Easily the most anticipated record of the year has finally arrived. This week marked the studio album return of pop-megastar Lady Gaga as she delivered her 4th studio album (if you count The Fame Monster as being her 2nd). Lady Gaga promised to deliver something fresh and innovative with Artpop and after hearing the new record, I wholeheartedly believe the superstar has.
The record already boasts a string of singles and tracks that have been featured in films or released as promotional teases. The lead single, the up-tempo Applause, was the first track to emerge from Artpop and was quick to solidify the future success of this new record. As well as the captivating video that accompanies the song and is delivered in true quirky Gaga style, including the performer taking the form of a swan, the track is a monster pop hit that falls in line with Lady G’s seemingly effortless ability to craft memorable, hook heavy and radio-friendly pop megahits to please her ever-growing Little Monster following.
Paying tribute to Versace designer and iconic fashionista Donatella Versace, Donatella is like a guilty-pleasure bursting at the seams. It’s infectious, acid-influenced spine pulsates beneath Gaga’s declarations of being “fab”, “blonde”, “skinny”, “rich” and “a little bit of a bitch”. The latter we refuse to believe of course. It’s one of the clear standouts here on Artpop along with Mary Jane Holland which boasts one of the records more casual yet memorable unfurlings. It also features one of the quirkiest lyrics on Artpop: “I know that mum and dad think I’m a miss, but it’s alright because I’m as rich as piss”. Every time I hear this line I let out a bit of a giggle.
Dope is the Speechless or You & I of Artpop. The track boasts an epic piano-led melody and Gaga drives the track home with her raw, passionate vocals, roaring through the tracks minimalistic instrumentation. The track provides a nice break in between the electric hits that make up the rest of the track listing and also the token number that showcases Gaga’s powerhouse vocal dexterity.
Usually lead singles are pushed to the front of the queue but not here. Applause is tucked away at the end of the record capping the new album with its spectacular closing while the filling of Artpop comes with Manicure, an edgy, rock chick drenched juggernaut, and the latest single cut, Do What U Want which pairs Gaga up with surprise RnB titan R. Kelly.
While the commercial appeal of Artpop is up there with the best of Gaga’s work to date, there are a couple of very, very minor things that seem slightly confusing for an artist like Gaga to include on a record. The most evident is the boasting. Whether it is showing off about being rich or having good looks, she certainly indulges in self-gratification at several points within Artpop. These are minor things though and not something to take all too seriously on Artpop – god knows she isn’t the first artist to divulge in self-gratification through music before.
Jewels N’ Drugs is a hot-blooded hip hop hit that sits quite contrasting within the Artpop track-listing. Rappers T.I , Too S$ort and Twista join Gaga on this track and provide the tracks racy, expletive filled rap verses. Admittedly it sounds more like Gaga is joining the rappers on one of their songs opposed to them joining her, the rappers seem to take up most of the track with their full throttle lashings but nonetheless the number gives Artpop a diverse addition with a hip hop pop.
Fashion! pulls the talented vocalist out of the superstar and showcases the stars genuine vocal skills on a gorgeous mid-tempo hit that is destine to be a favourite among fans of Mother Monster.
Artpop is certainly more unconventional when compared to her previous albums, falling within a broader genre landscape, picking out the best of each to form the backbone of this new collection. Though several songs could easily be compared to the style of The Fame or The Fame Monster, this new record is a big step away from the hair metal influenced darkness of previous album, Born This Way.
With so many pop juggernauts to choose from, it is difficult to know where to start on Artpop. I was anticipating a fantastic release from Gaga but this is something else entirely. Welcome back Mother Monster!
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::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
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