Gaga impresses with third persona experiment
Since her debut in 2008 with “The Fame,” Lady Gaga has been known as an artistic chameleon, constantly changing her over-the-top outfits, wild hair and, most notably, her musical style with every album. While “The Fame” had a very 80s, European-style electronic and synthpop vibe, “The Fame Monster” and 2011′s “Born This Way” experimented with much darker side of disco and Gothic-inspired pop music Now with “ARTPOP,” her third full-length studio album , it is safe to say Gaga has continued to keep her streak of ever-changing music alive and well. While still a pop album at heart, “ARTPOP” features a variety of unique sounds and genre-bending musical styles that sound completely unlike anything Gaga has done before.
“ARTPOP” starts off strong with “Aura,” a catchy, personal dance track that poses the question,“Do you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura?” It’s a good start for the album and, like any great opener, sets the tone for what’s to follow. It is followed by “Venus,” an occasionally humorous song featuring sex, space and innuendo. Following tracks continue the theme of sexuality, which runs rampant on “ARTPOP” with “Sexxx Dreams.” The song’s lyrics are unfit to print, but it’s wildly catchy and I imagine the edited version will soon be playing across radio stations everywhere.
But it’s “Jewels N’ Drugs” that is far and away the most different from anything Gaga has done before. Featuring rappers T.I., Too $hort and Twista, the song sounds like it was ripped straight from a hip-hop album and throws listeners for a loop. In fact, I imagine that most of Gaga’s diehard fans will probably hate this song with a passion; but if you can tolerate rap in any capacity, give this song a chance since it grows on you pretty quickly.
The middle of “ARTPOP” is filled with some of the best tracks, which is both a surprise and a relief considering this tends to be the portion where things start going downhill. “MANiCURE” hearkens back to “The Fame”, while the single “Do What U Want,” proves to be another chance for Gaga to show off a different side of her music.
This section is also where Gaga tucked away what is arguably her zaniest – and most obscenely catchy – song yet: “Donatella.” While it’s tempting to attribute most of the song’s appeal to the fact that it was produced by electronic DJ and producer Zedd (of “Clarity” fame), Gaga’s voice and crazily narcissistic lyrics carry the pulsing tempos straight into the listener’s brain. Funny, wacky, absurd? Yes, but it seriously cannot be overstated how catchy this song is.
The last few songs on “ARTPOP,” including the fantastic ballad “Dope,” slow things down and give the listener breathing room after so many club-ready tracks. It’s an appreciated break and one that is especially needed as the album comes to a close, with the lead single “Applause” serving as a fitting finale.
Overall, “ARTPOP” continues the trend of what is the definitive Gaga style: it’s exactly what you’d expect from the record-smashing pop queen, yet not what’d you’d expect from her at all. While there are moments of fleeting similarities between “ARTPOP” and Gaga’s other work, the number of new sounds and styles lend a unique touch to the album that makes it stand far apart from anything else the singer has done. While the old cliché “third time’s a charm” might seem trite, it’s a fitting expression; with “ARTPOP,” Gaga proves she can take a wild turn in musical style and still keep listeners dancing to the beat.