Lady Gaga- ARTPOP

I don’t know any specific details, but I know that Lady Gaga’s latest album hasn’t gotten the best reviews.
Heck, it was mentioned on one of my favorite shows “2 Broke Girls” in a negative context. Caroline saying how a guy at the pastry school will know why it’s closed and why Lady Gaga’s last album failed.

Glancing at Wikipedia, one critic noted that “Artpop” was better suited for the Little Monsters than music listeners in general.
Now that makes a lot of sense.

I hitched myself to the Little Monster bandwagon officially early 2010. In the past, I’ve had issues where I’d love the singles on the radio but album is a disappointment overall. Not the case here, thankfully 😉

It amazes me that even after all this time, I am not sick of “Just Dance” or “Poker Face”.
As for radio airplay, of course I will still sing along to “Bad Romance” but I’m still frustrated that her newer stuff doesn’t get as much play (and “Judas” was so controversial it never made it to radio, probably my favorite Gaga track ever).

Statistically, per my pass-fail system, “Artpop” ranks the lowest.
I love 80% of it [12 out of 15 tracks].

But taking the other albums into account…

The Fame
– 85.7% [12 out of 14- minus “Beautiful Dirty Rich” and “Brown Eyes”]
The Fame Monster– 87.5% [7 out of 8 tracks- the HBO Fame Monster Ball forever ruined “Teeth” for me]
Born This Way– 92.8% [13 out 14 tracks- minus “Highway to Love,” not on my iPod but I will listen to it on disc]

…that’s still pretty darn good.
I don’t often stick with artists for that long 😛
Among the few artists I own four albums from, she’s the most consistent and I still actively listen to every album.

My first impression of “Artpop” was very uneven for me, I’ll admit. I liked every other track and halfway through, my interest started to wane. That’s common for me when it comes to longer albums, but even so, that’s probably the biggest flaw the album has overall.

The narrative or vibe that runs throughout evolves throughout, making some parts stronger than others, but in general, I have a good grasp of it.

Going back to my statistics for a bit, there are four tracks I find questionable or unlistenable.
Right away, I knew I wasn’t going to like “Jewels n Drugs” because I have a gross distaste of rap music and it was alienating not to have any solo vocals from Gaga for the first couple minutes.
I’m sure she meant well with “Swine” (in the concert footage I saw, she was using it to cast off the voices of doubt around her and her Little Monsters), but I just don’t like it. Musically, it sounds good, but the chorus leaves a bad taste in my mouth without me even singing it.

Then I’m on the fence with “Mary Jane Holland” and “Dope,” both happen to be next to each other and both happen to be about Gaga’s issues with marijuana and addiction in general. I will still listen to both of them on disc, but the enjoyment isn’t there for me.

Right now I’m listening to an interview she did where she talked about the meaning behind “G.U.Y.” and “Dope”… where she was sounding eerily like Prince where she was talking about record companies and corporate taking credit for the work of the artist… even more ironic now considering Prince just returned to WB 😛
Don’t know why this is, but I am so fascinated when I hear my favorite singers and actors (and athlete) give interviews because sometimes I feel I get more of a sense of them than I do with their work.

So anyway…

My first impression of the first part of the album was that we were taking a trip to another planet. The music is very EDM-based, electronic dance music. At first that was a bit of a turn-off because the music felt less organic, but overtime, I fell in love with the adrenaline rush packed into the beats and the lyrics.

According to my iTunes top 25 most played songs, the “Artpop” track I’ve listened to the most is “G.U.Y.” quickly followed by “Venus” and after that, “SEXX dreams”.

1. Aura

-I still haven’t fully grasped the lyrics with this track yet and that’s something I’ll bring up a number of times throughout this entry. I’m not in a huge rush to learn every lyric of every song, the memorization just comes naturally. Lyrically, it falls in line with “Poker Face” and “Lovegame” where she talks about the kind of person she is without going into specific detail. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact the only melody this track had was in its chorus, but then my adoration came in with every smash of synthesizers. One of many adrenaline rushes this album has.
-One of the first time I listened to the album, I was playing through a gaming level that takes place in a factory, involving futuristic robots, so that’s the vibe I get when I listen to “Aura”

2. Venus

-Love the narrative in the verses, the melody in the chorus and the adrenaline rush in between… I feel such ecstasy while listening to this track, clearly because I keep going back to it, more than any other track with the exception of:

3. G.U.Y.

-Gaga insists this track isn’t about what you think it is, promoting dominance of men over women, but that’s not something casual listeners will grasp or bother attempting to.
I suppose you could say it’s about feeling confident to let your lover take charge in bed and having the power to give him ecstasy that can’t be achieved on one’s own :shrug:
I don’t really overthink it, though, because when I listen, I fall back in love with the melodies and the lyrics… I just feel so strong, powerful and as a female, I feel empowered, like a contact high of self-assuredness.

4. SEXX Dreams

-This was one of a handful of tracks Gaga previewed on the radio before the album’s release. This song was not meant for radio… bleeping it so it’s pronounced “X dreams”… very distracting.
From what I gather, it’s about a dream she has where she’s in bed with a girl friend of hers. Hot, steamy and dirty.
It also gave me a good preview of the vibe of the album, mostly dance music.

6. Mani-cure

-still getting my head around this one. I think it’s about her wanting to separate herself from a lover and the way he makes her feel. We get away from the EDM vibe and swap it up for a little vintage Gaga… not quite as catchy or memorable as “Poker Face” or “Bad Romance,” but still good overall
-recently saw an interview and evidently the opposite is true, but that’s still my personal interpretation until I hear differnetly

7. Do What You Want

-I did not know all that stuff about R. Kelly until people were writing how inappropriate his part of the song sounds…
I look back on Gaga’s duet on The Voice with Christina Aguilera and loved how good a combination that was. Especially since Gaga does a lot of Christina-esque things in her vocals.
Again, based on her lyrics, I should not feel empowered listening to it 😛 but I do

A lot of the album has that contagious “take charge” vibe about it and that’s why I keep coming back. At least to my favorites

8. ArtPop

-the last track that really fits into EDM genre. It’s very mesmerizing and infectious and it makes me think about what Gaga said about putting together albums. She has a blank canvas and a brush to paint with, and she encourages her fans to do the same with her music, make it fit for themselves.

10. Donatella

-part 1 of 2 of the “fashion” arc. Obviously this is an ode to the fashion designer Donatella Versace.
Reading about her right now, pretty amazing stuff… Gaga was a muse of hers and she actually invited her to her late brother’s mansion, and afterwards was probably inspired to write this song.
Probably taking a hard look at the fashion industry, models starving themselves and such… a cautionary tale of sorts, but promoting the good in Donatella- who’s done her share of charity work, providing art supplies to children among other things

11. Fashion

-two parts of this song grind on my nerves a bit, one being the “we own the world” line and the other is the final minutes where the title is repeatedly shouted… but I’ve learned to cope with that.
Lyrically I’m still making sense of it, but you can’t really have the one song without the other or the album kinda crumbles

12. Mary Jane Holland

-it has its strong points and weaknesses, but overall, I’m not a huge fan… sounds like she’s talking about feeling down and the only thing that can pick her up is getting high on pot and imagining she’s hanging out at an Amsterdam coffee shop.

13. Dope

-kinda like “Speechless” revisited, but not as strong overall. It’s also on the short side and with the chorus being on the shout-y side, it’s hard to feel the emotional connection. At least that’s my opinon

14. Gypsy

-the first time I heard this (along with Fashion, Manicure and a couple other tracks) was on the special she did with the Muppets… I was so excited for that after her Thanksgiving special the year before, but it ran a little too long for me. Plus I was worried that they’d give away every song on the album before it came out 😛 I like my surprises.
But I feel myself falling more in love with it each time I listen. Plus with the chorus where she goes “I don’t wanna be alone forever but I can be tonight”… and later on says that she won’t be… I feel like I can identify with that and I get emotional, hoping one day I can safely say I won’t be either 😉

15. Applause

-I was little disappointed that the lead-in single of this album was at the very end… but I guess it makes sense, seeing as it’s something of an “encore” number… of course by the time this album came out, I’m sure a lot of people were already sick of it. I was too, but only for a short time.

Not Gaga’s best effort, but I wouldn’t flat out dismiss this album and call it a failure. It has a lot of great qualities and guilty pleasures worth coming back to. I just find it a little uneven at times. Speaking on longer albums, “Born This Way” is overall very constant and I adore it to pieces. “The Fame” is a little uneven too, but it has more heavy-hitters in its arsenal as far as memorable catchy pop songs are concerned.

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One Response to Lady Gaga- ARTPOP

  1. Pingback: My Open Letter for Lady Gaga | The Musings of DreamyPopRoyalty

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