Lady Gaga

Streamline Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Lady Gaga needs no introduction, so let’s just get to the review of her third studio album because it won’t take long.  ARTPOP is one very strange album, and that’s not always a bad thing, but in this case it is which is a real shame because I have really enjoyed her work over the last few years and was hoping that that enjoyment would last a bit longer. That clearly wasn’t in my stars, though, because there is very little about ARTPOP that I like and the things that I do like are hardly memorable anyway. Overall, it just leaves me with a sense of nothingness.

However, I do like the cover art and the overall approach of trying to make an interesting and multifaceted album. In other words, I admire Gaga’s chutzpah and willingness to always try new things and continue her creative journey in an uncompromising manner. Power to her; I think she’s brilliant and a very solid live performer, but what we have here is just a hot mess of ideas and half-baked ideas that never really reach even a quarter of their potential.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

A contributing factor for this very problem could be the ridiculous amount of people that Gaga commissioned to work on ARTPOP with her. It seems as if either she gave them completely free reign on whatever they were working on; either that, or she was so steadfast in her approach that they were unable to bring her around to try different things that may have worked better. More often than not, it just doesn’t seem to be conducive to producing quality and coherent work.

Not everything about ARTPOP is all that bad, though. When it works, it has its moments of sounding like a unique and fun pop album. Those moments are few and far between, but easily the most unique track on the record is the deranged and slightly mental (in a good way) “Swine.” “Mary Jane Holland” is completely over the top and stupidly anthemic is its soundscape, but it’s also a catchy pop song that sounds closest to Gaga’s previous album, Born This Way.

“Dope” finds Gaga digging deep for an awesome vocal performance of this glorious piano ballad on which she declares, “I need you more than dope.” Going by her performance here, I’m thinking she must need dope a lot! But the rest of ARTPOP just doesn’t cut it. It’s full of annoyingly messy dance tracks (“Gypsy” and “G.U.Y.”) and half-baked ambient tracks (“Applause” and “ARTPOP”) that just add nothing slightly memorable to the listening experience. 

“Venus” is better, but “Sexxx Dreams,” “Jewels N’ Drugs” and “Do What You Want” are not; in fact, they are far worse. “MANiCURE” sounds like a weak cut from a Shania Twain album of a decade ago and “Donatella” is just Gaga doing Madonna which we have all heard before.

There really isn’t much more to say about ARTPOP other than the fact that I find it a really disappointing experience. But I’m hopeful that Gaga isn’t completely out of ideas and will get it right again eventually.  The sycophants (“little monsters”) of course will love it and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I will say this: they are easily pleased and maybe that’s the problem here.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Mark Millan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Streamline Records, and is used for informational purposes only.