There are pop stars, there are theatre divas, there are outrageously dressed runway models, there are immensely talented singer/songwriters…and then there's Lady Gaga, who happens to be all of the above.
A new icon in the world of performance art, Gaga made a huge splash on the pop music scene in 2008 and 2009 and hasn't looked back yet. From her humble New York roots as Stefani Germanotta, Italian-American schoolgirl, to her shock art stage performances (like "dying" onstage in a pool of blood at the 2009 MTV VMAs) Lady Gaga has transfixed the world with her unique blend of infectious beats, glam-rock stylings, wild costumes, and catchy lyrics. Her debut album, The Fame, shot quickly to the top of the charts; before she knew it, Lady Gaga herself had become exactly the kind of famous that she examines in her songwriting. No Gaga track better personifies this idea than "Paparazzi," a song that is paradoxically deep and shallow at the same time—this is a song about cameras and stars and vapid celebrity, but it also speak, just under the surface, to a tortured, unrequited love of the Shakespearean variety.
Songs like "Paparazzi" are the stuff that pop music sensations are made of… and this may be just the tip of the glittering, diamond-encrusted iceberg. Gagamania looks like it's here to stay.
Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
"Paparazzi" describes that gut-churning pain you feel when you love someone powerfully but you don't know if they feel the same way about you. This is, of course, one of our most common literary themes (probably because it's a near-universal part of the human experience). Shakespeare aside, from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to The Great Gatsby to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, countless protagonists in literature have experienced the crushing pain of unrequited love.
Gaga's relevance is political as well as artistic; if we view Lady Gaga as not only an artist but also as an activist, consider that she has been a strong ally for the LGBT community in their fight to gain marriage equality. Gaga appeared at the National Equality March to show her support for the cause.
On the Charts
At the 2009 MTV Awards, Lady Gaga won Best New Artist.
"Paparazzi" won for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects.
She was named the Rising Star of 2009 by Billboard.
The Fame reached #4 on the US Billboard 200 in 2009.
The Fame also hit #1 on the European Top 100 Albums of 2009.
The Fame went Platinum in the United States, Double Platinum in the UK, and Triple Platinum in Australia.
The "Paparazzi" single reached #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Her first four singles from The Fame all reached #1 on Billboard's Pop Songs Chart.
Gaga, along with Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Fergie, are the only women this decade to collect four Hot 100 top tens from a debut album.
The "Paparazzi" single reached #4 on the UK Singles Chart.