Slated for release on October 21, Joanne is the recently announced album from Lady Gaga. A return to more club-ready music is expected from Joanne as compared to Cheek to Cheek, her 2015 Grammy Award winning duet album of jazz standards alongside Tony Bennett. Gaga’s easily one of pop music’s most outstanding artists, statistically the best selling artist in popular music in the past decade, and maybe the best pop star of the past 15 years.
What is it that makes Lady Gaga so successful? Well, it’s simple. As a singer and songwriter, she knows her way around words and phrases and always finds just the right ones to say for any specific moment. Furthermore, her performances are amazing in a manner that oftentimes is directly related to another amazing pop song. As well, producers that she’s worked with in the past do something similar too. Many of Gaga’s biggest hits have strong similarities to other pop hits, but are just different enough where they can stand apart, oftentimes greater than the song that influenced their creation.
In looking at Lady Gaga’s five biggest hits AND the songs that they’re similar to in some way, the reason why Lady Gaga is the best pop star of the 2000s and 2010s.
1. Bad Romance – released in 2010, nearly 30 million overall sales worldwide – PURCHASE HERE
Sounds Like: “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics – PURCHASE HERE
“Bad Romance” is the lead single from The Fame Monster, which was Gaga’s second major label album release in 2010. It was debuted at Alexander McQueen’s show at Paris Fashion Week in 2009 and won two Grammy Awards in 2011. As compared to its sound-alike, “Sweet Dreams” also hit #1 in America. However, whereas “Sweet Dreams” was a top 10 single in 15 countries, “Bad Romance” was impressively a #1 single in 20 countries worldwide.
2. Poker Face – released in 2008, nearly 15 million overall sales worldwide – PURCHASE HERE
Sounds Like: “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by SNAP – PURCHASE HERE
“Poker Face” was the second overall single released of Lady Gaga’s career and is from her debut album The Fame. The song was covered by everyone from Chris Daughtry to the trio of Kanye West, Common and Kid Cudi, and was even performed on an episode of American Idol. As compared to it’s sound-alike, “Rhythm Is A Dancer” was a #1 single in 11 fewer countries than “Poker Face,” amazingly enough America being one of the countries where Gaga hit the top and SNAP did not.
3. Just Dance – released in 2008, nearly 12 million overall sales worldwide – PURCHASE HERE
Inspired By: “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie – PURCHASE HERE
“Just Dance” was Lady Gaga’s first overall mainstream single, and like “Poker Face,” is from her debut album The Fame. Both in the video and the branding for the song, she’s featured wearing lightning bolt makeup over her left eye, in homage to David Bowie. As well, then-breakout R & B superstar Akon was paired with Gaga in order to give hear a broader appeal to the urban demographic. As compared to the song it’s influenced by, Bowie’s 1983 hit was actually a number one in five more countries than Gaga’s debut single and has sold just as many singles, too.
4. Born This Way – released in 2011, nearly nine million overall sales worldwide – PURCHASE HERE
Sounds Like: “Express Yourself” by Madonna – PURCHASE HERE
“Born This Way” was Lady Gaga’s first release from her 2011 released album of the same name. The song is meant to serve as an empowerment anthem for the global LGBTQIA music community, and Gaga herself describes it as a personal “freedom song.” In later years, the song’s title has also doubled as the inspiration for her Born This Way Foundation that supports “the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world.” As compared to the song it sounds like, “Express Yourself” only went 1x platinum and was a number one single in five countries worldwide, which means that “Born This Way” is statistically 8x more popular as a seller and 5x the success that “Express Yourself” was as a number-one single.
5. Paparazzi – released in 2009, nearly five million overall sales worldwide – PURCHASE HERE
Sounds Like: “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin – PURCHASE HERE
“Paparazzi” was Lady Gaga’s last official release from The Fame, her debut album. The club-ready take on a pure-pop ballad is highlighted by Gaga’s vocals bearing a strong quality to those of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury. Interestingly enough, “Paparazzi’s” producer Rob Fusari gave Stefanie Germanotta the name “Lady Gaga” as an ode to Queen’s 1984 song “Radio Ga Ga.” As compared to the song it sounds like, Berlin’s Top Gun soundtrack anthem “Take My Breath Away” was a number one hit in more countries worldwide, but Gaga’s single has been an infinitely greater seller overall.