Lady Gaga
Artpop


4.0
excellent

Review

by samkerner USER (8 Reviews)
November 10th, 2013 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick.

The point at which Lady Gaga bought into her own hype can be traced back to the unveiling of the album cover for her second studio album Born This Way, where she stated “The vision is of me in an endless journey. I am a vehicle. I am a vehicle for all of the ideas. And I'm not riding away or towards anything, I'm just in endless state of creativity.” Gaga had already left her image as a jaded mirror to fame culture behind and had become a voice for the misunderstood, but it wasn't clear until that moment how much she was morphing into an almost completely new entity. The zaniness that one generally associates with her was still present, but something had changed by the time Born This Way was released. Her music videos, live performances, and tweets got wilder and more uncontrolled, all in the name of standing firm against the Oppressor and rallying for the Oppressed.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with activism, but what Gaga didn't realize was that focus on activism pulled her away from her early appeal. For all her ridiculous costumes, shows, and overall persona, Gaga has never been as subversive or innovative as she thinks she is, and the era of Born This Way saw her struggling to marry her visions of out-of-the-box grandeur with heavy-handed bravura across her mediums. In a word, Gaga was taking herself too seriously.

Fast-forward to the present; ARTPOP doesn't see Gaga taking herself any less seriously, but it does see her articulating that self-importance in more appealing ways. Her hooks have always been some of the best in the pop genre, and her latest studio album dresses her usual maximalism in production to match. This album makes Born This Way seem like a minor Top 40 entry. The beats and sounds are patchwork and unpredictable, and Gaga has never sounded more alive with a project. She’s a strong vocalist, a trait that gets forgotten behind all the glamour and shock-value, and she gives almost every track her all, which makes even the most imperfect outings on ARTPOP worthwhile.

But Gaga has usually been at her best when she’s imperfect. It’s what made The Fame Monster so rewarding: her mix of unhealthy devotion, obsession with sex, and crushing self-doubt kept her intriguing, even relatable. It’s a mix that she glossed over during the past two years, and it’s a mix that she dives into once more on ARTPOP. And when she combines her tricky themes with stellar soundscapes, she’s unstoppable. “G.U.Y.” and “Sexxx Dreams” are some of her best work yet, with gigantic hooks and dark themes to boot. “G.U.Y.” in particular sees Gaga theorizing about dominance in a relationship while wishing “I wanna be the girl under you.” Sometimes she gets ahead of herself and things run too off-the-rails, like the astronomy lesson on “Venus,” but Gaga lets that darker psyche carry throughout the album, and for the most part, she manages to put the Monster back into “Mother Monster.”

It’s the Mother part of that nickname that gets Gaga into trouble. No matter what production she gets her hands on, Gaga is simply not interesting when she’s being self-referential. It’s what made the lead single “Applause” so empty: nobody cares to hear Gaga ask people to clap for her. “Do What U Want” finds Gaga directly combating her critics with rather lame lyrics, and R. Kelly doesn't have a clue as to what he’s doing on a song like this. Only the piano-turned-synthesizer confessional “Dope” gets mileage out of her love for her fans and her career. Thankfully, tracks like these are scarce on ARTPOP, but when Gaga phones it in on “Jewels n’ Drugs,” an ugly, messy rap feature that sounds like a bad bonus track from Cruel Summer, one can’t help but worry that she’s losing her way again.

Yet despite its flaws, ARTPOP reaffirms Gaga’s position as one of the most important artists in pop music. Like its atrocious cover and, frankly, eye-rolling title, the album is a juxtaposition of everything Gaga has accumulated since “Just Dance” and still manages to be an overall rewarding experience. She’s yet to create an album that fully showcases what she’s capable of, but this is a step in the right direction. She sings on the title track “My ARTPOP could mean anything,” and in this case, it means improvement.



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user ratings (405)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
Xenophanes STAFF (2.5)
Art and pop subjectively....

mepsipax (3.5)
Crap concept, very good music....

TheMoonchild (3.5)
I know that mom and dad think I'm a mess, but it's alright, because I'm rich as piss....

OdinMurderFist (2.5)
In conclusion ARTPOP is an okay album, some aspects are good, this album has the hype, the glamour a...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Tunaboy45
November 10th 2013


16586 Comments


This review is...
Wow. You gave this a 4. I don't even...

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2013


24643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

still better than the other review

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Tunaboy45
November 10th 2013


16586 Comments


Yeah I suppose.

Brostep
Emeritus
November 10th 2013


4392 Comments


fantastic review, deserves a feature barring another contrib/staff review

FadedSun
November 10th 2013


1887 Comments


Atrocious is the right word for that album cover.

oltnabrick
November 10th 2013


36194 Comments


The cover is cool

Digging: Tomb Mold - Cerulean Salvation

Progger6009
November 10th 2013


1144 Comments


This is the review I should have read first, gonna give it a listen now. Nice review too!!

NapalmCrusader
November 10th 2013


1738 Comments


Cover should be included in those crappy lists of RYM of the worst cover art ever, even the covers of lovedrive and virign killer are masterpieces of art and photography comapred with this shit

brandontaylor
November 11th 2013


734 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. i'm enjoying this album a surprising amount considering i thought born this way was pretty much trash overall

oltnabrick
November 11th 2013


36194 Comments


look at that stack of 1s


a bunch of anime weird fuks no doubt

greg84
Emeritus
November 11th 2013


7598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. The rating seems too high. It reads like a 3-3.5.

Digging: Robyn - Honey

Green Baron
November 11th 2013


24325 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Eli's >

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Snooze00
November 17th 2013


246 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

spew

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2013


56213 Comments


I heard her next album cover is going to be her pissing on a pregnancy test in a 7/11 bathroom

Digging: Lil Peep - Come Over When You're Sober Pt. 2

BigPleb
November 17th 2013


55725 Comments


Not a bad record.

Digging: Azusa - Heavy Yoke

treeqt.
November 17th 2013


16962 Comments


word

Asdfp277
September 15th 2016


19187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

IT WASN'T LOOOOOOOOOOVE

IT WASN'T LOOOOOOOOOOVE

IT WAS A PERFECT ILLUSION~



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