Study Guide

Paparazzi

Paparazzi Introduction

In a Nutshell

There are pop stars, there are theatre divas, there are outrageously dressed runway models, and there are immensely talented singer/songwriters. And then there's Lady Gaga, who happens to be all of the above.

An 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's paradoxically deep and shallow at the same time. This is a song about cameras, stars, and vapid celebrity, but it also speaks, 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.

About the Song

ArtistLady Gaga
Year2009
LabelInterscope/Streamline/Kon Live/Cherrytree
Writer(s)Lady Gaga, Rob Fusari
Producer(s)Rob Fusari
Musician(s)
Learn to play
AlbumThe Fame

Music Video

Influences on Lady Gaga

Madonna
Queen and Freddie Mercury
David Bowie
John Lennon
Andy Warhol
Rainer Maria Rilke
Michael Jackson
Grace Jones 
Donatella Versace 
Akon
The Scissor Sisters
Piet Mondrian
David LaChapelle
Elton John

Influenced by Lady Gaga

The Pussycat Dolls
Britney Spears
Adam Lambert
Mark Jacobs
Versace

Paparazzi Resources

Websites

Lady Gaga's Official Website
Gaga's official home on the interwebs; here you can watch videos, tweet your reviews of her album, watch interviews, read blogs, look at pictures, read her bio, and more.

Jon Caramanica, "An Artist Whose Chief Work Is Herself," The New York Times (2009)
A somewhat satirical look at the Gaga phenomenon, both criticizing and praising the pop star. While the guy can't seem to allow himself to flat-out like her, he does admit that she's somewhat of a showstopper, and a big hit with her fans.

Melissa Goldstein, "Watch: Lady Gaga’s 'Paparazzi' Video," Spin (2009)
A journalist provides a funny and witty recap of the music video that skyrocketed "Paparazzi" to new levels. Shot at glamorous Los Angeles locales, the video weaves a tale of lies, deception, sex, and murder, all caught on camera by the ubiquitous paparazzi.

Interview with Lady Gaga, Interview Magazine (2009)
This interview is mainly about her experience touring in Japan and the tattoos she got while there. 

Alexis Petridis, "Review of The Fame," The Guardian (2009)
A music reviewer doesn't look very favorably on the album.

Ron Slomowicz, "Interview with Lady Gaga," About
She discusses various bands and people who have been influences on her, as well as the idea that she writes each song—in other words, she visualizes the entire sensory picture of the music as she writes.

Fiona Sturges, "Lady Gaga: How the World Went Crazy for the New Queen of Pop," The Independent UK (2009)
The journalist seems a bit skeptical of Gaga at first, but later warms to her quirky charms. They discuss everything from her mother chaperoning her, to New York dive bars at the age of 14, to the Gaga persona and how it has overtaken her.

Jocelyn Vena, "Lady Gaga on Success: 'The Turning Point for Me Was the Gay Community,'" MTV (2009)
The LGBT community has provided Gaga with some of her most loyal fans from the very start, always supporting her through criticism and setbacks. She says of her favorite followers, "They'll always stand by me and I'll always stand by them."

Dan Zak, "Lady Gaga, Already a Gay Icon, Shows She's an Activist Too," The Washington Post (2009)
An article about Gaga's appearance at the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner, the National Equality March, and her loyal support for the gay rights movement. The last several times she accepted an award, she said, "Bless God and the gays!"

Video & Audio

Queen, "Radio Ga Ga" Music Video
The song by Queen that inspired Lady Gaga's name and her musical style.

Lady Gaga, "Paparazzi" Music Video
Shot in Bel Air and (possibly) Malibu or Santa Monica, the video follows a paparazzi-stalked starlet and her murderous boyfriend. He pushes her off a balcony in an attempt to aim her toward the press cameras, a fall from which she miraculously survives.

"Imagine" at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner
Playing on a beautiful white grand piano just like Lennon did in his Tittenhurst Park estate (with Yoko Ono by his side), Gaga plays an acoustic "Imagine" and sings her heart out. She also changes some of the words to include Mathew Shepard, equal rights, democracy, and to make a plea for gay marriage.