Lady Gaga is kind of an absurd character, constantly teetering on the edge between self-serious and silly. That balancing act is inherent in being a pop icon, because it is to some degree absurd that we have people we call ‘pop icons’ in the first place. Lady Gaga knows this, obvious fact that it is. She may have a bit of a messiah complex, which of course comes with the territory. She’s also not afraid of going to far into the absurdity of it all. Going as far over the top as she does is dangerous territory, and if you’re going to risk looking ridiculous, you might as well embrace your own ridiculousness to the fullest extent. Hence, a dress made entirely out of Kermit the Frog. And if you’re going to go Europop, you’d better go full Europop and don’t let not speaking German stop you. Lady Gaga knows exactly one word of German, and that’s enough to write a song with. It’s gibberish, even the English parts, but she delivers it with every ounce of conviction her little body can muster. And that makes it an unqualified triumph of pop songwriting.

The Queen

Lady Gaga set out to reinvent 80’s style arena rock, and it was just what we didn’t know we needed. Born This Way was full of ridiculously cheesy fist-pump anthems and power ballads. And it was good. So, so good. This is like a long lost Whitney Houston song, but better. So, so much better. Because it has the all of the brio and enthusiasm of a genuine camp aficionado. Obviously, Gaga just loves the hell out of the FM rock tropes of her childhood, but she wants to use them for art. That’s why she called one of her albums ArtPop, because she’s stupidly clever like that. Lady Gaga is a master of high-low, stupid-clever, trash-to-treasure.