mon 13/07/2020

Album: Lady Gaga - Chromatica | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lady Gaga - Chromatica

Album: Lady Gaga - Chromatica

The latest from the pop superstar has a few treats sprinkled amongst stock club-pop

Trapped in the air ducts on HR Geiger's EDM spaceship

Lady Gaga proclaimed by Tweet that her sixth album represents her “absolute love of electronic music”. Chromatica features EDM names such as Axwell from Swedish House Mafia, French DJ-producers Tchami and Madeon, bro’step superstar Skillex, as well as a good few more. It is a step away from the likeable pop experimentalism of her last album, Joanne, yet does not, unfortunately, have the sheer dancefloor heft of her albums Artpop and, especially, the bangin’ Born This Way.

The contradictory aspect of Chromatica is that while the music is often generic Euro-cheese, it regularly plays off incongruously against lyrics that speak of someone troubled. “Fun Tonight” mentions how the paparazzi cause her pain and announces, “I’m not OK”, “911” states that “my biggest enemy is me”, “1000 Doves” pleads, “I’m completely lonely” and there's plenty more long similar lines.  Maybe it’s all just self-help theatre for her “little monsters”, but, especially after watching the documentary Five Foot Two, in which she comes over as emotionally vulnerable, it does cause momentary concern.

The let-down here is that so many of these tunes are tepid, even with guests such as Ariana Grande and K-pop girl group Blackpink. However wild the videos, many songs here lack the stridency and contagiousness of her best work. A song such as “Free Woman” is just aural wallpaper for a Mediterranean beach bar, and there are too many along such lines, riding forgettable EDM ear chewing gum that does this brilliantly idiosyncratic pop star a disservice.

Let us focus on the good stuff, though. There are a few pearls among the forgettable froth. Opener “Alice” bodes well, a chugger that seems to conflate Lewis Carroll’s creation with the name’s sonic similarity to the word “jealous”, but then it’s a long wait for “Plastic Doll”, a song that questions Gaga’s history of post-modern messing with sexual objectification. The fabulous “Replay” is the real deal, Hispanic-flavoured electro-pop, catchy and full of vim, up with her best, the album’s stand-out, and it’s followed by a wonderfully unhinged tune with Elton John called “Sine From Above”, an outrageous dancefloor melodrama that contains a few classic Gaga lines (“When I was young  I prayed for lightning/My mother said it would come and find me”).

Closer “Babylon”, initially dipped in 808 State’s “Pacific State” before it decides it wants to be a hi-NRG reimagining of the rap bit from Madonna’s “Vogue”, is another two-and-a-half minute treat. Tracking back over the album, even when the songs are iffy that foghorn voice is on impressive form. What a singer! Just wish she’d had a few more songs this time round.

Below: Watch the video for "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande

Comments

imagine calling yourself "the arts desk" irrelevant.

What ? 40/100 ? Are u seriously ? Wtf are u so fckin nooob, go listen again this album

Good morning, I wanted to let my heartbreak disagree with the chromatic criticism, but respect, if you could review your opinion and listen to the album again, I would be grateful.

From which commnts we conclude that 'fans' can't argue it out intelligently with critics. What next? 'Did you actually listen to this?' Are a pair of experienced ears not to be trusted to reach a nuanced argument (which this is, not a hatchet job)? One should rather say, I would be grateful if you people could come back with a valid counterargument.

"Art Desk" I'd re-listen to the album. I call it Growmatica for a reason. It was jarring at first, but it's far from generic despite the current pop sound. But it grows on you. The lyrics are strong and is such a Gaga album.

ummm. Nope. This is by far Gaga's hardest dance floor album yet. Not sure who the old guy is who reviewed the album, but maybe he should stick to oldies albums.

Seems like the reviewer was fixated on Joanne and thats ok. Joanne was laid back more on the ballad side, but gaga is a pop performer. Gagas roots are on the dancefloor and reconfiguring herself on the pop world. Chromatica is an introspective album in which gaga analyzes her love and passion for dance music but at the same time shes analyzing herself and her 12 year career. Im sadned that Thomas H Green seemed uninformed, despreciative and also so done with gaga to take a serious listen to the album and try to decode it and analyze it. Hating because of hating seems very easy and so lazy! You dont have to like it but at least please inform yourself so you dont seem like a hater because its fun to hate.

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