In order for Artpop to do well Lady Gaga need not to worry about the world’s first flying dress. The nefarious 21st century has forced musicians to be more than music makers, but social media authorities too, influencing the masses with their reflections on politics (think gay rights), culture, and the application of creativity, otherwise known as art. While this formula may have worked to Gaga’s advantage prior to the release of Born This Way, it seems that Artpop is yet to successfully match its predecessor’s accomplishment. Perhaps because 2013 isn’t so much like 2011, or perhaps there are some new things Gaga needs to sort out in her ammunition dump.
“Artpop” the album’s namesake, is actually a great track. The song waxes lyrical over the metaphysical, alongside gyrating future sounds perfectly fit for a post Born This Way follow up. “Dope” is a reminder of Gaga’s ability to write and hold a percolating tune. Employing only piano, it’s an ode to the humbling and vulnerability-inducing consequences of love. It’s an urgent number, filled with a beautiful sense of desperation and hair-raising lyrics. “Fashion” is the track you wanted to hate but can’t deny its marvel. While the lyrics may be a schlocky attempt to pander to the fashion industry, it’s a wonderful song with a great disco-tinged chorus. Taking cues from Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, it’s something Gaga does so well—that is not to necessarily imitate, but emulate. Other triumphs are “Applause”, the quick-witted summer hit that celebrates an artist’s requisite for a standing ovation, and “Do What U Want”, which toggles between 80’s-inpired pop and R&B seamlessly, making an R. Kelly collaboration appear like perfect sense.
The rest of the album isn’t likely to cause horror, but concurrently is not worthy of comment. Artpop will probably not do as well as Gaga’s previous records. It isn’t that it’s a bad album, on the contrary, it has its fair share of bright moments. Having said that, when the voice behind the music has become expected to fulfill not only a musical requirement, but also serve as cultural rhetorician, Artpop starts to suffer, sounding more garish than Gaga.