Pop art was/is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States, Andy Warhol being one of its leading figure. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc. One of its most powerful instrument is creating collages, sometimes elements are removed from their known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated elements.
And this is something what it’s actually perfectly applicable to Lady Gaga’s third album called “Artpop”. It’s a vivid mixture of dance music (sub) genres, EDM meets hip hop, but nothing it’s art related, no matter how hard Lady Gaga try to shock her audience, followers and the media. Because – once again – this is more about shocking, more about the show, then about the music. What I said/write about “Born This Way” it’s pretty much applicable for “Artpop” as well. I still can sing while I’m showering songs like “Poker Face” or “Paparazzi”, I can’t recall a single melody from her previous album, those “hits” (“Born This Way”, “Judas”, and “The Edge of Glory”) were all less memorable then the songs from her debut album and listening to “Artpop”, around track 5 (“Jewels n’ Drugs”) I can’t recall a single good line or a chorus from her new songs. And this is pretty sad and disappointing. The production it’s fabulous, everything sound great and powerful, it’s quite minimal, but pretty fancy EDM, but there are no songs, the music it’s completely absent once again and a little bit scandal and controversy won’t make that frustrating feeling disappear.
Half of the album bring back Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” (1989) and “Erotica” (1992) feeling and flavor. Some may argue that Lady Gaga targeting those sexually fueled cliches, but it more seems like she became a victim of the cliches. There’s a very thin line between taboo and cliche and all these sexually filled lyrics only blur further that imaginary line. Nothing’s shocking anymore, vulgarity become pretty common while sex is over-rated and lyrics like this don’t make a difference nowadays – not in my book anyway. It’s only sound like a poor attempt to usurping Madonna’s throne. “I’m not a wandering slave, I am a woman of choice” (Aura), “When you touch me I die just a little inside”(Venus), “Touch me, Touch me, Don’t be sweet, Love me, love me, please retweet, Let me be the girl under you that makes you cry” (G.U.Y.), “When I lay in bed I touch myself and think of you” (Sexxx Dreams), “Don’t want your jewels, I want your drugs, Don’t want your money, want your love” (Jewels n’ Drugs), “Touch me in the dark, Put your hands all over my body parts” (Manicure), “Do what you want, What you want with my body” (Do What U Want), “We could belong togethe” (Artpop), “You’re just a pig inside human body” (Swine), “I’m a rich bitch” (Donatella), “Zip me up it can’t be wrong” (Fashion!), “My Darkest Sin, Russian hookers and cheap gin” (Mary Jane Holland), or ” I’ll hate myself until I die” (Dope). Did not find anything to chew in the last two tracks, “Gypsy” and “Applause”. “Gypsy” is about that she “left everyone I love at home” while “Applause” is about living in the spotlight and for the applause of the audience, but the most important line I think it’s: “Pop culture was in art, now art’s in pop culture in me” – which kind of conclude the title and the idea of the whole album. In the title track she’s singing “Could try to sell you out or I Could show you all the reasons why my artpop could mean anything”, but it looks like she’s the victim of her own fortune and fame and she delivers only and exclusively the things what she feels her fans will buy. And it’s a show, an on and off-line pseudo reality-show, a false reality. And while it’s all about the show and the image, the shock and the glamor, the costumes and the live show’s choreography, the music faded away unnoticed.
Madonna (or her spiritual ghost) is pretty present in several songs: Venus, G.U.Y., Sexxx Dreams, Do What U Want, Fashion!, and the closing Applause. There’s also an additional Marilyn Manson flavor/intrigue (Mary Jane Holland) here and there and everything it’s mash up with modern EDM flavor and massive and powerful sound. The top production may take away your breath at first, but after the first impression it’s just like the emperor’s new cloth: there is nothing under the shinny-glitchy surface. The production definitively beats Britney Spears’ “Britney Jean”, but the content it’s pretty same… irrelevant. Probably the remixes will be more exciting then the originals – which is the measure of the disaster.
Wait a minute! Track no. 13, “Dope” is actually a pretty cool ballad where Gaga proves that she might still may be capable of singing, but it’s pretty deep buried into the album, although probably they will make a Christmas single out of it: “I’ll keep on searching for an answer cause I need you more than dope” definitively fits the Christmas spirit, isn’t it?
Here a picture of the naked diva would be pretty effective, but I don’t have one.