Lady Gaga's ear for pop hooks and eye for unsettling imagery have landed her atop the creatively moribund U.S. pop scene like a queen stalking a smoldering battlefield. Shrugging her off as a mere magpie assembling a momentarily diverting spectacle from borrowed images is short-sighted. Her sci-fi lunacy will almost certainly earn her a spot in cultural-studies curricula decades from now. Her outfits nod to The Night Porter, The Wizard of Oz, The Fifth Element, and more. Breakout single "Poker Face" combined Christina Aguilera and Peaches, and new EP The Fame Monster throws Cher, ABBA, and Pet Shop Boys into the pot. Her music is only now becoming worthy of the costumes, but Gaga's evolutionary curve has been steep so far. She'll get there.
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