Lady Gaga: Chromatica

Posted June 6, 2020 by in Dance pop



4/ 5


Genre: , , ,
Producer: , , , ,
Label: ,
Genre: Dance-pop, disco, EDM, synthpop
Producer: Bloodpop, Axwell, Lady Gaga, Burns, Morgan Kibby, Madeon, Skrillex, Tchami
Label: Interscope, Streamline
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 43:08
Release Date: 29 May 2020
Spin This: "Rain on Me," "Alice," "Free Woman," "Enigma"


Upbeat through and through and disco vibes aglow, Gaga sound vibrant, at home as dance-pop princess


Some of the lyrics are littered with warts and some musical motifs sound awfully familiar, even tracing some of Madonna's biggest bops and house nostalgia.

Gaga goes back to her dancey roots, drops one of her best albums to date

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Gaga goes back to her dancey roots, drops one of her best albums to date


During this era of quarantine madness and art cancellation due to COVID-19 blues, almost any field of entertainment has been wary in making a plunge into this type of uncertainty. But leave it to Lady Gaga — born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — to make that leap of faith, to push content when it isn’t the best of circumstances. And she does it on her seventh LP, Chromatica, where she makes a terrific leap backward to the glory days of her EDM sprints. Almost every disc before it showed a sweet progression into new territory and artsier ambitions, flowing from crooner jazz (Cheek to Cheek) to more of a singer-songwriter minimalist buzz (Joanne). Each disc became a different journey, but for Chromatica, the main album producer Bloodpop (born Michael Tucker) peels back the layers on Gaga’s now-nostalgic disco-leaning days and goes all the way in. The end result: a cathartic, storytelling adventure pieced together with constant four-on-the-floor endorphins dedicated to the preservation of pinnacle ‘90’s house music and highly accessible electropop.

“Alice,” an EDM take on Lewis Caroll’s infamous children’s tale, is an abundant rave to the ear. “Take me home, take me to wonderland,” she sings on the radiant chorus. At three solid minutes, this track spares the rollercoasters of exasperated pop by focusing on a warm and inviting chorus and solid beats perfect for A Night at the Roxbury. “Stupid Love” is a little fancier, channeling all the gagging outbursts of Lady Gaga’s early works (see “Poker Face,” “Born This Way”). Dropping Giorgio Moroder-inspired drum programming thuds and ‘80s synth magic into the uptempo mix, it works for the first repetitive plays. After a while, you’re hungry for more. And it’s because the chorus only rings “I want your stupid love” along with ineligible baby like chants, leaving a vibe that the songs is hardly complete. But stylistically and for a cute floor bop, it works.

Thank the Gaga gods for “Rain on Me,” the following track. Yes, the emphasis of the song’s glow will fall on the collaborative gathering of Ariana Grande into Gaga’s universe, but it’s a far better experience musically. The swirling house beats and the airy vibes of Grande atop a celestial melody feels perfect for any posh dance floor. “Free Woman” is just as rewarding, and “Fun Tonight,” albeit a buzzkill for dancefloor blues (“When I’m sad, you just wanna play/I’ve had enough, why do I stay?”), transports listeners into a whirly pop-heavy euphoria.

The pleasantries extend evenly to the second half of the disc. Although there’s a B-side candidness perched here, the songs are still edible treats. Even with the injected interludes, Chromatica is essentially a non-stop dance party. “Enigma,” which title wise borrows from her top brass Vegas show, plays like Crystal Waters house (but with Gaga vocal soaring),” Elton John finds an EDM home on the spacey “Sine From Above,” while the Skrillex co-produced, Betty Who-leaning “Plastic Doll” gains attention for telling a smart Barbie story about living in a box and finally coming out to deal with the harsh expectations of the world. And there’s also “1000 Doves,” which stretches like a Calvin Harris or Disclosure workout. She does hit a creative sour patch when she leans too heavily on her contemporaries for the next artsy breakthrough. “Sour Candy” eerily copies Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish,” while “Babylon,” as good as it grooves, traces the echoes of Madonna’s “Vogue” rap with ferocity. It’s rather pleasant to see her come out of those obstacles with some saving grace, when her play on words turns “Babylon” into something else: “That’s gossip…Babel on.”

Also, as she reaches for lyrical prowess, she does stumble into some historical snafus. “We can party like it’s B.C./With a pretty sixteenth-century smile,” she sings at the top of “Babylon,” the album’s closing track. Cute that she quasi-referenced Leonardo Di Vinci’s legendary Mona Lisa, but that painting was made in A.D., not B.C. Slightly changing the lyric to say “party like it’s B.C., BUT with a sixteenth-century smile” would’ve sufficed. Little errors like this diminish the grandeur of Gaga’s work. In the long run, it sometimes feels as if her songs are forced quickly from important incubation stages. A little more time at the drawing board would’ve helped fleshed this songwriting opportunity into a possible breakout song.

Faux pas aside, this is a mighty return to her electro-pop glory, what ignited the easy comparisons to apex Madonna. Some might call it her writing the wrongs of Artpop. This isn’t as agitating, bewildering or super-otherworldly. Nothing comes off obnoxious. It’s like a heir to Donna Summer (think 1977’s Once Upon a Time), or a distant cousin of Dua Lipa’s terrific Future Nostalgia. Both of those albums together, Dua Lipa’s and Chromatica, might be all we really need for this year’s dance party playlist. Only thing really missing is a Tom Moulton remix of any of these bangers.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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