An electropop record, The Fame Monster has influences of disco, glam rock, and synthpop music of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as industrial and gothic music. The album was also inspired by fashion shows and runways. According to Gaga, the album deals with the darker side of fame, with its theme lyrically expressed through a monster metaphor. The cover artwork, shot by Hedi Slimane, has a Gothic theme and was declined for release by her record company, but Gaga persuaded them.
Lady Gaga released her debut studio album, The Fame, in 2008. Consisting of electropop and synthpop songs, the album offered a commentary on fame, duality between celebrity and fan base, as well as a wealthy person's life. After the worldwide success of The Fame, the idea of a re-release arose. However, Gaga felt that re-releases were a disservice to music artists because "it's artists sneaking singles onto an already finished piece of work in an effort to keep the album afloat." Her label, Interscope Records, initially wanted three songs for the project, titled as The Fame Monster. Gaga had already composed a song, "Monster", by March 2009. She sought for a darker and edgier concept than she had previously done, and cited her love of horror films and "the decay of the celebrity and the way that fame is a monster in society" as creative inspirations for The Fame Monster. Gaga explained in an interview with Daily Star:
Unlike her debut album, the new record was inspired by the singer's personal experiences. The early musical direction was also shaped by Gaga's touring experiences with The Fame Ball Tour, during which she allegedly encountered "several monsters" that encapsulated her biggest fears. These fears were divided into various monster metaphors, such as the "Fear of Sex Monster", "Fear of Love Monster", "Fear of Alcohol Monster", and so forth. "I spent a lot of nights in Eastern Europe," the singer said. "And this album is a pop experimentation with industrial/Goth beats, 90's dance melodies, an obsession with the lyrical genius of 80's melancholic pop, and the runway". In an interview with MTV News, Gaga said that The Fame and The Fame Monster were like yin and yang because of their contrasting styles and concepts.
Two covers were created for The Fame Monster, both of which were shot by French photographer Hedi Slimane. The first cover artwork features Gaga sporting a blond wig and a sleek, angular black coat, the collar of which covers the lower half of her face. The angular obscuring of her face was a reference to the similar cover art for The Fame, but was relegated as "sleek" by Andrew Unterberger from Billboard. He added that "there's a danger in Gaga's eyes this time out, and the feeling of greater depth in its austerity: A star, but one with a lot to say." The second cover artwork is reminiscent of Gaga's appearance as "Stefani" before she became famous and developed her image. In this photo, Gaga is draped in thick brown hair similar in style and color to her natural hair with heavy, streamy black eyeliner running down her face to represent tears. In interviews, Gaga explained that the two album covers are part of the "yin and yang" concept depicting who she was before and after achieving fame. A vinyl picture disc edition of The Fame Monster features the "blonde" cover on the A-side and "brunette" cover on the B-side. 2b1af7f3a8