crazy that she went with Brown Eyes instead of anything else for The Fame and then took over 10 years to finally hit the right chord for her "Elton-Beatlesque-Ballads" aka Always Remember Us This Way, especially when some of her first attempts felt so much more natural than "Speechless" or some others. But I think I'm also glad she kept trying til she made it perfect (?).
I think this top10 will be legendary wow.
The balladphobia that this rate exhibits.
dont know what Retro Physical is doing here to be honest.
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