Lady Gaga's ARTPOP Reviews: Are Early Critics Entranced?

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Lady GaGa has made a career out of warping and challenging our perceptions of the mainstream and has ironically become one of the most successful female artists of our time with a monstrous following of devout millions. Clad in the bizarre, Gaga has kept up her enigmatic presence in the music industry yet has reached out to fans to bestow a fevered passion rarely seen before.

Lady Gaga ARTPOP artwork
Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP' Will Be Released On The 11th November.

There are times when it looks like she's blown her cover; the very public Twitter meltdown when she realised that her ARTPOP lead single, 'Applause,' had been leaked would be a perfect example. A frantic Gaga fruitlessly instructing her minions to shut down all leaked streams but the damage had been done so she declared 'Applause' was released officially, there and then.

As a result, we were given 'Applause,' a middling jingle about fame with a club-ready drop that left the less ardent of her fans feeling indifferent towards the rest of her album. Billboard evaluates: "The verses are still a bit clunky, but the hook is even more shimmering after dozens of times digested on Top 40 radio."

Lady Gaga Mickey Mouse Ears
'ARTPOP' Is An Album Of Catchy Hooks & Dancefloor-Ready Beats.

'Applause' was a bland lead single with very even corners that gave no hint at what the rest of ARTPOP would hold. The very first track on the album, the Middle Eastern-influenced 'Aura,' could have been a better choice and presents arguably the album's enduring hooks. The EDM beats surround Gaga's shrill, stylised vocals: "Enigma pop star is fun, she wear burqa for fashion/It's not a statement, as much as just a move of passion," she sings. "Gaga spits on a song that positions "ARTPOP" as an album with ambitious ideas and breakneck electronic passages," nods Billboard.

Though her latest record, ARTPOP, won't be available to buy until the 11th November, those wanting a sneak preview of the 15-track album can stream it in its entirety courtesy of iTunes. Billboard's review may be even-handed for an album with such a mélange of clashing concepts but The Huffington Post is disappointed with Gaga's fourth offering.

"There's much to enjoy on 'ARTPOP' [...] But its big downfall are the lyrics, which often sound rushed and nonsensical - but hilarious?," Matt Bagwell writes. It's true: the lyrics are clunky, unsubtle and have lost the abstract references that made Gaga songs compelling and bewitching on previous records.

Listen To 'Aura':

Amidst the skull pounding electronic drums and surging synths heard of most of ARTPOP's tracks, 'Dope' presents a softer moment that allows Gaga to show off her vocal talents in an aching love ballad. It's all a bit "Broadway show-stopper," laments Billboard but the climactic vocal and crashing piano finale is surely one of this record's highlights.

ARTPOP gives us Gaga's first foray into the thorny world of hip hop, as best heard on her collaboration with R Kelly, 'Do What U Want.' Though it is generally agreed that Gaga and R Kelly's voices fit well together, the track is largely underwhelming albeit "efficiently" executed. "'ARTPOP' is an exciting album let down by some seriously lazy lyrics and a misjudged foray into hip-hop," says HuffPo, "feeble" barks the London Evening Standard.

Lady Gaga Black Suit
Many Critics Reckon Gaga's Latest Has Fallen Flat In Trying To Be Too Ambitious.

The dark and delicious industrial toe-dip, 'Swine,' is without a doubt ARTPOP's most interesting diversion: 'Swine' isn't as accessible or cleverly penned as other "ARTPOP" tracks, yet as far as detours go, this one's fascinating," says Billboard. We hear Gaga spit venom at an unnamed "Swine" over squealing keyboards and sludgy, grunting synths.

Sadly for Gaga, her highly anticipated ARTPOP jars with those who expected the same dancefloor alchemy as some of her previous big hitters. Right off the bat London Evening Standard brands it with a "stodgy" whilst Entertainment Weekly sums up: "The irony of this latest album is that while Gaga is shape-shifting faster than ever, her music hasn't evolved much. [...] As pop, the album is a well-executed and entertaining tour of Gaga's tried-and-true tricks. But as art, it falls short when it comes to one basic function: making an impression."

It seems that perhaps ARTPOP's downfall is its overambitious drive to make every track a hard-hitting chart climber: "Almost every song comes with at least five hooks and two choruses, sometimes crowbarred into the song's jackhammer production," notices The Guardian's Michael Cragg.


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