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"If I can't find the cure, I'll fix you with my love," Lady Gaga sings on her hit single "The Cure." It's such a sweet sentiment that it's hard to recognize the impact that the song had on pop culture, but rest assured the song, like the diva who sings it, changed the way the highest tier of pop divas release songs for consumption by the masses. However unintentional it was, Lady Gaga was ahead of her time when she dropped this song on the unsuspecting audience.
Just months before releasing "The Cure," Gaga had released her most personal album to date, Joanne. While the critical reception to it left much to be desired, Little Monsters, as Gaga's fans are known, sent the CD to the top of the Billboard charts. Yet, one of the singles connected in a way that "Bad Romance" or "Poker Face" had. The lead single from Joanne, "Perfect Illusion" barely cracked the top 10 before plummeting to the nether regions of the charts. "A Million Reasons," while a muse's greatest friend, barely charted at all. The vultures known as critics of Mother Monster rubbed their hands together in glee. The fall of Gaga was upon us.
Then as if she were saying "F-- You!" or another expletive phrase that can be hurled at haters, Gaga released "The Cure." It was the 20th song that Gaga had taken to the Top 40, and it reached that milestone in its first week. Eventually, the song rose to #20 and stayed on the charts for an impressive 14 weeks. While it was no smash hit out of the gate, it was certified Platinum because it sold over 1 million copies, and proved that Gaga was still the hitmaker of this generation.
The release of "The Cure" proved to be something else as well. Since the beginning of her career, Gaga had been called a trendsetter. Entertainment Weekly in their review of "The Cure" expressed disappointment that it was just another "typical love song," but they missed the more significant point of this. For most pop divas, especially ones that are of the highest tier (think Cher, Madonna, Britney) the only time they release a new song is in preparation for an album to drop. Gaga released this song with no expectation of releasing another album, and in fact, had to start work on A Star is Born. Recording another CD and supporting it with videos, a tour, etc. was out of the question. This was a song that was recorded and released simply because Gaga could do that.
'Thank U, Next' - Ariana Grande
How is this a trend? Ariana Grande has made a habit of recording songs and releasing them on a whim. Sometimes she puts together an album and other times, she just releases music to do it. One of her current hit singles, "Thank U, Next," was written about ex-boyfriend Pete Davidson, and released merely because she could. Sound familiar? The song hit #1 and only at the urging of her record company did Grande decide to build an entire album around the song. Not a bad way to choose to make a new CD.
'365' Katy Perry
Another pop star who has taken inspiration from the current Queen of Pop is Katy Perry. Like Gaga, Perry has a ton of hits of her own. Almost every single that she has released has been in support of an album. That is until Thursday, February 14, 2019. That is the day that she released "365" with Zedd. Much has been written (already) about how Perry is so brave to release the song and without an album on the horizon. Where does she get the inspiration? If only there were a search engine where they could type some keywords into that would show them that Katy Perry is not the first one to do this.
Now before the blasting starts that Gaga didn't reinvent the wheel here, consider this. The argument is not that she was the first person to do it—rap artists have been utilizing this practice since the rise of Spotify to get their songs heard. However, Gaga is one of the most high profile divas to use this tactic, and it helped push the naysayers to the back. One could almost argue that "The Cure" was meant to be on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to ASIB and has a similar sound to "Why Did You Do That To Me?" and it just didn't make the cut. The more likely scenario is that after collaborating with talented people, Gaga loved the song so much that she wanted to share it with the world. Inspiring Katy Perry and Ariana Grande was just icing on the cake for her.