10 Years Later: How ‘Just Dance’ Shaped Lady Gaga’s Career

Do you remember the day you heard “Just Dance” for the first time?

The 2008 smash hit served as Lady Gaga’s debut single and was the track that introduced the entire world to the musical presence of Stefani Germanotta.

Since 2008’s The Fame, Lady Gaga has sold millions of records worldwide, inspired fans to be themselves, and changed the face of pop culture. Now, 10 years later, “Just Dance” is a cultural standout for an era of Little Monsters.

Given Gaga’s massive tracks that quickly followed, it might be easy to forget where it all started, but the importance of “Just Dance” can’t be understated.

In 2008, Lady Gaga emerged onto the music scene like a breath of fresh air. She had amazing visuals and flawless vocals packaged together in a way that was welcomingly different from every other popstar at the time.

But back then, the pop music scene was much smaller than what it is now. Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana, Madonna was dabbling in R&B, and Justin Bieber’s music debut was still over a year away. Then out of nowhere, Gaga arrived on our radio waves to become one of the biggest pop artists in history.

Over the years she’s stuck with a simple formula when it comes to her music: catchy hooks and eye-popping performances. “Just Dance” has lyrics that are simple and silly, yet entirely brilliant. It was a glittering dance floor fantasy that brought synthpop back into the charts. And it seems nearly all of her major singles have followed this rhythm since.

Look at “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” “Edge of Glory,” and “Perfect Illusion”—all upbeat pop tracks with systematic dance choreography you can’t help but try and follow along to. Sure, some of her unconventional gimmicks bordered on weirdly provocative but you can’t help but commend an artist for stepping out of the box and standing out from the rest. Gaga’s daring and exciting, and ever since “Just Dance,” you never know what she’s going to do next.

Gaga has given us some the most iconic stage performances in the past 10 years and pop music wouldn’t be the same without her. Her music is catchy and fun, but she writes her lyrics with a delicate sense of care; something few other popstars do.

Lady Gaga makes dance music that has come to define her generation and has earned her comparisons to Madonna, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson. But if these last few years have solidified anything, it’s Gaga’s place among music’s greats.

Yet, Mother Monster is so much more than just a popstar—she is an activist for LGBTQ rights, advocate for anti-bullying and mental health initiatives, and is also a sexual assault survivor.


The last two years saw Gaga’s fifth studio album Joanne and its supporting world tour. Joanne become Gaga’s fourth No.1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and was her fourth platinum-certified album.

Next to that, she’s performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, The Grammy Awards on multiple occasions, and has even tried her hand at acting having stared in American Horror Story with her big screen debut coming later this year.

Such accolades have earned Gaga six Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Oscar nominee. Most recently, Gaga signed a Las Vegas residency at the MGM Park Theater that is scheduled to start late 2018.

And to think it all started with “Just Dance.”