Little monsters beware: Gaga is back

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Lady Gaga, occasionally referred to as the “New Queen of Pop” and one of the more unusual members of the music industry, is back in action with her new album ARTPOP, released November 11. Like many pop artists, most of her songs deal with love, but she puts her own special twist on them with the interesting background music and her vocal patterns.

This album shows a surprising amount of versatility. Previous songs by her that I have enjoyed, such as “Alejandro”, “Bad Romance” and “Judas” seemed quite similar to each other, despite being great songs. This time, her style seems to have changed a bit, but traditions present in her older songs still occasionally show up.

Even though electronic beats are abound in this album and most of the songs seem to be talking about similar topics, she has a decent amount of variety in just 15 tracks. “Aura”, the first track, has an Bollywood-infused style, while “Venus”, despite repeating basically the same three verses over and over and having lyrics that are awkward at times, is catchy and has interesting electronic harmonies.

As I listened to the album, the next few tracks seemed to meld together in some ways. “G.U.Y.” is very plain other than the clever title phrase (which evidently stands for “Girl Under You”) while “Sexxx Dreams”, despite the abundance of X’s in the title, is uninspired in both music and production.

I dreaded “Jewels N’ Drugs”, which featured not one, not two, but THREE rappers, namely T.I., Too Short and Twista. And I was right, the song is easily the weakest of the album, seeming to be an entirely hip-hop song (with the typical hip-hop subjects as well) save for one or two verses by Lady Gaga, which seems too brief.

At first, the album seemed to ramp up as I moved down the tracklist. “MANiCURE” managed to stick in my head for the rest of the day, while “Do What U Want”, a duet with R. Kelly, is catchy as well and a great blend of the two unique voices.

Things got a bit weaker after that. I was expecting big things from the title track, namely “ARTPOP”, but it is possibly the most generic track on the album. “Swine” features a dance beat and strange noises—in other words like every other song heard on the radio. “Donatella” is a gem in between these other, more tame songs, and is typical Lady Gaga: unconventional but still catchy. And “Fashion!”, even though there was an exclamation point in the title, did not make me very excited.

I had high hopes for this album, and my hopes were eventually fulfilled. “Mary Jane Holland” is an upbeat dance title, but not in a generic way, I paid attention to the lyrics and enjoyed it. The last three songs are also the best on the album, and offer a sharp contrast from the rest of the album. “Dope” has an exclusively piano background and emotional lyrics, while “Gypsy”, definitely my favorite on the album, is a power-pop ballad with inspired lyrics and instrumentals that remind me of my favorite artists and “Applause”, the album’s leading single, is a perfect way to close it out.

Overall, this album is a bit more than generic pop. It will definitely be at home with Gaga’s previous albums, while still having enough variety that they do not sound like cheap rip-offs of her previous songs. Despite some very blah songs in the middle of the album, this album entertained me most of the way through and I predict it could find a home with both hardcore Gaga fans and new listeners alike.

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