Lady Gaga turns 27 today. Ugh, Madonna invented that in 1985.
Just kidding. Since I had such a good time toasting Mariah Carey‘s extensive canon yesterday, I thought we’d take a chance on another birthday girl today. Bow down to Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, who will no doubt kick off another spectacular year of LGBT activism and phenomenal pop culture sorcery beginning today. I hope she’s wearing only the sleekest wig, blazer, and leotard set as I write this.
Shall we rank the superstar’s 27 greatest songs, kids? I apologize for what I’ve left off, but I’ll leave “marrying the night” to you SCOTUS-approaching domestic types.
27. “Boys, Boys, Boys”
Boys in cars, boys in bars! The Dr. Seuss version of boy-craziness.
26. “Christmas Tree”
Aggressive, Christmas-themed innuendo. She’s the STAR ON TOP, everyone.
Elton John by way of Billy Joel by way of drunken teenage poetry.
Pure madness and the pure opposite of India.Arie‘s “I Am Not My Hair.”
23. “Bad Kids”
Born This Way‘s bubblegummiest moment of rebellion.
Has “meeting a girl in East L.A.” ever sounded so grand and rambunctious?
21. “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)”
Laid-back, good-time transcendence. And an underrated, candy-colored video!
20. “Bloody Mary”
The weirdest moment on Born This Way has moments of sweet contemplation in its slow rave.
Wait, maybe this is the weirdest moment on Born This Way. Like a Marlene Dietrich monologue on club drugs.
18. “The Fame”
I loved Gaga’s original purpose: to mock, satirize, condemn, and adore fame.
17. ”The Edge of Glory”
Tones of Springsteen, urgency of Journey.
Blowing your heart up with deadpan rap since 2008.
15. “Born This Way”
Jokes aside, this LGBT-riffic anthem makes you want to express yourself.
Slightly pretentious, yes, but Gaga makes that an endearing, cheeky pose in this wacky number.
13. ”Dance in the Dark”
For my money, her most glorious Madonna-tinged pop jam. The longing dancefloor shout is pure Madge.
12. “Government Hooker”
An operatic, industrial-rock dance jam. This is Erotica‘s impish niece.
An anthem for millions of Gaga devotees and Boris Karloff.
10. “So Happy I Could Die”
I honestly think this is one of Gaga’s most emotional songs. The lilting delivery of “…’Cuz we’re having a good time” is poignant — and eerie!
9. “You and I”
Her greatest and most anthemic rock ballad, full stop.
This song never got enough credit — a tribute to ABBA and Ace of Base with kickass verses and even Spanish flair!
7. “I Like It Rough”
I love the vulnerability in a line like “Loving me’s like chewing on pearls” and the daring plainspokenness of a line like, “You’re probably wondering why I like it rough.”
All hail the disco stick! I’m sure many of you have.
A dizzier “Bad Romance” with schizo vocal flourishes and a phenomenal spoken-word breakdown. Pure Gaga.
It’s Gaga’s “Material Girl” — a lighthearted jab at the modern, impersonal, technological static between us all.
3. “Bad Romance”
A spooky, winking, polished explosion of style and nerve. Hitchcock would’ve loved it, and not just because his work is referenced by name.
2. “Just Dance”
Gaga’s been a badass time and again, but maybe nothing will ever feel as rebellious as when she burst onto the scene boasting, “Wish I could shut my playboy mouth” and hollering at RedOne.
1. “Poker Face”
There can be no other. From the blatant sexual metaphors (including the infamous “bluffing with my muffin” line) to the ingenious, guttural “muh-muh-muh-muuhhhhs” that drone throughout the song, this song is a one-of-a-kind sensation on a lyrical, libidinous, and pure pop level. And it’s still my favorite Gaga video too.
Your turn. What’s the birthday girl’s best work?