It would seem as if Lady Gaga just dropped—make that danced—from the disco heavens as a born-ready star on 2008’s The Fame. But before the artist born Stefani Germanotta was actually living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, she was getting ready for her close-up in the New York club scene. And you can really hear the blood, sweat, and twirls through many a beer-splattered stage on The Fame. She lived it—and you feel it. That’s what makes The Fame such a self-manifesting statement—an album that chronicles the celebrity culture Gaga had yet to experience. When she sings about having “a little bit too much” on “Just Dance”—the album’s defining first single, featuring assists from singer Colby O’Donis, co-writer Akon, and main Fame producer RedOne—she’s that party girl we’ve all been (and if you haven’t been there, she offers a blueprint for your free-bootied future). You can also hear the gritty groove of the downtown New York scene on debaucherous dance tracks such as “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,” “Money Honey,” and the disco-stick-riding “LoveGame.” Meanwhile, pop bops such as “Poker Face”—which followed “Just Dance” to the top of the charts—and “Paparazzi” reveal the lyrical and melodic beast behind the beat. The Fame was already a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning sensation when it was reissued as The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) in 2009. But with Gaga having now fulfilled her diva destiny, she quickly proved her success was no fluke, continuing her string of hits with “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro,” and “Telephone.” The latter pairs Gaga with Beyoncé—a pop-icon team-up equalled only by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer’s 1979 classic “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” A worldwide smash that would earn the singer her second consecutive Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, The Fame Monster left little doubt that the world had gone gaga for Gaga.