Lady Gaga | ARTPOP (Streamline/Interscope)

 Artpop 75Gaga seems to evolve with each album she releases, and ARTPOP is no exception.

 

 

Much anticipated by her fans, Lady Gaga’s third studio album, ARTPOP has been released to mixed feelings from critics and fans alike. While the album’s general praises come from the genre-bending, experimental pop that Gaga created for ARTPOP, many of the negative comments note the album’s lyrical laziness and a seeming lack of depth. One of Gaga’s biggest strengths has always been the depth she puts into pop music — something that other pop artists often are criticized for failing to do. The debate over ARTPOP is whether this album instilled that depth or failed to do so.

Gaga seems to evolve with each album she releases, and ARTPOP is no exception. The album explores many genres through the hour-long track list and frantically jumps from song to song, though, often discusses similar themes and ideas. It seems that ARTPOP is an extreme follow-up to Gaga’s first studio album, The Fame, sending very similar messages. That is to say if The Fame had been released in 2013, it would sound very similar to ARTPOP.

The album peaks early, with its strongest songs in the first half. “Aura” is a shrill, banging opener with various influences. “G.U.Y.” and “Sexxx Dreams” explore similar lyrics — EDM (electronic dance music) influences and themes about sex. However, they remain standalone tracks despite their lyrical similarities. Gaga also dips into the hip-hop genre with the high-energy “Jewels n’ Drugs” and mixes 80’s synthpop with R&B in “Do What U Want,” the album’s second single.

In its last half, the album seems to struggle despite “Mary Jane Holland” having the album’s strongest and most classic Gaga lyrics. In addition, “Swine” has the album’s best beat, some great lyrics, and a very raunchy, dark undertone. “Dope” is a quality, gritty ballad. However, tracks such as “Fashion!” and “Applause,” the album’s lead single, feel tacked on at the end.

Gaga’s strange release of singles begs many questions. While “Venus” made sense as a promotional single, “Applause” almost seems too vanilla for the first release to promote ARTPOP. Her reception may have been much different had she chosen one of the album’s edgier songs, something like “Aura” or “Mary Jane Holland,” for a shock value of sorts.

Overall, ARTPOP explores a variety of genres and manages to do so with a sort of authenticity that is expected from Gaga. It feels as though the lyrics oftentimes could be copied and pasted from one song to another without much confusion as to the meaning of the song. Many of her critics question if she is past her prime. Despite this, Gaga manages to make a career-defining statement through this fun and unique pop album. B | Matt Duchesne

Standout Tracks: Sexxx Dreams, Mary Jane Holland, Aura, G.U.Y., Swine

R.I.Y.L.: synthpop, experimental pop, EDM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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