's Super Bowl performance last night was insane. Leaping across the field on wires and choreographing hundreds of people to dance along with her songs
, it certainly was not low on energy. And with her packing some of her biggest, most iconic hits into the 13 minute slot time, it made me realize that Gaga's catalogue has some amazing and iconic songs, and now is a good a time as ever to celebrate the music she has put out since almost 10 years ago now (feel old yet?). So here are our top 12 favorites.
12. "Born This Way"
"It doesn't matter if you love him, or capital Him. Just put your paws up, because you were born this way, baby."
Over zippy and grimy early Skrillex-like synths with a pounding and uplifting chorus, Gaga wants you to be proud of yourself.
11. "Million Reasons"
saw Gaga take a stripped-down, more personal approach to her songwriting, and "Million Reasons" is the best example of her doing that right. This was by no means the first time Gaga has done a ballad, but unlike tracks like "Brown Eyes" and "Dope," which seem out of place on otherwise danceable, upbeat, and sexy albums, "Million Reasons" feels like it's exactly where it's supposed to be.
On an album otherwise filled with chunky and grimy synths, "Fashion!" takes a noticeably more funky and R&B-tinged approach to its composition. And with its theme of being proud of what you wear and who you are, it's without a doubt one of Gaga's most uplifting and positive songs. The lines "looking good and feeling fine"
and "step into the room like it's a catwalk,"
makes this an obvious drag anthem, but the pride that emanates throughout this whole track is for everyone.
9. "Just Dance"
I mean, why this one's great is pretty simple. The title. It takes a simple command and makes an entire song out of it. The second that Gaga sings "Just Dance,"
you've already listened and are moving to that thick bass synth and groovy drum pattern. Not much more to it than that.
8. "Sexxx Dreams"
as a whole relied heavily on the Big Room and Electro House that was packing huge outdoor festivals in 2013, and while it felt like Gaga lost a lot of her personality in the process (she went to make a jazz album with Tony Bennett a year after out of frustration); when the style works, it really works. With its phased-out primal drumming pattern, and Deadmau5-influenced synths, and Justice-like bass, "Sexxx Dreams" feels like a song you would jump around with a crowd of sweaty people to, while bringing it to the bedroom later; and while Gaga's vocals are noticeably lacking and uninterested, her refrain of "I touch myself and think of you"
before the chorus is so rewarding.
Before she was Gaga the superstar, she was Gaga the paparazzi. Obsessed with the idea of fame on her debut album The Fame Monster
, this song doesn't show her trying to get it, but rather having admiration for those who do. The chorus on this song is definitely one of her most memorable choruses, with "I'll follow you until you love me"
shooting up in pitch, reflecting the wide-eyed admiration for the artists that she loves. Outside of totally nailing that feeling of admiration, this track also has some of her most interesting production to date, with it's stuttering start and stop drum rhythm and squishy synths that slide in and out of the track.
6. "Perfect Illusion"
One of the more classic Gaga sounding tracks on Joanne,
this track succeeds simply because it combines the hard hitting production of albums like The Fame
and combines it with her newer, more personal and passionate approach to lyrics and vocal delivery. Hearing her scream "mistaken for love...it wasn't love"
over the loud production feels like a satisfying bridge between the old and new.
5. "Bad Romance"
This one just feels filthy and is probably one of the most iconic. With the lines like "I want your ugly," "I want your disease," "I want your everything as long as it's free,"
delivered over a grimy, rubbery synth, it doesn't even need to try to be sexy. It's the embodiment of it. And with a classic Gaga chorus, it seems effortless.
4. John Wayne
This one's a weird one. I mean, as weird as a song from somebody who turned their body into a motorcycle for an album cover can be. Nobody would have ever considered Lady Gaga someone to make a distorted indie country rock track prior to the release of Joanne
. Never mind have it be amazing. The groove on this is just infectious, and the way she distorts and compresses her vocals is wild - making the drawl that she takes on this song feels undeniably sexy. It's an unexpected surprise from Gaga, and the best example of her skill outside of synth-heavy bangers, and her skill in general.
3. "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich"
With a minimal breakbeat rhythm, and R&B-influenced keys and bass, "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" allows for Gaga's personality and unique vocal style to really shine through, because it's not trying to compete with the sheer noise of the synths and drums of other louder Gaga tracks. And when her voice is allowed to breathe like this, it turns out to have a notable sense of character and soulful groove to it; and through the power of Gaga's personality, it easily becomes one of her best tracks.
2. "Do What U Want"
With a dirty lead bass synth, powerful kick and popping snare combo, and glittering synths in the chorus, this is definitely one of Gaga's best produced tracks. Gaga herself really pushes the track forward with just how into it she gets. Her almost growled shouts of "Do what you want with my body"
feel urgent, and almost desperate, and definitely is one of Gaga's best performances, through sheer frustrated passion.
1. "Poker Face"
AKA the song you think of anytime Gaga is referenced. And it's for good reason, as "Poker Face" brings together all of Gaga's strengths of uplifting yet biting synths and bass, a powerful chorus, and a notable passion in her voice, to make a memorable, lasting anthem for runways everywhere.