Lady Gaga: Artpop

Posted November 7, 2013 by in Pop



2/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , , ,
Label: ,
Genre: Pop, synthpop
Producer: Lady Gaga, Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair, Zedd, Madeon, Nick Monson, Dino Zisis, Giorgio Tuinfort, Infected Mushroom, Rick Rubin, David Guetta,
Label: Streamline, Interscope
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 59:04
Release Date: 6 November 2013
Spin This: "Do What U Want," "Sexxx Dreams," "Fashion!"


"Do What U Want," an urban feast, is a magical moment for R Kelly and a timely treat for Gaga


Too much experimentalism and exploration leaves the pop out of Artpop

The album cover art isn’t the only thing that’s wacky on Gaga’s third album

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

The album cover art isn’t the only thing that’s wacky on Gaga’s third album

Lady Gaga normally doesn’t like repeating the same thing twice. Maybe she has ADD – where she has to ramble from one thing to the next or maybe she becomes bored with her own discoveries. Although there’s a trace of trademark embedded on each of her solo albums and EPs up to this point (The Fame, The Fame Monster, Born This Way), the adventures of transformation and progressions seem to overtake the narrative of the Gaga story. It’s not as gi-normous as her flamboyant choice of wardrobe or political affirmations, but it’s still a major part of her profile. But there’s a lot to be said about Artpop, the singer’s third album. For starters, it’s rebelliously different and predominately out of sync with present-day radio tastes. As if Gaga is purposely being avant-garde, she decides to invent her own kind of synth noise. Of course, anyone walking up to this colossal event would only think that Gaga is just trying to make a statement: that she’s ready to invade pop or change it, to say the least. Instead, the opposite happens. Things quickly feel like a Rocky Horror experiment taken place in the music studio. “Aura,” the album’s opener, feels like a western anthem bludgeoned with painful sound effects and no traces of melodic exposure. Anything that follows that sourpuss of an introduction feels like a world of improvement. “Venus” is better, so is “G.U.Y.” Even the synth-driven catwalk action of “Swine,” as repulsive it sounds to compare a lover to bacon (“I know you want me/I’m just a pig inside that keeps involving/Squeal out, squeal out, squeal out/you’re so disgusting/You’re just a pig inside”), isn’t exactly the train wreck that “Aura” is. But when you lay all these episodes against some of Gaga’s greatest triumphs, you quickly discover that she’s simply not up to speed with her own musical victories, at least on this round.

Gaga still has a fetish for synthpop glorification. A potential radio single, “Sexxx Dreams” explores the deep cavities of her dirty, lustful imagination, probably in ways never narrated before. “When I lay in bed, I touch myself and I think of you,” Gaga chants right before the big cartoony synths sound off on the chorus. The David Guetta/ “Fashion!” continues her allegiance to the gay ballroom world as she shoots out voguish chants (“Looking good and feeling fine”) and more of David Bowie mannerisms. But she often bleeds with desperation as she quickly shifts from one extreme to the next in her new creations. “Manicure” starts off with the high hopes of going into Amy Winehouse retro pop but quickly falls into the trap of trying too hard in blending past and present styles. It’s something that “Applause,” the album’s debut single, also suffers from. At first, Gaga is dressing up as a female David Bowie while camouflaging with Talking Heads new-wave, then it rushes right into Madonna vocals, futuristic synthpop and a stodgy chorus that hardly bares the attractiveness of “Let’s Dance” or “Bad Romance.”

The album’s definite winning card – Gaga’s duet with R Kelly on “Do What U Want” – is one no one would have expected. Except for the fact that it sounds like a Drake off-brand (“Hold On, We’re Going Home”), it shows off an unbridled Gaga belting like a Christina Aguilera rival. It also gives Kelz one of his best most-recent performances, something he’s needed for a while after pouring out retro-themed albums without any serious attention. She also teams up with T.I., Too Short and the Tasmanian devil rhyme spitter Twista on the urban club banger “Jewels n’ Drugs,” where she dresses up as one half of Nicki Minaj. Sadly, it’s more of a showcase for the guest stars than it is for Gaga. It’s also embarrassing to believe that this thugged out affair would ever be considered pop.

If one was to consider Gaga a genius, you can simply write Artpop off as a goof up. Let it be said that every brilliant artist is awarded at least one goofup in their career. Prince has had a few, so has Michael Jackson. We just didn’t expect Gaga to produce hers so soon in her career.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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