ESSENTIAL "The Fame"
At first blush Lady GaGa's frothy disco confections could easily be mistaken for the mindless booty bait dangled by, say, the Pussycat Dolls. And some of them, like easy, breezy first single "Just Dance," are just that. But listen a little closer to the sly, snarky lyrics and glam grooves on this feisty debut and you'll hear that this former downtown New York spice girl has at least a few things on her dirty mind. The discourse seesaws from the gutter-level quippage of sinuous mover "Love Game" ("Let's have some fun/ This beat is sick/ I want to take a ride/ On your disco stick") to the slightly higher aspirations of rock-edged "The Fame" ("I'm obsessively opposed to the typical"). Obvious inspirations from Madonna to Gwen Stefani pop up in GaGa's girlish but sturdy pipes and bubbly beats. She offers similar paeans to glamour, dance-floor liberation, and giddy infatuation. But in between the chunky synth beats of songs like "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" and "The Fame," GaGa also alludes to the seamier sides of those glittery coins, on the makeup-smeared, hangover-besotted mornings after. (Out tomorrow) - SARAH RODMAN