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Lady GaGa - 'Poker Face'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:20 UK time, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lady GaGaWho wants to play a game? What, ALL of you? Well OK then...

It's called Cheese Source, and the aim is to spot all the deliberate references to ridiculous hits from yesteryear which have been crammed into a self-conscious modern pop song like this.

Throwing in references to old songs is partly a desperate response to the scary thought that all of the really annoyingly catchy pop sounds have been done already (which is clearly not true, ask *insert annoying pop person here*), and partly a canny way to create the impression in your audience that they already know and like a song before they've even heard it all the way through.

As a listener, it's your choice to either settle down and enjoy the song as a whole, or invent a game in which you yell "CHEESE SOURCE!" as soon as you spot one of the nicked bits, and then sit back, looking smug. Guess which one I prefer?

So, now we've explained the rules, are you ready to play? Let's go...

Song Begins

CHEESE SOURCE! - At 10 seconds in, the "muh-muh-muh-maah" comes from 'Ma Baker' by Boney M. A No.2 hit from 1977.

CHEESE SOURCE! - "puh-puh-poker-FACE, puh-puh-poker-FACE" could, if you squint, be a nod to the verses of 'Word Up' by Cameo. A No.3 hit from 1983. May have to refer that one to the judges...

CHEESE SOURCE! - After she sings "poker face" in the chorus, there's a backing vocal bit which is basically the "come on Barbie, let's go party" bit from Aqua's 'Barbie Girl'. A No.1 hit from 1997.

Song Ends

*Sits back, smugly*

(OK, it might need some work before we call the Monopoly people...)

Four starsDownload: Out now
12" Released: March 10th

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Who are they? I've never heard of them. They very new or something?

  • Comment number 2.

    yeah, kind of. This is her second single. The first was 'Let's Dance', which is currently at No.8.

    Ironically, due to the downloads vs. physical formats situation, this song is already at No.3!

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry, having a Bowie moment.

    I mean 'JUST Dance'...

  • Comment number 4.

    Lol even though the lyrics are a bit dodgy and copied, I stil lyk the song. Just dance is better though

  • Comment number 5.

    There's something wrong with Lady Gaga, but I'm not sure what it is.
    When you watch her videos there's something either wrong with her face or her body or something!

    I'm sure of it, has anyone else noticed such deformity?

    Ok, maybe deformed is a bit strong...but she's certainly strange looking.

    The songs alright...maybe just a 3 star'er though...

  • Comment number 6.

    Review to follow?

  • Comment number 7.


  • Comment number 8.

    Yeah, she's a big nosed sex ball!

  • Comment number 9.

    Synth's straight out of 'Rhythm is a dancer' too innit.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, but did you say "cheese source"?

  • Comment number 11.

    lol!!! I love how Fraser is so strict about his Cheese Source game rules!

    "You didn't say cheese source though, so you don't win!!!"

    Aaah, A big nosed sex ball! That's what's so odd!

  • Comment number 12.

    LOVE this song, should soo be a 5 star!! love her too, and she's stunnin!

  • Comment number 13.


  • Comment number 14.

    "HATERS" don't tend to give songs four stars out of five, Mr Spigot.

    Besides, there's LOADS of information in the review, chart positions, old songs, the works!

    PS: Sorry to embarrass you, but you've left your caps lock on. People will think you were shouting all of that, and we both know you weren't, right? ;-)

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Fraser I see you and me both love music and will have fun.
    It is a superior pop song that is professional on every level and the songs personality really shines thru !!
    I was referring to the person who was making comments about lady ga gas appearance in a lazy and uninformative way.
    I recognise the four stars (should be five ) and was impressed by the cheese source comments. (oh dare I mention that word up was a hit for CAMEO in 1986 ! (OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE ? )
    You are always informative and your reviews are first class !!!!

    until the next discussion......

    PS What is a spigot ? It sounds like a great word !

  • Comment number 16.

    A spigot is a faucet...you know, something you get water out of. He probably meant it metaphorically, that the words were coming out in a great flow, like a waterfall.
    Unless I'm completely wrong about this, Fraser?!

    And on a completely different note, I still don't know what the fuss is all about with Lady GaGa...the songs are OK. Although, weirdly, with Just Dance, I prefer listening to it on the radio, rather than seeing the video.

  • Comment number 17.

    Whoa there, does that mean
    commercial appeal = good song
    it's just that I quite like Radiohead.

  • Comment number 18.

    Of course commercial appeal equates to a good song! R1 wouldn't have a playlist otherwise!

    As far as this song goes - it is ok. It is no doubt catchy, with a good melody. But obviously not as original as Let's Dance. After hearing a few of her tracks we are getting a general feel of what her music is like, and maybe after a few more tracks her repetitive style may wear a bit thin on some of us. But I like it at the moment.

    Dannyboy - Lady Gaga does look a little strange. I think it's because she sees herself as an art piece, and we all know how 'odd' some Art pieces can look. She reminds me of Christina Aguilera and I think she would have taken this route musically if she'd continued in a Dirrrrty stylee.

  • Comment number 19.

    In response LADY GAGA'S song is aimed at being a popular commercial pop song that will appeal to thousands..... it is a superior pop song that does this in spades and it has hit written all over it. LADY GAGA has the drive and ambition to bring it to life and she exudes the hard work ethic to be a success.

    RADIOHEAD on the other hand come from a totally different angle with different aims.
    To me FAKE PLASTIC TREES (my personal favourite ) and loads of their other songs are works of genius that move people on different personal levels... they are truly great in many ways.

    THIS is what makes MUSIC so amazing.... and the best thing to ever see is people being enthusiastic about what they love !!!


  • Comment number 20.

    I think Mr. Spigot is a) a pun on the name spiritwarrior and b) a Peter Cook reference.

    Which means that Fraser either meant to describe spiritwarrior as the devil or as a one-legged Tarzan impersonator. I would not dare to presume which.


  • Comment number 21.

    Wow, it's like you read my mind, although I did not wish to infer that Spiritwarrior is either of those things. I just like the way Peter Cook says the word.

    Good reference-spot though, Thranj!

  • Comment number 22.

    PETER COOK is a comedy genius so I am deeply flattered..... I bet he is in heaven now looking down and thinking LADY GAGA'S POKER FACE should have got 5 stars !!!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Apart from LADY GAGA I notice that there are many interesting singles coming out to review......


    Will you be reviewing all the key single releases or just a selection ? Obviously to us music lovers discussing music and our opinions constructively is highly enjoyable ...........

  • Comment number 24.

    We plan to review all of the songs you mention there, Mr Spigot.

    Whether we are nice about all of them, or nasty about all of them, depends partly on how they sit with the people doing the reviews, and partly on whether they are any good or not.

    Tune in soon to find out!

  • Comment number 25.

    What I am really enjoying about the RADIO 1 reviews is the length and effort put into each review of an artist's work.
    They are largely constuctive and objective and well written.
    I could list popular music magazines that use a paragraph to review a single and then it is sometimes reviewed by someone who obviously does not like the artist to start with and they do not even review the song.
    The RADIO 1 REVIEWS are the most professional and detailed reviews I have read in a long while and I am enjoying reading them.
    The lead single is often the catalyst that kickstarts a whole two year album and tour campaign so it is healthy and empathatic to give a song the best review you can .

    Looking forward to the next one.


  • Comment number 26.

    WOW this song is now NUMBER 1....... AFTER TEN WEEKS ON THE CHART.
    Well done LADY GA GA !!!

  • Comment number 27.


    "sits back smugly " lol lol lol xxxxxxxx

  • Comment number 28.


    POKER FACE 3 weeks at number one and a single and album number one double !!!

    5 stars for lady gaga !

  • Comment number 29.

    omg omg omg omg i luuuuuvvvv lady gaga her songs r jus amazing !! i would really luuv to meet her !! ther is a cool site [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] if u join u get all the info on lady gaga nd u get to no all the secrets !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    For me Lady Gaga was the highlight of Glastonbury 2009. As an elderly chap who doesn't follow the pop music scene, she came as a revelation. At last some pop music with balls! We haven't had anything like this since Abba! Very catchy tunes and a great performer. OK she's no beauty, but she is cute and sexy and obviously a fantastic musician.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh my word . this latest entry by Portly is so on the money !
    Lady Gaga is currently pop's hottest sensation.
    However now if we read back at the comments for Poker Face we see my very first comment on Chartblog where I was having problems with my caps lock. (Comment 13 )
    Fraser has done a review, where I think he forgets to review the song , ( Liam agrees ) I over - react and go on to say what a star Lady Gaga is , and is gonna be , Fraser calls me names , I make a bold statement and say Poker Face will outsell Just Dance. (Comment 13 )( Thank god I got that right .Poker Face is now the biggest selling single of the year !) . and then I spoil it by gloating for the rest of the comments like an idiot !
    I did say that I'm not alone by Calvin Harris would be huge, a month before release on comment 23, ( it went on to be number one ! ) so I clawed a little bit of dignity back.
    Oh, Fraser those were the days ! lol
    If it means anything now , I apologise if you think I was out of line.
    (I think I was , but hey we all learn , but it was the lack of review that made me comment , and at the time I knew Lady Gaga was gonna be huge , so I felt a little defensive for her. )
    Anyway sorry for the over reaction, I should have been more articulate... can you ever forgive me ?

  • Comment number 32.

    thespiritwarrior - I'm glad you agree with me and congratulations on discovering Lady Gaga a long time before I did.

    I thought Frazer McAlpine's blog on Lady Gaga was disingenuous in the extreme. Surely he realises that in all genres of music, even the greatest composers nick material from other people's music all the time. There are very few pieces of music that don't owe something to other pieces of music. I am mainly interested in classical music, and classical composers constantly "borrow" ideas from other composers - either deliberately or unconsciously.

    I went to the Paul McCartney concert in Liverpool last year, and onstage, Paul showed how he had arrived at the theme of "Blackbird" by modifying a Bach chaconne.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Portly, welcome to the bickering backroom of the blog...
    I think the main thrust of this particular review wasn't that it's outrageous to steal ideas, more that it's amazing that anyone would want to steal THOSE ideas, as they are taken from very cheesy sources. It's even more surprising that the end result is so good.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just had to refer to my dictionary for the meaning of the word "disingenuous " which it tells me , means crafty and cunning.(Fraser , I am guessing Portly knows you ! )It is now interesting for Fraser to come on now and say that Poker Face is rather good , safe in the knowledge that it is the U.k's biggest selling single of 2009 so far ! Yet back then apart from the 4 stars ( should have been 5 ! I'm getting deja vu ! ) he hardly bigged it up at at all. Very disingenuous ! lol
    I hope you are gonna join us regularly Portly , my knowledge of classical music and the use of the english language is sure to improve !
    Regarding Lady Gaga, she is a huge breath of fresh air in the world of pop music and mixes excellent catchy pop songs with memorable hooks , an excellent voice, a pop star par excellence delivery, videos that have caught the eyes of many , and an international marketing masterclass which is of the highest order.
    Most importantly the Fame album is full on dead centre killer pop songs !
    She will be a very deserving winner of the Best International Female Award at the 2010 Brit awards.
    Have I got this right, or does she have any other contenders ?

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm also glad that Fraser concedes that the end-result of Lady Gaga's musical shoplifting is actually good! Thanks for the cheery welcome, Fraser - I won't admit to my age or I will lose all credibility around here.

    Lily Allen was onstage at around the same time as Lady Gaga, and I thought the difference between the two performances rather summed up the general difference between Britain and the USA where effort is concerned! :-)

    From my investigations of Lady Gaga I discover that she has been on a tour of the UK as support act to "Take That!" That's rather like Bruce Springsteen being a support act to Peter André. If I'd known, I would have bought a ticket and left at the interval. I suppose Lady Gaga signed the contract before she had reached her current level of success.

    Following her triumph at Glastonbury, she missed a couple of the "Take That" gigs. That's a bit worrying - I hope she can cope with the lifestyle and doesn't implode like Amy Winehouse, who is another pop artist I like.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ha ha Portly , I love you already !
    In just one entry, you have dissed Lily Allen , Peter Andre AND Take that !
    Did you go to the Mcalpine school of public relations ?
    I hope you are ready for some passionate comments that may come your way.
    Take that fans... are you out there ?

  • Comment number 37.

    i hate lady gaga's music, and think the woman herself is just quite hideous. i have no real constructive reason for this thinking, but that is what i think - i can't stand her songs!

  • Comment number 38.

    kookie25 - fair enough - it's a free country. If you don't like Lady GaGa, who do you like? This may give us a clue as to where you are coming from.


  • Comment number 39.

    well, she's kind of doing the electro pop thing yeah? for me, Robyn much better in that genre... but maybe i'm mixing my genres...

    i have many varied tastes of music, i just can't seem to get my head around by lady gaga has had so much success. like i say, not very constructive!

    just a note: my recently played of itunes includes, MJ, justin nozuka, daniel merriweather, ali love, coldplay, sigur ros, chemical brothers, mario, N*E*R*D, warren g, seth lakeman, green day, brandi carlile, ray lamontagne, bob marley, bic runga, timbaland, Avenue Q original broadway cast, adele, emiliana torrini, 5ive, beach boys, the four tops, faith evans, bon iver, blondie, the roots, common rotation, score from Serenity, kleerup, pink, robyn..... just to prove i do have a varied taste and dont just dislike Lady gaga for the fun of it :-))))))

  • Comment number 40.

    Well you certainly have good taste judging by your itunes list! We will just have to agree to disagree about Lady GaGa!


  • Comment number 41.

    Yesssssss!! A little love for Five/5ive/F5v5 and Warren G!

  • Comment number 42.

    OK , my go...
    WOO HOO !
    Feel the love for Bob Marley , Blondie ,Coldplay , Sigur Ros ,Pink , Robyn, Bon Iver , The four tops, Beach boys , Timbaland.. I could go on....... Ain't it great when people come on and come from the love of music angle.
    Kookie you love some great stuff !
    Curtains from all your posts , I am detecting an intense love of boybands !
    Can you shed some light light on this for me ?

  • Comment number 43.

    Actually, not so much. Five were pretty much it for me, although I do like and respect some of Take That's more personal-sounding, grown-up stuff. And back when I was a kid and didn't really care much for pop music, I thought New Kids were good, so an abiding affection for them remains.

    To be honest, my tastes are mostly fairly mainstream for my demographic (29 year-old male). A bit of indie/rock, a smidgen of hip-hop, a pinch of pop, the vaguest smattering of some other things. Most of my favourite music is stuff from around the mid-90s to the mid-2000s, when I was was mid-teens to mid-20s. Few indie bands of the modern era do much for me, and I've been losing faith for a while, but I am flirting with trying out some of the current crop of girl-fronted acts (eg Florence, Bat For Lashes, La Roux, Little Boots, etc).

    Musically, I mean. Trying them out musically.

  • Comment number 44.

    What else could you possibly mean mr. curtains?

  • Comment number 45.

    Ha ha.

    Curtains and Jax fighting over the affections of Little Boots !

    Can I be on the guest list to watch ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Curtains and I fighting for the affections of Ms Boots, maybe naked by the fireplace like Oliver Reed and Alan Bates...

    If that doesn't get her interested I don't know what will!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Anyone fancy a hot dog ?


  • Comment number 48.

    No. I've always said that no woman is worth fighting naked over.

  • Comment number 49.

    I can't help noticing that thespiritwarrior says lady "Ga Ga" when everyone else says gaga, which is right, sorry, it's just annoying me.

  • Comment number 50.

    My dislike of Lady Gaga is difficult to convey. Especially on a censored blog.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think everyone is being a little harsh, she can sing and perform and at least she has not had to enter some stupid talent show to get famous.

    I have been waiting for the tour tickets to be announced, anyone know where I can get VIP tickets or [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]guest list tickets? - thanks :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm sure all you have to do is let her ride on your disco stick and you'll get VIP tickets.

  • Comment number 53.

    Oh come off it, its an actual quote from her song.

  • Comment number 54.

    Was it "love goo gunning ? "

  • Comment number 55.

    It was a reference to a certain stick.

  • Comment number 56.

    Disco Stu says get your stick !

  • Comment number 57.

    I was more refering to her getting on the stick.

  • Comment number 58.

    Disco sticks should always be rode with immense caution ! If possible always use expert tuition .

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh it got through the mod net, Im amazed.

  • Comment number 60.

    WOO HOO , I have just listened to LADY GAGA'S album THE FAME MONSTER .

    It includes her debut album THE FAME , but with 8 NEW TRACKS!

    I quite like the ballad SPEECHLESS , which is about her father.
    You will already know BAD ROMANCE, but watch out for the following tracks


    It's an interesting listen , and gives a closer insight into the person behind 2009's biggest debut star !

    (I am gonna miss commenting on these pages )

  • Comment number 61.

    Why Spirit are you leaving?

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi Randy , I am not leaving as such , just have to spend a lot of time on an exciting project for a while .I will still watch the fun , and hopefully return when time allows .

    Hope you are well.

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh and new studio album number 4 from Rhianna is RATED R , featuring the fantastic RUSSIAN ROULETTE .

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh thank God for that! What would I do without the always wonderfully complimentary Spirit and my biggest rival when it comes to the latest music news! Yes, I'm loving the new Rihanna track and can't wait for the release of RATED R. GOOD GIRL GONE BAD and its reissue RELOADED was one of the greatest pop/R&B albums of recent years.

    I'm also excited about THE FAME MONSTER. You can already hear the progession of her music and songwriting.

  • Comment number 65.


  • Comment number 66.

    Fear of STIs fear.

  • Comment number 67.

    Fear of Mirrors Monster.

  • Comment number 68.

    Fear of Excessive Clothing Monster.

  • Comment number 69.

    Fear of Being Unable To Stutter And Repeat My Hooks In All My Songs Monster.

  • Comment number 70.

    Fear of Being Impaled On A Discostick Monster.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hahah @ the stutter one.

    Fear of losing tea cup monster.

  • Comment number 72.

    POKER FACE IS the BIGGEST selling single of 2009 !!

    I could feel it , right back on post 13 , shame it was a new mobile phone , and had a caps lock fault ! Ha !

  • Comment number 73.

    and shame it's still an awful song :(

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    (Rewritten for moderation purposes)

    Truly awful. The amount of times I post on here about how much I intensely dislike Lady Gaga people are going to think I've got something against her. Which is correct. The airwaves of the world would be a much better place if it weren't for him.

    I read on some other post that she considers herself a work of art as well?! Erm....nah. You're a work of black bin bags filled with poo and old pants.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm not bothered if Lady GaGa is bisexual - most women are after a couple of white wines.

    She's a great musician, a great singer and a great performer - the best thing to happen to pop music for years. I can't wait to see her at the Liverpool Arena in February. :-)

  • Comment number 77.

    Too right portly . I have championed her for the last year . Talent , ambition , intelligence , memorable songs . Superb . Raising the bar for performers everywhere !

  • Comment number 78.

    It seems that lots of people agree with us, Spirit! "Bad Romance" is back to the top of the UK singles chart after the Christmas nonsense, and "The Fame" is second in the UK albums chart - even beating SuBo into third, so how good is that?? LOL

  • Comment number 79.

    It's very good Portly !

    Lady Gaga is now a true global "star " , and a household name .

    My very first comment on Chartblog was at number 13 , when I said that Poker Face would outsell Just Dance .

    It did this and went on to be the biggest selling single of 2009 , and the most downloaded song EVER in U.k chart history .

    I was confused that the review didn't seem to acknowledge the huge commercial potential of the song , or the astonishingness of this future worldwide star.

    I almost feel quite vindicated now, that my new mobile phone ,accidentally kept the capital letters on . Even the phone knew that something amazing was happening .
    In hindsight , maybe I wasn't shouting loud enough .

    Anyway , Portly , if you want to read Chartblog joining our bandwagon and finally worshipping in the House OF Gaga , (shame it was 6 months late ..lol ) , then read the first class review of Bad Romance , it's ace .

    I am seeing Gaga in March , and look forward to it immensely.

    Hope you are well .

  • Comment number 80.

    Nah, Pokerface is pretty rubbish.

  • Comment number 81.

    Absolutely Mr. Spigot.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ha ha !!

    Comment 34 , second line from the bottom ,6 months ago . .

    " Lady Gaga will be the deserving winner of the Best International Female Award at the 2010 Brit awards "

    *Sits back smugly *

    Pass me another glass of champagne .


  • Comment number 83.

    Still a crap track though :D

  • Comment number 84.

    These were the days when Fraser used to comment a lot more. Now he's reached the dizzying heights of BBC reviewer we don't see much of him ;(


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