Review - Lady Gaga - ARTPOP
Lady Gaga has reached the level of fame where no matter what she does, the masses are going to be divided; half of the population are going to snatch it up the minute it’s on iTunes (or, more likely, the minute it leaks), and the remainder will roll their eyes. After her massively successful first two albums--‘The Fame’ and follow-up EP ‘The Fame Monster’--she found it hard to continue to hold everything together. No one person can make pop music that pushes boundaries, be an activist for gays and the bullied, and sit in the penthouse of the Billboard charts forever.
For better or for worse, this is the collection that her dance side was always meant to make: unsettling, attention-grabbing, and very odd. ‘ARTPOP’ is the first since her debut that for the most part carries a sound all the way through. If you thought the smack-you-in-the-face energy of the “Applause” chorus was something, wait until you delve into the dancing depths of the 14 other tracks. Synths have never been harder, and while they’ll make any club-goer lose their minds on the floor, the rest may be scared away to lighter fare (see: Katy Perry).
The album is a mix of ‘The Fame’-era silliness (“G.U.Y.”, “Donatella”) and the darkness of ‘Born This Way’ (“Aura”, “Swine”). Lyrically, she goes back and forth from fun and lighthearted to clunky and convoluted, and quite a bit of it is obscure. I mean, I can’t have been the only one who had to Google Jeff Koons after “Applause”, right?
Sadly, much of ‘ARTPOP’ isn’t single-worthy...at least not from Gaga’s perspective. We expect massive, worldwide smashes like “Bad Romance”, “Poker Face”, or “Edge of Glory” (the emotion of which is matched by “Gypsy” on this LP), but the catchiness and universal reach of these hits is missing from her latest. Even her branching off into R&B (“Do What U Want [ft. R. Kelly]”) and trap (“Jewels n’ Drugs [ft. T.I., Too $hort, and Twista]”) can’t save the lackluster single sales to come. Die hard fans are in for a fun ride, and the rest of the world will most likely listen to something else.
Listen to: The album, especially "Applause", "Gypsy", "Swine"