“Poker Face” Single by Lady Gaga from the album The Fame Released September 23, 2008 Format CD single, digital download, 7″ vinyl Recorded 2008; Record Plant Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California Genre Electropop, dance-pop Length 3:58 Label Streamline, Kon Live, Cherrytree, Interscope Writer(s) Stefani Germanotta, Nadir Khayat Producer RedOne Lady Gaga singles chronology “Just Dance” (2008) “Poker Face” (2008) “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)” (2009) Music video Poker Face at Youtube.com The Fame track listing [show]14 tracks
“Poker Face” is a song by American recording artist and songwriter Lady Gaga from her debut album, The Fame. Produced by RedOne, it was released as the album’s second single in late 2008 for some markets and in early 2009 for the rest of the world. The song is an uptempo electropop and dance-pop song in the key of G# minor, following in the footsteps of her previous single “Just Dance” but with a darker musical tone.
The main idea behind the song is bisexuality and was a tribute by Gaga to her rock n’ roll boyfriends. Lyrically, “Poker Face” is about a woman engaged in the practice of cockteasing. “Poker Face” was well received by most critics, who praised the robotic hook and the chorus. The song attained worldwide success, topping the charts in twenty countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many European countries.
“Poker Face” is also the most downloaded song in the British chart history. It is among the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 12 million copies. The accompanying music video for the song portrays Gaga singing it in various costumes and playing strip poker in a getaway villa. Gaga performed the song for the eighth season of the television show American Idol as well as the Fame Ball and Monster Ball tours. The live performances included an electronic version and an acoustic version, which she played on the piano. It was nominated for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 52nd Grammy Awards, and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Rolling Stone ranked it number ninety-six on their list of 100 Best Songs of the 2000s decade. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 103 on its list “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”.
“Poker Face” was written by Lady Gaga and RedOne, while the music has been produced by RedOne. Gaga stated in an interview that “Poker Face” was written by her as a pop song and was a tribute to her “rock ‘n’ roll boyfriends.” She also stated that the main idea behind the song was sex and gambling. In an interview with UK’s Daily Star, Gaga noted of the song, “It’s about a lot of different things. I gamble but I’ve also dated a lot of guys who are really into sex and booze and gambling, so I wanted to write a record my boyfriends would like too.” In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, when asked about the meaning of the line “bluffin’ with my muffin”, Gaga explained that it really was a metaphor for her vulva. “Obviously, it’s my pussy’s poker face! I took that line from another song I wrote but never released, called ‘Blueberry Kisses.’ It was about a girl singing to her boyfriend about how she wants him to go down on her, and I used the lyric. [Gaga sings] ‘Blueberry kisses, the muffin man misses them kisses’.” During her Fame Ball Tour performance at Palm Springs, California, on April 11, 2009, Gaga explained to the crowd the true meaning behind the term “Poker Face” used in the song. She suggested that the song dealt with her personal experience with bisexuality. The idea behind the song was to be with a man but fantasizing about a woman, hence the man in the song needs to read her “Poker Face” to understand what is going through her mind. The idea was taken from AC/DC’s song “The Jack” off their High Voltage release.
Priya Elan from The Times, in a review for The Fame, said that “Poker Face” was one of the finest moments of the album with its “love-as-card-game cheek.” BBC reviewed the “strut-tastic” single as “expressing her overwhelming desire for celebrity and fortune.” Bill Lamb of About.com said, “‘Poker Face’ works well on pop radio, but with slight mixing alterations it would be equally at home in a dark, sweaty, late night party atmosphere. She has refreshed the pop world in the US and UK at one of the slowest times of the year.
‘Poker Face’ keeps the motors humming as everyone waits for the next step forward from Lady Gaga.” Chris Williams of Billboard also gave a positive review of the song saying, “Once again, hooks are aplenty, with ’80s-inspired synthesizers, robotic verses and a warm, sunny hook in the chorus, which is even more addictive than the previous single (‘Just Dance’)…With a focused artistic vision, a swagger in her interview style and above all, a fantastic collection of diverse pop nuggets, Gaga is playing her cards right—and “Poker” is another obvious ace.” Slant Magazine music reviewer Sal Cinquemani included “Poker Face” among the songs that work in The Fame, namely tracks like “Starstruck,” “Paper Gangsta” and “Summerboy”. Matthew Chisling from Allmusic called the song “infectious” and along with the title track “The Fame”, complimented them for “rejuvenating the vibe on the album for its second half.” Andy Downing from The Chicago Tribune called the song “jaunty” while reviewing Gaga’s Fame Ball tour. Evan Sawdey from PopMatters.com felt that “Poker Face” along with the track “Paparazzi”, duplicate much of the same “glitzy territory that previous single ‘Just Dance’ had covered, but never once does it feel like Gaga is deliberately repeating herself.
“Rolling Stone in a review for The Fame Ball Tour compared the live acoustic “bluesy” version of “Poker Face” with the music of singer Amy Winehouse. Erika Hobert from the New Times Broward-Palm Beach newspaper called the song “trashtastic Europop.” The song was nominated for Grammy Awards in the categories for Song of The Year, Record of The Year, and Best Dance Recording, ultimately winning the last of these.
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