I don’t remember the first time I heard Just Dance–it was some time in summer of ’08, several months before it took over radio and the country–but I liked it immediately. I do remember thinking “Is anybody gonna fall for or play a brand new, overtly pop/heavily dance-adjacent artist in this day and age?” I mean, yes, the Rihannas and Britneys and even newbies like Katy were setting radio and the charts on fire. But Lady Gaga adhered far more to the pop dance of Madonna or Kylie Minogue than she did the pop-leaning, electroed out music those other three where schilling. Something about Gaga sounded old school, not dated, because I thought the production was great (yes even the tinny keys and synths that Tom slagged on) but there was something in her music’s DNA that set it apart from the other “EDM” of the day (for the record, I’ve never considered Gaga EDM in the strictest sense or any sense, but I won’t take time to argue that point here). I remember getting The Fame the day it was released–I’d also somehow got ahold of that album’s deep cut Boys Boys Boys prior; that song slaps big time and should’ve been a proper single–and I wasn’t disappointed; yes, there were a couple of tracks I could’ve and still could live without, but I appreciated that she really leaned into a sound that, for a new artist just outta the gate, probably only had a 50/50 shot at radio play, despite the hooks that were all over that thing (her next Number One reiterates that fact). This is still a banger of the highest order, but I’d argue she would have even better in her in a relatively short time. 8/10

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