Receiving both critical acclaim and commercial success with her debut album The Fame, pop phenomenon Lady Gaga looks to prove that she’s no one-trick pony with her sophomore effort, The Fame Monster. Originally made to accompany the re-release of her debut album, the new 8-track EP instead took on a life of its own to become a stand alone release reflecting upon the darker side of fame Gaga experienced after becoming world renown with the mega successful “Poker Face.” The album goes beyond the commercial pop of her debut with Gaga delivering more compelling and conceptually driven tracks that still maintain her radio ready sound.

Among the gems on The Fame Monster is the Fernando Garibay produced “Dance in the Dark.” Lyrically, the song is Gaga’s best since “Paparazzi,” with her lamenting women who are marginalized by their boyfriends over an ’80s inspired beat of emotionally-charged riffs and glittering synthesizers. Gaga’s songwriting genius shines on the track’s “Vogue”-like breakdown, where she pays homage to fallen female icons ranging from Marilyn Monroe to JonBenét Ramsey, reassuring them: “never let you fall apart / together we’ll dance in the dark.”

With usual collaborator RedOne, Lady Gaga serves up the fun and flirtatious “Monster.” On the dazzling electronic track, Gaga sings of hooking up with a savage wolf in disguise that doesn’t just steal her heart, but eats it too along with her brain. The tongue-in-chic lyrics of “we might of f*cked/ not really sure, don’t quite recall” over the RedOne’s glowing production and hypnotic synthesizers make this track the perfect pop record.

On the Darkchild produced “Telephone,” Gaga proves she can hold her own in the midst of featured artist Beyoncé. Both divas vocals and egos are loud and clear on this track as they fight back against distrusting boyfriends. The album also has its big ballad number with Ron Fair produced “Speechless.” Over vigorous piano playing and heavy guitar riffs, Gaga belts out her rawest and most heartfelt vocals to date. With “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga unleashes her creative freak as she drones of wanting all the bad qualities of a lover whilst declaring herself a free bitch over very busy production.

When many thought Lady Gaga couldn’t get any better than her debut album, the songstress manages to one up herself with The Fame Monster. Heavily inspired by the monstrously ugly side of fame, the telling album goes to show that bad has never sounded so good.