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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Gaga’s ‘little monsters’ eat up ‘ARTPOP’

AlexKormisPS (ALM)/ Flickr

Lady Gaga’s fourth official LP “ARTPOP,” released Nov. 11, stays true to her pulsing, disco-pop style. She’s received quite a bit of attention for calling her album a “reverse Warhol” – referencing famous artist Andy Warhol, who ingeniously decided to incorporate pop culture into his art. Cleverly, Gaga attempts her own swing at it, telling the Daily Mail that “the intention of the album was to put art culture into pop music.” Her ‘little monsters’ will surely flock to the dance floor with her iconic pop beats.

Opening the album with the single “Applause,” Gaga continues themes found on her first two albums of her addiction to fame as she laments “If only fame had an IV.” This fame obsession isn’t anything new, the name of her first album, “The Fame” and subsequent EP “The Fame Monster”  both clearly show how much she craves the spotlight. In the track “G.U.Y.,” she pleads “love me, love me, please retweet me.”

In the namesake track on “ARTPOP,” Gaga reveals “I try to sell myself/ because I just love the music not the bling,” hinting that the fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but she can’t live without it. While her lyrics continue this theme, there are other underlying, more vulnerable, tones to her lyrics. In her ballad, “Dope,” she cries “I need you more than dope,” showing her emotions connected to some of her music. However, there are not a lot of intellectual or thought-provoking lyrics, but that’s never been her forte.

There are a few unique and appreciated twists that show her experimenting with sounds outside of her tried and true electro-pop. “Jewels N’ Drugs,” featuring Too Short, Twista and T.I., shows her hard edge as she battles it out with these lyricists on a more urban rap track.

Following suit, “Do What U Want,” featuring R. Kelly, is as soulful as it is catchy. The two crooners complement each other over a synthesized, soulful track. “Aura” does this as well, starting out with a complex and intriguing guitar melody that segues into rhythmic bass and Gaga’s typical fame-centric lyrics.
Gaga flows effortlessly between the different genres on “ARTPOP,” but the album still proves exhausting. The amount of intense pop is only somewhat dispersed by the genre change ups, making it hard to get through at points.

The album is almost strictly dance-pop music with the exception of the soulful pop-ballad “Dope,” in which Gaga lets her vocal range overpower the piano she is playing, reminding listeners why she’s on top.

Following this is a mid tempo pop-ballad, “Gypsy.” The tempo and love centered lyrics sound more like a Katy Perry type single; it doesn’t feature any of Gaga’s in-your-face bizarre lyrics and style. One of her most disco-esque tracks “Swine” carries heavy EDM influence, using intense synths. Synthesizers pop and cut on each track, entrancing the listener as Gaga mesmerizes you with her tongue-in-cheek innuendos, a staple of her style.

If it’s not fame, it’s sex. Gaga plays off of sexual themes in nearly all her songs, most notably in “Sexxx Dreams,” where she blatantly says “When I lay in bed I touch myself and think of you.” For some this could be uncomfortable, but it’s too catchy to care. She’s never been one for discretion and this is no different. “Venus” also features overt sexuality, in true Gaga flair.

The least enjoyable songs are “Donatella” and “Fashion,” both featuring painfully shallow lyrics reflecting fame and sounding like they weren’t completely composed when they went onto the album. Other songs are forgettable: “MANiCURE” and “Mary Jane Holland” blend in with the rest. They’re overdone and lack anything that may make the listener want to click repeat.

Gaga could have switched it up a little more, since many people were expecting her to reinvent herself after her first three mega-hit albums. Many of these tracks would sound just as at home on “Born This Way” as they do on “ARTPOP”.

While Gaga indisputably knows how to create a dance anthem, it’s hard to find anything truly spectacular about the album. Her voice is impeccable, but it’s the same sound we’ve all come to know and love. “ARTPOP” is worth the listen, but listeners should pop an Advil or two before, otherwise the synthesizers may get to their heads. The tracks worth a download are “Applause,” “Sexxx Dreams,” “Gypsy” and “Do What U Want.”

Ana Lopez can be reached at [email protected].

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