Friday, November 15, 2013

Lady Gaga: ARTPOP – reviewed.

How the mighty have fallen.

Lady Gaga has always been unusual, but when she first took the world by storm a few years ago, she at least made good music.

“Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro,” “Paparazzi,” and even “You and I” were all great, catchy songs. They were different than what anyone else in pop or rock music were doing at the time.

Her latest album – ARTPOP – proves that she’s run out of tricks. With Gaga essentially making claims of being a large part of pop culture in “Applause,” I was hoping she’d innovate on this album. Instead she’s settling for the techno, ‘futuristic’ sound that Christina Aguilera bombed with on Bionic.

There are incredible vocal abilities put to use on Gaga’s fourth studio album, but it’s painfully obvious that she has nothing meaningful left to write or sing about. The ruling theme on ARTPOP is about sex and drugs. Considering Miley Cyrus has already owned that market this year, I’m not sure where Gaga is hoping to fit in.

Even though she sings in different languages and utilizes different accents on several tracks, that effort isn’t enough to save the entire album.

I hate to say it, but ARTPOP is more like ARTFLOP.


This song starts off nice and light – almost like a Colbie Caillat song.

The lyrics change that mood as Gaga sings, “I killed my farmer and left her in the trunk on Highway 10. Put the knife under the hood. If you find it, send it straight to Hollywood.”

The vibe then turns to an avant-garde Western that you’d expect Quentin Tarantino to be involved with.

Then it’s the all-to-common futuristic club music. Gaga’s vocals impress, though, as she sings, “Do you want to see me naked, lover? Do you want to peak underneath the cover? Do you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura?”

At the end of the 3:56 song, I’m not entirely sure what the theme of the song was. I guess it’s about offering someone insight into yourself – opening up and all that. Overall, it’s an odd song with a mish-mash of sounds.


There’s the same kind of background music on Venus as there was in “Aura” – until Gaga starts singing “Take me to your planet, your planet, your planet. Take me to your leader, your leader, your leader.”

Gaga wonders if it could be love because “you’re out of this world.”

The vocals aren’t bad, but, again, I’m too confused by the what I’m supposed to be getting out of the lyrics to fully pay attention to the music.

Gaga starts naming off the planets in random order. Eventually she gets to Uranus – pronounced as “Your anus,” and follows it up with “Don’t you know my ass is famous?”

Dr. Seuss came up with better rhymes than that! Lady Gaga has gone into Pitbull mode – throwing out any random rhyme together and calling it a lyric.

Interesting song. 3 out of 5 stars as a rating for this song is probably being generous.


The initial 25 seconds of this song grabs your attention. Mother Monster mentions Aphrodite again before advising listeners to “lay back and feast as this audio guides you through new and exciting positions.”

G.U.Y. stands for 'Girl Under You.'

The theme of this song is straightforward: Gaga wants the sexual power in her relationship.

“I want to be the G.U.Y.," she sings. “I’m gonna’ wear the tie. Want the power to leave you. Aiming for control of this love.”

She reuses the pacing she used on “Alejandro” as she sings, “Touch me. Touch me. Don’t be sweet. Love me. Love me. Please retweet.”

Sexxx Dreams

As you can probably guess by the title, this song is about sex once again.

“Last night, I was thinking about you and it was kind of dirty. And the way you looked at me – it was kind of nasty,” Gaga explains.

The vocals are breathy and soft during the main chorus.

It’s like a mix between Mariah Carey from her “The Emancipation of Mimi” era and Janet Jackson on “All For You.”

“Last night, damn you were in my sex were making love in my sex dreams.”

At certain points you’d be hard pressed to figure out if it’s Gaga or Mariah Carey singing.

As quickly as she transitions into Mariah Carey mode, Gaga goes into Marilyn Manson mode, singing, “Heard your boyfriend was away this weekend. Wanna meet at my place?”

It was a somewhat interesting song with more lackluster lyrics.

Jewels N’ Drugs (feat. T.I., Too Short and Twista)

T.I. starts this track off.

Gaga joins the party about 30 seconds in.

“Don’t want your jewels, I want your drugs. Don’t want your money, I want your love,” she sings. To be honest, the song kind of sucks. There’s some old school Nintendo-type sound effects in the background for no explained reason.

I wasn’t a fan of Gwen Stefani’s “Luxurious” song featuring Slim Thug. This song vaguely reminds me of that one, but this song makes “Luxurious” sound worthy of a Grammy.

I've seen others call it a 'typical thug song' and that seems like a fair enough description.


This one starts off with an electro-pop, rocker vibe. It’s the best part of the album so far.

“I’m gonna be MANiCURED. You wanna be MANiCURED. Ma-ma-ma-MANiCURE.”

If you can figure those lyrics, more power to you. I guess she’s wanting sex because she sings later on, “I’m the chick whose been coming around looking to love-in-you. You’re the medicine I need to heal the way, the way you make me feel.”

More odd, seemingly incoherent lyrics, but it’s a decent tune at least.

Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)

I was surprised this was her choice for a second single. You’ve probably heard it on the radio by now, so there’s probably not much need to describe this song.

It’s more of the Swedish club sound, mixed in with Gaga’s Mariah Carey impression and, at times, her best Michael Jackson impression, loudly belting, “Do what you want with me! What you want with my body!” near the end of the song.

R. Kelly lending his smooth vocals to this song is actually my favorite part about it.

It’s not the worst song in the world, but I can’t help but be disappointed in the lyrics.

A woman who won’t let a man have her heart or use her mind or stop her voice – sounds like female empowerment in a way. Then she goes on to invite him to do whatever he wants to her body.

Apparently this song is about what the media prints and says about Lady Gaga. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why her duet partner is singing about doing shots and doing what he wants with her body in the back of the club.

Maybe it’s an attempt to do a double entendre. The result is confusing lyrically and mediocre vocally.


Some outer space-type sounds to kick off this song. Hmmm…should be interesting.

“We could, we could belong together. Artpop, artpop, artpop,” she sings repeatedly.

The musical elements of this song aren't too bad, despite being a little boring, but the lyrics aren't captivating enough to hold my attention.


More European techno sound on this one.

The vocals aren’t amazing, but I like how Gaga transforms her voice, adding emphasis to certain words. She's not afraid to growl on this gritty sounding track.

"Do ya I know, I know, I Annotateknow, I know you want me. You're just a pig inside a human body. Squealer, squealer, squeal out, you're so disgusting!”

She ends the chorus by emphasizing disgusting. Her vocal abilities are always impressive, whether she's singing or throwing in an accent or singing in another language.

"Swine" -- although no classic -- at least sounds somewhat different than the rest of the songs on the album.


“I am so fab. Check out, I’m blonde, I’m skinny, I’m rich and I’m a little bit of a bitch,” Gaga says at the beginning of this track.

She drops a lot of various and eventually goes into the chorus, “What do you want to wear this spring? What do you think is the next thing?”

The mish-mash of electropop, odd lyrics and respectable vocals just doesn’t do it.

“Donatella” comes off as a poor pop artist’s “Vogue.”

Madonna covered that over two decades ago. I was never a fan of that song either.


This song is a major tease. It starts off with some great piano work. Then it busts into another “Vogue” type of song.

“Looking good an feeling fine,” Gaga repeats several times over.

Plus, two songs about fashion on the same album? Right in a row? Gaga really has run out of ideas hasn’t she?

Maybe they’ll use it as the soundtrack for a fashion show in Milan. If her goal is to make money by collecting royalties from designers using it at their shows, then more power to her.

4 minutes of a song about fashion adds to a lackluster album though.

Mary Jane Holland

You’d think the first several seconds of this song was straight out of Miami Vice or Beverly Hills Cop. That would, quite frankly, be a welcome change.

It’s not long before her electropop comes into play again though.

Evidently Miley Cyrus isn’t the only marijuana lover on the charts right now.

“I think that I could be fine if I could be Mary Jane Holland tonight. I think we’d have a good time if you’d meet me and Mary Jane in Holland tonight.”

The somewhat psychedelic sound does grow on you. The structure of the song isn’t so bad – but by the end of the 3:42 song, it kind of feels like you’ve been on a trip and you’re waiting for it to end.

More disappointing, boasting lyrics on this track too: “I know that Mom and Dad think I’m a mess, but it’s alright because I’m rich as piss.”


This song wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the ridiculous main chorus. It’s hard to take the impressive emotion serious when Lady Gaga is singing, “I need you more than dope.”

I guess druggies may be able to relate?

Gaga puts her bass and vibrato to use – almost imitating Elton John – as the piano is the main instrument used in this song.

I think it may be the only ballad on the album. Typically female popsters end up overdoing it with the ballads. That’s not the case here.


Gaga can definitely sing. This song proves that fact to any haters and reinforces it to any of her Little Monsters. Set to a fast-paced beat, Gaga dials into her loneliness as she’s singing about taking the road less traveled.

“I don’t want to be alone forever, but I love gypsy light. I don’t want to be alone forever. Maybe we can see the world together.”

There’s an element of and sadness to the song, despite the fast-paced, upbeat music.

Unfortunately, it’s not a song that will end up as a classic. She seemingly ran out of lyrics as she started repeat-repeat-repeating: “Cuz I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m a gypsy, gypsy, gypsy.”

Take that and multiply it by four.

She ends the song by listing off a bunch of different countries and says, “Be my home for just the day. I’m a gypsy, gypsy, gypsy. Hey…”


As is the case all too often, the lead single off of an album is the best song on the entire CD. That’s the case with “Applause.”

It has a fun, different sound. It reminded me of some of Gaga’s earlier work. This song deservedly did well on the top 40 charts, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Gaga’s 12th top ten single.

The thing I like about this song is the energy it gives off. It’s a song you can tap your feet to, snap your fingers to, clap your hands to or dance to.

This entire album would’ve been served better if there were a couple more songs as good as “Applause.”

I thought Born This Way was a letdown after The Fame Monster. ARTPOP makes me appreciate Born This Way a little more.

ARTPOP seems like Lady Gaga’s best attempt to compete with the likes of Britney Spears, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus in trying to reign supreme as pop music’s most scandalous female. Sex and drugs make up the themes to most of her songs, while they’re set to overused club beats. The result leaves Gaga as just one of crowd – not a standout.

Songs worth checking out:
-Mary Jane Holland

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