Lady Gaga – ARTPOP

November 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM | Posted in Lady Gaga | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Lady Gaga – Artpop

1. Aura
2. Venus
3. G.U.Y.
4. Sexxx Dreams
5. Jewels n’ Drugs (feat. T.I., Too Short & Twista)
6. Manicure
7. Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)
8. Artpop
9. Swine
10. Donatella
11. Fashion!
12. Mary Jane Holland
13. Dope
14. Gypsy
15. Applause

♦ ♦ ♦

ARTPOP is the third studio album by American recording artist Lady Gaga, to be released on November 8, 2013. The lead single ‘Applause’ was released on August 12, 2013, and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Aura immediately sets a statement as the opening song of the album. This is one of the more controversial songs due to the lyrical content (which I think is brilliant), but what grabs me most of all is the incredibly infectuous dance/techno style of the song. Most of the time I’m not really into this type of music but Gaga just made it awesome. Great vocals too.

Venus is one of the digital singles of the album, released apparently to mixed reviews because of the extraterrestrial theme. Sure, people like Katy Perry also released songs like that, but come on, it doesn’t sound alike at all. Anyway, I’m stunned by how extremely catchy this song is, the chorus is just a masterpiece. And ofcourse, she had to incorporate the expected joke ‘Uranus // Don’t you know my ass is famous‘ but that’s cool. Repeat please?

I love the deep background beat and melody in G.U.Y., it’s perfect after that little introduction Gaga gives. It’s well placed on the album after Aura and Venus to continue the electronic synthpop style, and although the song can get a little repetitive at times, it’s not as generic as many critics say. Moreover, this is another typical Gaga creation that is supposed to blow your mind if you ask me. I rest my case, if you’re a fan of Gaga you’re bound to love this.

No, I’m not gonna use the edited title here. Face it, the next song is called Sexxx Dreams and it takes the all-over-the-place dance sound down a notch, but not entirely since there’s still a lot of energy here. Okay, this one does remind me a little of a Madonna/Prince mix, but Gaga owns this anyway. I love the openness of the lyrics, especially when Gaga exclaims ‘I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I had a couple of dreams…‘. I can’t imagine a song like this not being on the album.

The first collab on the album and it opens with a BANG. Jewels n’ Drugs (feat. T.I., Too Short & Twista) throws in some dubstep and hiphop influences which caught me completely off guard, but it’s awesome to the max. She did a few collabs with rappers before, but the outcome never sounded like this. After a couple of dance-heavy tracks, this is a welcome change for me. It can get a little bit messy at times, but overall a mind-blowing track.

Manicure takes me back to Gaga’s early days because it’s more poppy than the previous tracks. I love the use of handclaps and electric guitars, and Gaga’s vocals are great too. Totally something different, but still it fits perfectly because of the heavy use of synths. I admit this is one of the first tracks that didn’t stay with me for the full 100%, yet it’s not completely forgettable.

I’m surprised about this next collab, Do What You Want (feat. R. Kelly). I mean, it’s R. Kelly. Anyway. Great to hear that this song mixes dance and R&B together, which makes R. Kelly a very good collab partner in the end. There’s a kind of 80s feeling hidden in this song that really adds extra points to the overall ambience. Yet the biggest pro of this song is Gaga’s vocal performance, which has never been better than this! One of my favorite tracks up until now.

Ah, the title track. Artpop is a little more electro, but it keeps everything on a chill pace. In fact, it’s the first song on the album that doesn’t fully capture me and at times I feel like it’s lacking a lot. It doesn’t catch my interest as much as I hoped it would, partly because of the repetitiveness.

Then Swine comes in and it immediately throws in a lot of fire, attitude and energy. Apparently this song is aimed at Perez Hilton, but I don’t know how much of that is true. What I do know is that this song came in just in time after Artpop to put everything into full speed. Gaga herself sometimes shouts out her lyrics to really get her point across, and she succeeds in that. Amazing song to get everything back on track.

Funny how Gaga made a song about Donatella (like, we all know who this is ofcourse). Ofcourse this song has fashion references all over and Gaga captures the public image of Donatella perfectly. The overall simplicity of the song is well hidden, but Gaga’s vocals really stand out in the chorus. I always liked Gaga’s higher pitched vocals and she doesn’t disappoint here either. Fun song!

The first use of a piano on this album is in the introduction of Fashion!, and it returns in the rest of the song next to a very nice oldschool bass line. There’s something funky about this song that I like from the very first second, and again it mixes some of the ‘old’ Gaga with the ‘new’ one when it comes to musical style. I’ve been waiting for a song like this from Gaga, seriously.

Mary Jane Holland has an amazing introduction that keeps swelling until Gaga’s deep vocals and the beat drop in, it instantly sets the tone for another dance-heavy midtempo track. I always like it when Gaga shows off both her clear higher pitched vocals as well as her haunting low range, so this is the perfect song for that. The song eventually leads into a climactic bridge and last chorus which I loved.

Wow, this is unexpected. Dope is one of Gaga’s most personal and vulnerable songs ever, and what I didn’t expect is that it would be a ballad with this much emotional content. Eventually it evolves into something with a lot of edge as well because of the soft electronic keyboard added in the background and Gaga’s raw vocals. This is really something I can listen to a couple times in a row, what a track.

Gypsy reminds me a bit of some Gaga songs on her previous album, but that’s only during the verses. It’s like she took the general dance theme of the album and added some more poppy elements to create this song. I love the way Gaga uses her vocals here, she really shows off what she can do with them while singing in her crystal clear mid-range style. Dubbed the best song on the album by critics, even this one wasn’t safe for negativity. Except here perhaps.

And then ofcourse, to conclude the album, there is Applause. This song is all about how well Gaga understands what being a celebrity is about if you listen carefully. Incorporating some Eurodance into the music, this is the best song to promote the album if you ask me. I even agree that Gaga explores some of the vocal styles of Annie Lennox and David Bowie here, but how can this be more Gaga? Loved this from the moment it was released.

I really don’t get why music critics totally burn this album and deemed it ‘the end of Gaga’s musical career’. In my honest opinion, I think this album finally shows off who Lady Gaga really is, so it’s her most original and honest release yet. I always felt that Gaga wasn’t comfortable with ‘The Fame’ and she took herself way too seriously with ‘Born This Way’. Now she finally found herself with ‘ARTPOP‘ and she made music that shows what she’s all about without getting into the serious stuff all the time. There was an obvious theme here, electronic music, but I’m glad she chose to step away from that for a moment during tracks like Jewels n’ Drugs, Dope and Fashion!. There’s no way I can hate this album, even though it’s not fully perfect.

Favorite tracks: Aura | Venus | G.U.Y.  | Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly) | Swine | Donatella | Fashion! | Mary Jane Holland | Dope | Gypsy | Applause

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

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