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5 songs: Lady Gaga arrives in Utah with spectacle

Published August 4, 2014 9:30 am

Music • Here are five essential songs from the megastar, who arrives in Salt Lake City on Monday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In 2008, pop star Akon told The Salt Lake Tribune that a then-unknown singer named Lady Gaga would soon rule the charts — for a long time.

Akon was right about his one-time protege, who grew up as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta but whose stage name soon became a household word.

This is the second time Lady Gaga is coming to headline EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, and if prior reviews of her ARTPOP Ball tour are any indication, fans will be treated to a spectacle not seen since the heyday of Stockton and Malone.

Here are five key songs that illustrate her ascent to the top of the pop charts. While her headlines aren't as large as they once were — Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea seem to dominate them this summer — Lady Gaga is still a creative wrecking ball.

'Just Dance'

Reportedly written in just 10 minutes by Gaga, this was her debut single that unleashed the Year of Gaga in 2009, hitting No. 1 early that year. Compared with some of her later compositions, it is a simple paean, with its trendy synthpop showing definite influences of R&B and an overriding theme of being trashed in a club. Oh, we've all been there. Sample lyrics:

I love this record baby, but I can't see straight anymore.

Keep it cool what's the name of this club?

I can't remember but it's alright, I'm alright.

Just dance. Gonna be OK.

'Poker Face'

This follow-up to "Just Dance" upped the ante with not-so-subtle lyrics espousing bisexuality and, more important, showed that Gaga wasn't a one-hit wonder. Plus, the song first illustrated that a penchant to shock was part of Gaga's schtick. Sample lyrics:

Can't read my

Can't read my

No he can't read my poker face

She's got me like nobody

'Telephone'

My personal favorite shows that Gaga could go toe to toe with Beyoncé in a song and not let Queen B upstage her. Plus, it's just plain fun, a nonsense song about wanting to dance instead of talking or texting on the phone. Don't text and dance — it's dangerous, she seems to saying. Sample lyrics:

Just a second

It's my favorite song they're gonna play

And I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?

You should've made some plans with me

You knew that I was free

And now you won't stop calling me

I'm kinda busy

'Born This Way'

It doesn't matter that Madonna fans carped that Gaga ripped off Madonna's single "Express Yourself." (For the record, she didn't.) This became an anthem not just for the adoring LGBT fan base she had cultivated but for all listeners who had ever felt marginalized for being themselves. Sample lyrics:

Don't be a drag, just be a queen

Whether you're broke or evergreen …

Whether life's disabilities

Left you outcast, bullied, or teased

Rejoice and love yourself today

'Cause baby you were born this way

'Applause'

This first single from her third studio album failed to generate as much excitement as "Born This Way" (debuting around the same time that Katy Perry was also premiering her first single from a forthcoming album), supporting allegations that it was almost left off Gaga's album. However, Gaga's songwriting and lyric-writing talents showed a sophistication not yet seen in her songcraft, and shined a spotlight that she was not to be ignored in a day and age where icons fall every minute. Sample lyrics:

I stand here waiting for you to bang the gong

To crash the critic saying, "Is it right or is it wrong?"

If only fame had an I.V., baby could I bear

Being away from you, I found the vein, put it in here

I live for the applause, applause, applause

Lady Gaga with Lady Starlight

When • Monday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $35 to $200 at SmithsTix Gaga on Bennett duet CD: Jazz comes easier vs. pop

Lady Gaga is a bona-fide pop star, but the singer says recording jazz music was easier than pop.

Gaga has spent two years recording an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett called "Cheek to Cheek," to be released this fall.

"You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an interview Monday. "I've sang jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else."

Gaga made the comments with Bennett by her side ahead of the duo's taped performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, where her parents attended.

Gaga, 28, and Bennett, 87, first collaborated on his Grammy-winning, platinum-selling 2011 album "Duets II." Bennett said fans will be impressed with Gaga's vocal performance on the upcoming album.

"They're going to say we had no idea she sings that well," he said.

"And they're gonna say they had no idea that Tony dressed so crazy," Gaga added, as Bennett smiled. "When you come out in your meat dress, Tony, nobody is going to know what's going on."

"Cheek to Cheek" is Gaga's first release since last year's "Artpop." Bennett released a collaborative album with Latin singers in 2012 called "Viva Duets."

The duo performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival last month and surprised high-school students at Bennett's Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Queens in June.

Gaga, who is currently on her "Artrave: The Artpop Ball" tour, says she is "actually happier than I've ever been."

"There's 60 years between us, and when we sing, there's no distance," she added about working with Bennett.

— The Associated Press