Review Summary: I know that mom and dad think I'm a mess, but it's alright, because I'm rich as piss.
When it comes to Lady Gaga, one thing that I think we should all agree on is that love her or hate her, she knows how to get people talking. Anything- from the outrageous outfits, to her catchy dance music, or even her not-very-subtle advocacy of gay rights- is enough to spark some discussion from the masses. And she's someone it's hard to not admire, because as much of a hot mess as she is, she means business. Case in point, her third album, Artpop
. Coming just over two years after the release of her sophomore effort Born This Way
is pretty much the perfect insight into the warped mind of Ms. Stefani Germanotta herself: messy, yet there's lots to love.
is mostly focused on sex for lyrical topics, there's tons of other topics explored here- robbery, murder, falling in love with your best friend, not giving a flying *** what the critics say, the list goes on and on. That being said, this album is definitely not one to be playing when kids are in the room. Several songs will leave you wanting to take a shower with how outrageously sexual and eyebrow-raising they can be at times. Musically, the album may be her most varied yet. Some songs hop on the current neo-disco bandwagon that seems to be going on this year, some are purely EDM-focused and will have you wanting to get up and dance, some rap, some drum and bass and even a couple ballads thrown in there for good measure.
So it goes to say that Artpop
is very uneven. There's high points that reach the highs of The Fame
, and lows that reach the utter triteness of songs off of Born This Way
. The thing is, though, the high points are enough to render this album worth the purchase. Strangely enough, the first four songs on the album are a four-in-a-row greatness streak which I wouldn't mind hearing an entire album like. With the eastern-themed "Aura" starting the album on a bang, with quirky tongue-in-cheek lyrics about a woman who poses as a middle-eastern woman, and killing the men she hooks up with, to the Boney M.-esque "Venus" that has what it takes to get you dancing, "G.U.Y. (Girl Under You)" sounding a bit like early Britney Spears, and the very sleazy "Sexxx Dreams" (which, since you probably can't tell, is about sex) featuring an unbearably catchy chorus and shares a similar disco sound to "Venus". The highlight of the album comes later in the album with two standout tracks in a row, with the catchy "Mary Jane Holland" and the heart-wrenching power ballad "Dope". The former is very much reminiscent of Gaga's early days and will definitely appeal to those who consider The Fame
her best work. The latter is mostly piano based with outbursts of electro-pop, and Gaga gives her most emotional vocal performance to date, about a woman who falls in love with her best friend but thinks her friendship with him will get shot to bits because of it. It's pretty tear-jerking, if you can ignore the rather cringe-worthy chorus of "I need you more than dope
When the low points hit, they really hit hard
. "Swine" is a pretty generic and by-the-numbers EDM track and has some extremely cringe-making lyrics, including this lovely chorus: "I know, I know, I know, I know ya want me/You're just a pig inside a human body/Squealer, squealer, squeal out, you're so disgusting! Ooh! You're just a pig inside.
" And then there's "Donatella", which is just as bad as "Schiesse" from her previous album and just as annoying. It's yet another "tribute" to a public figure (this time being Donatella Versace), and it is honestly pretty hard to sit through without you gritting your teeth. "Gypsy" is a track that is hard not to laugh at because of how corny it is- think of "Highway Unicorn" but times a thousand
The thing is, this is pretty much a standard norm in today's pop music. To have songs as terrible as "Gypsy" shunted in close to amazing songs like "Dope". And to be fair, this is
Lady Gaga we're talking about here. We're talking about the same woman who has a music video with an eight minute intro that includes scenes of her wearing a pad across her boobs and pouring Cheerios all over herself. The same woman who wore a dress composed entirely of meat
to her awards ceremony. The same woman who would perform in burlesque clubs exotic dancing to Black Sabbath and singing Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" while running around with cans of hairspray on fire. She's a hot mess, and she knows it. And so do we. It's part of why she's popular, and it's a factor in what has helped her sell so many records. With how rich she is, with how many gay men she has militantly defending her, with how many records she has sold, who are we to try to stop her? If I was her, and famous, I'd be making "art-pop" albums just like her and wearing dresses made of electrical tape, even. And so it's because of that, that Artpop
is as Lady Gaga as it gets. With how many amazing songs there are alone, it's worth the listen, and probably the most insightful look into the mind if Lady Gaga we'll possibly get... that is, until her next record.