Today the ultrasmooth R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo released his new single “Beautiful Monster,” and it’s pretty good — produced by his longtime collaborators Stargate, it’s reminiscent of his earlier hit “Closer,” only with icier keyboards and a more paranoid outlook. But of course one commenter had to opine that the song was “very Lady Gaga,” presumably because it is an uptempo track that uses synthesizers and has the word “monster” in its title. This stray comment from someone named “rambo244” would be funny if this “Gaga already did it”-ism didn’t seem to happen with recent output by 99% of pop stars; it would be even funnier if Stefani Germanotta, who I will freely admit has been the marquee name on a few good-to-great tracks, wasn’t well-versed in the act of borrowing from her contemporaries and predecessors. In the spirit of educating people who apparently only started paying attention to pop when singles from The Fame started getting airplay on U.S. radio, here is a brief list of things that, despite many stans’ assertion to the contrary, GaGa cannot yell “first” about.
10. Setting things on fire in videos.
8. Egregious product placement.
7. Name-dropping big-name designers of the moment.
6. “Outrageous” videos that warrant opening and closing credits.
5. The willful marriage of high and low art.
4. Use of the word “monster” in the title of a pop song.
3. 4/4 time.
2. Not wearing pants.