Monday 25 November 2013

Review of "Artpop" by Lady Gaga

This meat-dress wearing alien from planet MTV, Lady Gaga, has rapidly mastered the art of making cookie-cut pop for the masses. She knows how to make her music catchy, fun and danceable. I’ve never liked Gaga BECAUSE I’M A FUCKING HIPSTER. Well, to be totally honest, I have had the odd track burrow itself in my brain and induce humming in the shower but no-one needs to know about that little secret (oh …darn it! too late…)

Gaga’s last album, which I didn’t listen to, managed to sell pretty well I believe. Gaga even had surgery before the album’s release, transforming herself into a half-motorbike, half-human mutant. The things people do for their fans.

Kill it with fire!

Now, Gaga has decided to release Artpop, her third studio album. She’s had the genius idea of merging art and pop (because no-one’s ever tried that before…).

To give her some credit, Lady Gaga is an intelligent girl. I’ve seen interviews with her and I get a sense she’s brimming with creativity, but that she chooses to pump this creativity into her image rather than her sound. Artpop sees her coming out of her shell a bit, playing with odd instrumentals such as on the title track “Artpop” and 80s inspired electro sounds on “Do What U Want”. However, when it comes down to the lyrical content, Gaga is still choosing to play it dumbed down, clinging onto her pop sensibilities with choruses like “Mary Jane Holland”. I get it, it’s a song about smoking pot in Holland and oh, songs about drugs are soooo controversial, but what's it all really about? Where’s the poetry? The depth? The answer is that there isn’t any, because Gaga fears that her mainstream listeners will abandon her if she gets too poetic, if she gets too deep.

I think sometimes it works to have a song that’s straight to the point. 'Sexxx Dreams' is very daring in this respect, lacking in innuendo, going for a succinct approach to sex. Men are always getting overtly sexual, and the moment a female artist tries to tackle the same slant, they get slut-shamed. Props to Gaga for having the guts to do it.

I did like some of the other tracks, namely club banger 'Swine' and funky girly guilty pleasure 'Fashion!'. They were both pretty fun. That’s what this album does well: its fun. However, none of the tracks speak to me in the way I like music to. Gaga has tried to make her sound meet her wild image, but it still feels very restrained.