Lady Gaga: ARTPOP
With such massive hits as “Bad Romance,” “Born This Way,” “Poker Face,” and so many more, it seemed that anything Lady Gaga ever chose to release would immediately shoot to #1 on the pop charts. Strangely though, Gaga’s first two singles off her new album, ARTPOP, have consistently been beat out by Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and newcomer Lorde, resulting in no new #1 hits for Gaga. Does this mean that the new album is inferior to her previous outputs? Not necessarily.
Most notably, ARTPOP is an incredibly diverse record. With seemingly every track taking on a different music genre, listeners get to experience Gaga in all her forms: space creature, rocker, R&B seductress, hip hop artist and Broadway star. Although there is really no sense of cohesion whatsoever between the songs, many of the tracks taken individually are excellent.
The best tracks are mostly on the last third of the record. “Applause,” the album’s lead single, has certainly grown on me over time and is a vaguely interesting discussion of the concept of “celebrity.” There is also “Fashion!,” which has a great disco beat and “Gypsy,” a danceable, power pop tune that brings to mind “Edge of Glory.” On “Sexxx Dreams” we get a Gaga doing a Debbie Harry-sounding vocal over a Prince beat and on “MANiCURE” a guitar makes an appearance and Gaga rocks out a little. I personally could do without the space-themed tracks (“Aura,” “Venus”), as they sound cheesey and aren’t terribly interesting. The same goes for “Do What U Want,” a mediocre Christina Aguilera reject-sounding song featuring R. Kelly that seems to cheapen the whole record a bit. (Why it was ever chosen as a single is beyond me.)
The star track on the album though definitely goes to “Dope.” This barebones track features piano, a little light synth and Gaga’s amazing pipes. Taking on a character who has more than just a hint of messy desperation in her voice, she sings, “I promise this drink is my last one./I know I f*cked up again/’Cause I lost my only friend./God forgive my sins” and then later she repeats “I need you more than dope” in the chorus, really belting out the lyrics.
All in all, if you liked Lady Gaga’s first two records, there’s a strong chance you’re going to like ARTPOP. As a collection, it doesn’t feel as strong as The Fame orBorn This Way, but it still has some very worthwhile songs on it. Here’s to hoping “Dope” gets Gaga her first #1 single off ARTPOP.