Monday, August 8, 2022

Book Review: Lady Gaga - Applause

As one of the world’s best-selling musicians, Lady Gaga has set the musical bar high. Since her debut album, The Fame (2008), she has sold more than 124 million records and scooped numerous awards, including twelve Grammy Awards and eighteen MTV Music Video Awards.

Yet she is much more than a musician. At the helm of the Haus of Gaga—a close-knit circle of behind-the-scenes creatives—Lady Gaga is a performance artist like no other; her forward-thinking fashions and innovations mark her out as the ultimate maverick. Recently, she has reinvented herself as an accomplished jazz performer, dueting with legendary singer Tony Bennett on Cheek to Cheek (2014) and Love For Sale (2021), while also proving herself a consummate actor with lead roles in A Star Is Born (2018) and House of Gucci (2021). And with her advocacy for LGBT rights and active championing of kindness via the Born This Way Foundation, co-founded with her mother Cynthia Germanotta in 2011, it’s clear to see why her fans adore her.

Lady Gaga: Applause by Annie Zaleski comes out on September 2, 2022. Palazoo Editions provide an early galley in exchange for an honest review.

I did not get hip to the music of Gaga until 2011 and her second studio album. However, when I did, I was instantly a fan. I found her style of dance music to be very appealing. When I saw this biography was forthcoming, I definitely was eager to check it.

First off, this book is full of so many amazing photos. For an artist like Gaga where visuals and image are key, it makes perfect sense for her biography to include so many great shots from her life and career. They really make the book pop.

Zaleski's telling of Gaga's story is straightforward and solid. She does not get overly fancy with the narrative and keeps the timeline unfolding in a chronological way. For someone like me who knew very little of this story, it quickly brought me up to speed. I especially liked the coverage of the early years before the first records were cut.

Finally, the discography in the appendix was very helpful as well.

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