Placing the Cambell’s Soup Can Back onto the Canvas: Why “ARTPOP” is the Most Innovative Lady Gaga Record to Date || Entertainment
- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 21 November 2013
- Written by JIMMY MORECRAFT | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
"I try to sell myself but I am really laughing, because I just love the music, not the bling." Gaga doesn't write music for the charts, but for the most honest and raw parts of both her conscious and unconscious. This lyric to the title track of Lady Gaga's new album, "ARTPOP," captures the true message of the album as a gestalt and uniform project. Currently sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100, "ARTPOP" is Gaga's most innovative and unique album to date.
As described by Gaga herself, the album is designed as "a trip" from track 1-15, each song on the album is meant to be a different adrenaline rush." The production team for ARTPOP is perhaps her best yet. EDM artists Zedd and Madeon produced five of the 15 tracks on the album, Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair, a past collaborator on Gaga's preceding album, "Born This Way," produced eight tracks on the album, WILL.I.AM produced the track "Fashion!," and Rick Rubin, one of the executive producers on Eminem's most recent release, produced the melancholic track "Dope."
The songs themselves are unlike anything currently on Top 40 Radio, which shows Gaga's versatility as an artist. The opening track "Aura" is a euphoric track that positions "ARTPOP" to be an extremely ambitious record.
As the album progresses, you are taken on a journey to space in a song that Gaga completely wrote and produced herself: "Venus." Throughout the album, Gaga engages in "genre tripping." This is delving into genres that used to be unknown territories. Songs such as "Jewels & Drugs" with a cast of contemporary and retro rappers: T.I., Too $hort, and Twista, and her current single "Do What U Want," featuring R. Kelly, show both her diverse vocal range, and ability to adapt with different collaborators. Moreover, songs such as "Swine," lack lyrical quality, but make up in the production department with engaging beats that are sure to wake you up when listened through headphones.
The Zedd produced track "Donatella," is quite immature, as it comments on those outcasts that feel the need to dress up and feel glamorous, an ode to the queen of fashion Donatella Versace.
Perhaps the most uniquely produced song on the album, "Mary Jane Holland," is much more than the "weed anthem" critics are claiming it to be. Instead, while Gaga was touring in Amsterdam, her and DJ Madeon created the identity of Mary Jane Holland, a girl who outdoes the critics by turning to the one thing that can send her mind to ignore the hatred.
As you get to this point in the album you're probably wondering what Gaga is really trying to say, or what the theme is. However, when "Dope" begins playing, the record makes a bit more sense.
"Dope" is by far the most honest song Gaga has ever written, it is a confession of addiction that once controlled Gaga's life and interfered with all of her interpersonal relationships. However, "Dope" in this context is meant to be taken both literally and metaphorically: constituting an unhealthy addiction to anything in life that can steer you in the wrong direction and lead you to an abyss of mystery and danger, something we all can relate to.
Perhaps what will be in my opinion the most successful song of the album, "Gypsy" is the penultimate track to the record, and rightfully so. It is a story about the relationship with her fans and her boyfriend who can maintain her transient and traveling lifestyle, much like a gypsy. "ARTPOP" closes with lead single "Applause," which has been in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for an outstanding 14 weeks.
While there is immense criticism when it comes to Gaga in regards to her stage shows and outfits, "ARTPOP" is an album that can help ignore those preconceived notions and critics. There is literally a genre of music for anyone from rock inspired track "MANiCURE," to the EDM infused, to the rap record "Jewels & Drugs." From tracks one through 15, your ears are sent on a journey through several different emotional states meant to capture what "ARTPOP" really means: anything.