Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
190

Music Review

Lady Gaga 'ARTPOP' review: What's the verdict?

By
Released on Monday, Nov 11 2013

Lady Gaga's 'Artpop' album cover
"My artpop could mean anything," Lady Gaga announces on the title track of her new album. It's a line that sounds like it should simplify the often bold and regularly nonsensical statements she's made in the build-up to her third studio opus ARTPOP. However, in reality, it makes the record's overarching concept all the more confusing.

ARTPOP represents a "reverse Warhol", Gaga says. However, since the pop art icon's heyday, you could argue that the boundaries between art and pop culture are already somewhat blurred.

Nebulous comments aside, this record is by no means the disaster Gaga's detractors would like it to be. Crucially, her knack for a pop chorus remains fully intact, with plenty of them littered amongst ARTPOP's (slightly bloated) 15-song tracklist.

Opener 'Aura' will immediately turn off casual fans for its shouty and structureless verses, but it's worth sticking around for a chorus that feels reassuringly familiar. Similarly, 'Venus' - her first entirely self-produced song - is armed with an immediately hummable chorus, though the rest is nothing short of comical.

The problem of songs sounding half-finished plagues one-too-many tracks on ARTPOP, though there are enough moments of fully-formed brilliance. The grinding bass and darting synths on 'G.U.Y' are offset perfectly by its hypnotic chorus, while the '80s electro strut of 'Sexxx Dreams' recalls some of Gaga's absolute best. Similarly, the simple cheerleader claps and stomps on 'MANiCURE' proves the very opposite of her mantra: that sometimes, less is definitely more.

Thematically, stylistically and lyrically it's all over the shop; and while the kitchen sink approach to making an album is a typically brave and somewhat unsurprising one, it falls apart when the songs aren't quite good enough to take the load. 'Swine', which served as the centrepiece to her recent iTunes Festival gig, is filled with intriguing lyrics that are lost in a chaotic mix of head-spinning electronics and growly vocals, while she fails in her bid not to be bound to a particular sound with a woeful attempt at trap music on 'Jewels 'n' Drugs'.

That said, the amount of hits on ARTPOP considerably outweighs the misses (there's a brilliant 10-track album to be found in it); though not all of them will necessarily present themselves on first listen. If her mission was to bring artistry back to pop music - a genre all-too-commonly labelled "soulless" - then for the most part she's succeeded. It's hectic, overflowing with ideas and at times impossibly self-indulgent; just like the work of so many greats before her.



Download: 'G.U.Y', 'Sexxx Dreams', 'MANiCURE', 'Gypsy'

Watch the video for 'Applause' below:

You May Like

Comments

Loading...