It’s been a while since we’ve had new creations from the Mother Monster. Twenty Madonna feuds and a disintegrating hip later, ARTPOP has arrived. Even though it was just released this week, five tracks (from my count) had already surfaced, so we all had a pretty good inclination that this album was going to be completely weird and dance happy–in a good way.
1. Aura: 8/10
Interesting intro, a kind of Middle Eastern meets country-western vibe. I like the message behind the song. The robot man breakdown is so good. Oh, hell, now there’s clapping. We all love clapping. I could see how some would find this disjointed; it’s kind of like five songs in one, but I don’t mind it…This is fun! If this is any indication for what’s to come, we’re in for one hell of a spacey, jamming concoction of Gaga-ness.
2. Venus: 3/10
If Gaga, Abba and David Bowie had a threesome and birthed a child, this would be it. I would give the child up for adoption. Next.
3. G.U.Y.: 5/10
I feel like I’m sitting in a rocket ship getting ready to blast off into something absolutely crazy and slightly terrifying, and Gaga is my flight attendant. Such good build in the pre-chorus and then it falls flat. Nice beats though. And there she goes shouting random German words again.
4. Sexxx Dreams: 7/10
OOohhhh. Dark, mysterious and sexy. Shocking given the title, right? The quasi-sequel to “So Happy I Could Die.” Good cruising song for nighttime. Approved.
5. Jewels n’ Drugs Ft. T.I., Too Short & Twista: 9/10
I don’t even know what to think going into this one. This is actually pretty tight so far. OK, OK, Gaga is a bonafide hood bitch now. This song is so dope. I’m really liking this. This is going to be a hot club jam.
6. Manicure: 8/10
Oh, Mickey you’re so fine. You’re so fine, you blow my mind. Anyone else hearing that? Or what about “This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s? An angst-y, clap-happy anthem everyone will love. This song is oodles of pop/rock fun. I thought it was called “Manicure” though? What’s this “Man-Chuh”?
7. Do What U Want Ft. R. Kelly: 10/10
I love this collaboration. Their voices mesh so well together. Is it weird I’m liking the R&B Gaga more than the pop Gaga ARTPOP? I know this wasn’t supposed to be a single, but then it took off like crazy on iTunes so Gaga just kind of went with it. This song is just much more commercial and mainstream than the rest of this very…avant garde pop-ery. One of my favorites, for sure.
8. Artpop: 4/10
Robotica. Spacey. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes there’s this weird pitch thing when she morphs her voice and it’s so discordant, as in the pre-chorus. Modern disco with some groove, but pretty underwhelming.
9. Swine: 2/10
Gross. Just the name makes me want to skip. Here we go…another club banger. Can’t wait to get down to “Swine.” Awkward. “You’re just a pig in a human body.” Well, I think we all get what this is about. I just can’t . I can’t. Ew, pigs. I refuse to be caught jamming to a pig-inspired celebration.
10. Donatella: 7/10
“And I’m a little bit of a bitch.” Mhmm. I’m liking where this is going. Actually, that’s all I like. It’s funky and witty, but not really hitting that sweet spot in my ears in parts. I know I’m going to like it though when I hear it out at clubs though, just not while walking to class. The second half is definitely better than the first half. An instant gay culture classic. Now I have to go watch “The Devil Wears Prada.” Damn you, Gaga.
11. Fashion!: 4/10
Was not expecting the piano intro. How many songs can one have about fashion, though. Seriously. A bit much. Sounds like a bad musical. Over-the-top vocals. Where are the fashion police? Arrest this!
12. Mary Jane Holland: 4/10
Hmm. I wonder what oh what this could be about. I feel like the album is just slipping away at this point. This just isn’t offering much. It’s OK at best.
13. Dope: 3/10
Eerie. Way dramatic. The only ballad thus far. Nope to Dope.
14. Gypsy: 9/10
That beat in the chorus just dropped. I’m seeing hearts and stars. It’s like an upbeat “You and I.” This song is really cute. It’s all about being in love and traveling the world, but in my head it’s from Four Seasons to Four Seasons. Still romantic-ish. Ok, well I could do without the “Finding Nemo” “MINE!” “MINE!” bit of the song–just a tad off-putting.
15. Applause: 8/10
This was such an underwhelming debut track after months off of the charts. I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s not like a HERE I AM, BACK IN BUSINESS kinda record. Plus I have haunting memories of that drag Peter Pan from the lyric video. Legit creeps. Catchy and appealing to the masses so it was a smart choice, just was waiting for something groundbreaking. Nice way to close out the album.
This album left me feeling kind of lost and questioning Gaga’s musical direction. Many of the tracks are heavily, heavily produced, and the vocals are overly theatrical and dramatic, for. That’s fine if that’s what she wants to do, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I miss “The Fame Monster” Gaga. It seems with each album she progressively gets farther and farther away from a sound that is appealing to me. It’s becoming so abstract that it is leaving the realm of identifiable pop music. Not that it’s bad, again, I just won’t be on this train much longer if that’s the case. However, there are some elements that I wish she would continue to explore, mostly the R&B flare; her voice suits it surprisingly well.