Lady Gaga tries for avant-garde, but manages to reach new hights in pop instead.
Lady GaGa set herself big goals for ARTPOP, released today, Tuesday, November 12. In her very own words, the album with its Jeff Koontz cover, was supposed to be “art imprinted onto pop culture.” But Gaga’s career has always been a bit hit-and-miss in its avant-garde aspect, which begs the question, which Gaga will we get to hear on ARTPOP? The meat dress-wearing, Marina Abramovic emulating envelope-pusher or the pastel clad bubble gum pop princess? The reviews are already starting to flood the interwebs, so let’s take a look at what the critics are saying.
The cover art is as busy as the album itself.
According to Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz, the album is perfect in its imperfections. It’s inconsistent and eclectic, but Gaga makes it work, “coherently channeling R&B, techno, disco and rock music as a pop artist while discussing sex, drugs, lust, God, fame and creativity, Lady Gaga has offered fans her most sonically and lyrically diverse album to date.”
The Washington Post’s Allison Stewart, it is exactly this collection of genres that proves to be the album’s biggest weakness. Stewart refers to ARTPOP as “an undisciplined sprawl of genres (most of them variations on dance pop), personas (drama camp weirdo, Weimar Republic vamp, Grace Jones impersonator) and ideas (fame is bad, sex is good) that is sometimes intensely pleasurable and sometimes wince-inducing.”
Then there’s Mikael Wood’s review for the LA Times, which reaffirms the general opinion – the album is hit and miss at best, far from the performance art piece the singer intended to create. While Gaga falters on arena anthems like “Manicure” and “Donatella”, she makes up for it with her expertise in other styles – “particularly in a handful of songs that pull deeply from R&B: the throbbing “G.U.Y.” (short for “girl under you”); “Do What U Want,” a sleek duet with R. Kelly; and “Sexxx Dreams,” which proposes a tryst with a lover whose boyfriend is away for the weekend.”
ARTPOP is what Gaga does best.
Entertainment Weekly’s Adam Markovitz asserts that while Gaga’s music has many faces, we may have seen these ones before – “most of the songs here would fit right in on The Fame or Born This Way. They hit enjoyable but well-worn sonic marks, from the synth-swaddled choruses of 'Aura' and 'Sexxx Dreams' to the barroom ivory-tickling of 'Gypsy.' And they deal in tropes and metaphors that have become standbys in Gaga's canon: Love is a drug ('Dope') , artifice is truth ('Fashion!'), and fame is a religion in which shamelessness is next to godliness ('Applause') ...”
USA Today’s Jerry Shriver is more or less of the same opinion: “Lady Gaga's latest extravagant exploration of her own fame, fabulousness and fearlessness is undeniably relentless, but that doesn't mean it's consistently entertaining.”
So there you have it folks – ARTPOP may not be groundbreaking, but if you’re already a fan of Lady Gaga, this is her at her best.
But it might be more pop than art.