Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor
Asking a popstar to top her past greatness is daunting and many times embarrassing. Britney’s comeback was a flop. Katy’s second album could not lyrically or musically compare to her first smash hit. And Madonna, her attempts to appear ageless since the 80’s is pitiful. So when the queen of pop, Lady Gaga, announced she was pro- ducing a new album after her hip injury, many were skeptical.
With Gaga’s eccentrics, it’s hard to imagine her outdoing herself. And when “ARTPOP” was revealed as not only the ti- tle but also the premise of the album, many thought she bit off more than she could chew. She had Jeff Koons create a statue of her, Marina Abromovic counseling her, and pre-release showmanship that would put other artists to shame. Was the fanfare too much? Was Gaga going ga-ga?
But on November 11, the pop world was spun on its head. Gaga birthed a galactic child made of Ziggy Stardust, Aphrodite, and Donatella. Although some critics despise her influences, Gaga embraces them and uses her muses to her advantage.
While many pop stars fall into redundant pop hooks, Gaga experiments with her sound, infusing intergalactic synths with shredding guitars and thrashing drums. Her songs refuse to sound like club music and bring the pop world a fresh sound accompanied by striking lyrics.
The beginning of the album emphasizes Gaga’s passion for out of this world synths and feminism. “Aura,” “Venus,” and “G.U.Y.” play on Greek mythology while the latter infuses sexual empowerment. The songs “Sexxx Dreams,” “MANiCURE,” “Do What U Want,” and “Swine” all echo Gaga’s passion for women’s sexual liberation while combining powerful vocals and sultry lyrics.
Gaga worships her goddess of fashion on “Donatella” and uses the galaxy as her runway on “Fashion!” The songs are catchy and runway ready. The album falls a little flat on some tracks like “Jewels N’ Drugs” and “Do What U Want,” but her experimentation with the different sounds is commendable.
By the 12th track, Gaga’s “brunette starts to sprout.” The last four tracks relive Gaga’s transformation from struggling musician to pop sensation with powerhouse vocals and ballad-like anthems that unifies the album of her journey back to the stage.
ARTPOP at face value is a beautiful journey through Gaga’s universe. However, the pomp and circumstance leading up to the album was a bit overdone; it was too adventurous to name the album after a Warhol era. But Gaga is about the performance art of music. As she says in ARTPOP, “I try to sell myself but I am really laughing because I just love the music, not the bling.”